Discussions/FixThe2ESolarCharmTree

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After seeing a bunch of debates about how Solars got nerfed. Not sure about this, and we won't really know until the other splats come out). Any, things are way better than they were in first edtion, so no complaints. This is a list of the odd restrictions I saw in Solar charms. Now in first edition, these types of things were harbingers of powercreep, now, I'm wondering if they represent a new direction for mechanics.

I use the following general principals when evaluationg charms.

1)Combat charms should be usefull without a combo, or be really good: This is partly due to the fact that DV isn't really sufficient protection. An equal enemy can get past it just by rolling above average. Given the fact that weapon damage is now quite high, this is a bad thing. Thus, you usually need to reserve your charm for defence. Thus offensive charms need to make up for this.

2) Most non-scene lenght charms should be combo-ok: Anything that isn't should be very powerful. Similary, combo-basic charms should be quite powerful.

3)Charms generally shouldn't be Obvious: Solar are the most human, so their charms should mostly look, well, human. There are obvious exceptions to this, but generally, a charm that just has you do a human action really well shoudn't be obvious. I mean obvious as in: Obvious it's a charm, not Obvious that something happened. This applied fairly inconsistently in the text. In some cases, it seems like Obvious refers to the fact that the charachter must take an action to use the charm, even though the action is one a normal human could attempt. Fury-Inciting Presence is oddity, althoug Immanent Solar Glory is the worst offender.

4)Really specialized charms should be really good: Basicly, a charm that only matters in really specialized or rare situations should not have silly restrictions on it's use.

Archery:

Flashing Vengance Draw: Would be fine, except for being combo-basic, which makes no sense. If your gonna buy a charm this specialized, it should just work. It's pretty much the same as Striking Cobra Technique, but weaker and with a minor side effect. Fix: change to Combo-Ok

Martial Arts

Thunder Clap Rush Attack: Should be Supplemental, rather than Simple. Speed 3 isn't all that fast, so the only really utility of this charm is to combo with Hammer on Iron. Which gives you a speed 3,-0 flurry for 6m + 2 willpower. You could do the same thing by having jade bracers, a speed 4 weapon, 5BS and Iron Whirlwind. And you wouldn't need a combo! Fix: change to Supplemental.
Fists of Iron:Wow is this a speedbump. Wasting your charm on this is just asking to be smacked. You don't even get to have the bonus all turn, making it worse than One Weapon, Two Blow! I would just make this a Permanent charm.
Sledgehammer Fist Punch: Would be balanced as is, except for the fact that it is obvious, which weakens it alot. Fix: Make the obvious part optional
Solar Hero Form: A hung form of Hungry Tiger. And you can block lethal without a stunt. wow. Fix: I'd let you also do lethal damage with your fists and make your un-armed attacks piercing.
Shockwave Attack: This pretty cool, till you realize it can't be combo'd. This reduces your pinnacle charm to a cute way to take out mooks, as using it around a real opponent is asking to be smacked. Fix: +Combo-Ok. I would add: In a combo, must charms are applied to the second attack, although it is possible to affect the to hit roll of the first attack.
Serpentine Evasion:Rather pointless, as for 4 motes you invoke the Third Excellency and get +3 DV, and it's invoked later. Fix: Either make it last till next action, or make it add MA to DV vs 1 attack. I favor the first one.
Uncoiling Serpent Prana: Distance attack at Essence x 2 yards isn't usefull, as you can probably move that far. Fix: Make it a permentant that doesn't count as charm use, or make up the distance to Essence x 5 yards at least. I favor the first one.


Melee - Yes, there are some

One Weapon, Two Blows: Still a speed bump, still there. This violates rule 1. The only real use of this charm is to put in a combo to gain a slight savings on excellency invokation. But even then. Fix:each mote spent adds 1 to accuracy and rate. Max motes spent == Essence.
Call the Blade: For some reason, this isn't Combo-Ok. Honestly, I think this is a bug, especially as it's successor is. Fix: add Combo-Ok
Iron Raptor / Sandstorm Wind attack:Let you attack stuff up to Ess x 8 yards away. The problem is, I can't think of a situation where you would want to expend a(simple, no less), charm on that. If your worried about range, I'd invest in Athletics charms, which would be scene length and give better range anyway. Fix: I'd make this a supplemental, perma-charms like phantom arrow. I.e. "does not count as charm use." This would make it usefull at least.
Bulwark Stance: Good defence charm, except for being combo-basic for some reason. WTF?!? This is probably a bug. Fix: +Combo-Ok
Ready in Eight Directions Stance: Again, combo-basic? WTF? I suspect the meaning of that keyword changed at some point. It's also slighly odd that all counterattacks are obvious. Fix: +Combo-OK, I would also remove obvious from this and Solar Counterattack. It should depend on what you did, perhaps you just saved an attack?
Glorious Solar Saber: Is there any point to summonig paired blades with this charm, as it already has unlimited rate. Unless you get to define the stats of each blade seperatly, which would be usefull.

Thrown

Call the Blade: Same wackyness as the melee version. Copy and paste error Fix: Same as the melee version
Observer Decieving Attack: Nice idea, poor execution. This seems to be a sort of 'take out senties, so confushion charm'. The problems are: 1)The difficutly is so low that even mortals can make it pretty easily. 2)The fact that it decreases makes it not very usefull as it quickly becomes useless. Fix: Either make the difficulty not decrease or make the difficulty be Thrown and it does decrease.

Presence:

Underling Promoting Touch, Worshipfull Lackey Aquisition: Both of these will never be used, as their mote costs are large, and committed for a long period of time. This cost is totally out of proportion to the effect achieved. I suspect this is an unintended side effect. Fix: change duration to instant, or just add a note that motes are not committed.
Irresistable Salesman Spirit: Arg, more combo-basic. What's up with that? Especially given that extra successes don't matter in social combat, so it doesn't even make much sense. Fix: Change to Combo-Ok.

Resistance

Whirlwind Armor Donning Prana: Spending a number of actions equal to your armors mobility penalty will get you killed really quickly. This tree is addressed as a unit, so see below
Hauberk-Lightening Gesture: This has the problem that you can't don the armor quickly without using the previous charm
Armored Scouts Invigoration: 3m per penalty reduction is a bit much. This entire tree suffers from the problem that it looks like you'd need to combo these charms for them to be usefull. Requiring a combo is awful expensive for what they do. This charm is also rather high in the tree for it's function. Not to mention that it's rather poorly named.
Stephenls on rpg.net suggested that a particular reading of Hauberk-Lightening Gesture indicates that banishing your armor ElseWhere does not count as removing it. If this were true, one could keep it's mobility penalty reduced to 0 with Armored-Scouts Invigoration, cancel the commit to HLG, and use Whirlwind Armor-Donning Prana to don your armor in single speed 6, -1 action. This is kinda usefull, but I'd still change WADP to a speed 3 charm.
Invincible Armor Invokation:(From WotLA) Basicly, it's Hauberk-Lightening Gesture for warstriders. The problem is, it requires Essence 6! This is insane, as Void Circle Necromance and presumably, Solar Sorcery, could CREATE a warstrider at Essence 5! Possibly this is a typo. Fix: Reduce to Essence 4, 5 if your really worried about it. (I'm not. Warstriders have a fair number of disadvantages, like being huge, having trouble hitting human sized targets and high commit costs).
Unbreakable Warriors Mastery: Nice idea, but the problem is that you have to use it when the effect hits, it requires a roll, and it has a large cost. In fact, it cost more than pretty much any charm that has a crippling effect! It even cost more than perfect defences! So to completely stop something you would need a combo with some damage negating charm and 2 willpower! Fix: #1 drop the willpower cost(to 3 motes) and don't require a roll, or (#2) allow it be invoked at any time to cancel all ongoing crippling effects(without a roll). I lean toward the second, which is usefull, but the high cost balances it. Another fix (#3) would be to make it a permenant where you can pay 3m+1w to negate a crippling effect when it happens(with the roll). I rank that the same as #2.
Adamant Skint Technique:Unfortunatly, Iron Skin Concentration makes this almost useless, as it's deeper in the tree and cost more. It's also highly expensive for some reason. Fix:Change cost to 2 motes, like ISC. This is fine, as it has the limitation of only stopping damage anyway, no to mention the flaws thing. Alternate: leave cost at 4 motes and allow it to negate the attack totally.
Durabiity of Oak Meditation:It's hard to think of a case where you would want to use this. You could just use Iron Skin Concentration for one mote less. And opponents who can't get above 8 base damage shouldn't be hitting you anyway. This charm becomes obselete fairly quickly. Fix:Let it stack with hardness from other sources?

Lore

Power Awarding Prana: This charm is both useless AND broken. The target gets to learn Solar charms for 10 xp each! This is better than the rate for other Exalts! OTOH, they only have 15 essence to power them. Also, it's hard to see a case where commiting 15 Essence to this charm is usefull. Fix: I'd say each mote committed to this charm gives the target a pool of Essence motes. This makes it vaguely usefull. But really, trying to pump up mortals just isn't usefull. How usefull this is depends on how willing the ST is to let NPC's have xp.
Immanent Solar Glory:Seems ok, except for the odd restrictions on regaining the Essence. The regaining function isn't that usefull, as you'd get more back through respiration anyway. I mean, is +10 motes really all that broken? Another odd point: The motes you gain is based on time spend. This actually discourages you from using bureaucracy charms, which speed it up. Fix: Remove the silly regain restriction. Remove the obvious keyword also, as it makes no sense. The mote thing is easy to fix. Just base it on hours of work accomplished, rather than hours spent. I would guess most people do this anyway.

Craft

Object Strenghtening Touch, Durabiltiy Enhancing Technique: These can't increase the difficulty to break something by more than your Essence. Which is such a small increase so as to be laughable. These charms are so specialized, they should at least be effective. Fix: You may always increase it by your essence, or double the successes/difficulty. whichever is more. Could use Craft also, but that still isn't much.
Crack Mending Technique: This isn't usefull as it has higher pre-reqs than CNNT, gives the same amount of speedup, costs more, AND is more limited(only fixing). And you still need tools(not sure. The text kinda implies you don't ). Fix: Make it actually instant. So that you do Essence x 3 hours of work in a round. It's still kinda limited in appicablity, but at least cool when you can figure out a situation to use it.
Wonder Forging Genius: The charm its self is fine, but it requires Infinite Craft Mastery, which is about as useless a charm as you can get get. Given the way Craft is used, one will never use it! Fix: Remove this pre-req.

Investigation

Judges Ear Technique: This charm compells a target to tell the truth, while the previous one detects lies. Unfortunatly, it can be resisted by spending willpower, to a max of 3. This makes it pretty useless for interrogation. If you have them at your mercy enough that you can run them out of willpower, you can just use the previous charm. And resisting Unatural Mental Influence is only really a hardship for Solars, who gain limit from it. Fix: Not sure. Possibly increase the resistance cost to 2 willpower with a max of 6 per scene.

Athletics

Monkey Leap and :Lightning Speed:Thanks to a comment from Darloth. Monkey Leap is vastly more effective for some reason. This was true in 1E also, so it could be intentional. Not sure. Also, I'm not sure if ML is to powerful or LS is to weak. I assume Lightning Speed increases the [i]per tick[/i] movement of Moves and Dashes. I use RSB's suggestion that even with ML, you can still only jump once per flurry, although that counts as a move. See comments section.

Awareness

Surprise Anticipation Method: This charms suffers from two problems. 1)The awareness 5 requirement is far to high, and makes extremly expensive to put in combo's compared to Reflex Sidestep. 2)It needs a combo to even be usefull! This should either not be charm use, or something. Fix: Not sure. I'd reduce the awareness requirment down to 1 at least. This gives it a small advantage over reflex sidestep. Kinda tempted to leave it where it is and make it not charm use.


Eye of the Unconquered Sun: This would be a reasonable charm, except for the fact that it causes total anima flare? Huh? That doesn't even make any sense. Fix: Remove the anima flare part and obvious keyword.

Dodge

Leaping Dodge Method: Not a problem per say, but the "this counts as a counterattack" is well, odd and kinda pointless. It's not like the charm is overpowered or anything. There were already plenty of counters to hopping dodges. The Lunars had one(Foot Trapping Counter), not to mention, like, ranged attacks. It also gives counterattacks an unfair advantage I think. Fix: Remove part about counterattacks

Larceny

Perfect Mirror: This should have a duration of longer than an hour. As is, it isn't very usefull. Havish should make sense. Fix: I'd make duration "until sleep", like Flawlessly Impentrible Disquise.
Stealing from Plain Sight: This charm has 2 oddities. 1)the fact that it is easier to notice the theft than that the item is missing. So you notice that the item has been stolen, but is still there? Fix: I'd make them both +8 2)Oddly enough, the fact that the "distance you can get is until the Solars DV refressed 3 times", well, keep Guarding and Moving to mosey away and your DV will never refresh! One also has this weird image of would be thiefs carrying grimscythes. I would say it lasts (Wits + Larceny) * Ess in ticks.


Stealth

Easily Overlooked Presence: No problem with the charm, but as far as I can tell, the "bonuses from circumstances" are only mentioned in it's text. The +3 example rules however.
Mental Invisiblity: This charm has the wierd effect of being strangely useless, as most people have more than 4 willpower. This also means you can't easily use it on PC's, as they get to decide if they want to spend the 4 wp. Can't even use pre-rolled awareness rolls. Also, by p181 people

are always aware of unatural mental influence. I guess this means they are aware of it if they spend the wp.

Linguistics

Whirling Brush Method: I liked the old name better.  :) Fix: rename to Whirlwind Brush Method

Ride

Flashing Thunderbolt Steed: Again, I don't have a problem with is, but basing it off stamina gives TURBO-YEDDIM<b>. Realisticly, you probalby should have a movement multiplier for animals, but that would be way to much work.
Sometimes Horses Fly: I like this charm. It is also an example of the Obvious keyword behaving oddly as it is...NOT Obvious. Buh?


<b>Sail

Sea Ambush Techniqe: Oddly enough, this charm is more effective than the actuall Stealth Charms. Solars can hide a fleet on the open ocean, but have to stand perfectly still to hide themselves. I consider this more of a sign that the Stealth Charms are weak, than a problem with this charm.

Socialize

Understanding the Court: No sure why this charm has such an insanely high cost, it's not THAT powerful. Fix:Reduce cost to 10m+1 willpower.

Comments

Interesting stuff. I'm not sure I agree with all of it, but it's a good start in the right direction. I should note that it's possible that Serpentine Evasion doesn't need a fix-- (1) it works on either parry _or_ dodge, so it has flexibility (especially important in a combo), and (2) It's a Celestial Martial Art Charm which, as I understand it, are canonically supposed to be slightly less powerful than Solar Charms now. -- IsawaBrian

Although in this case, everyone's excellencies are more or less the same. Unless you go by maximum die cap, Solars have second worst excellencies. -FlowsLikeBits


I seem to remeber that Immanent Solar Glory can be refilled with essence recovery charms -Azurelight

That is true. Although it doesn't really help, as I don't like encouraging abuse of EGT. (Stop hitting yourself!) -FlowsLikeBits

Crack-Mending Technique is INSANELY powerful, as it should be. This could fix Oliphem's (from CotW) eye, a crashed skydreadnought, or a broken automaton, or any other such thing. Do this for Lookshy and they would probably make you a citizen despite the whole Solar Anathema thing... -OmegaPaladin

Well, the problem is, it doesn't seem to do anything that you can't do with Craftsman Needs No Tools. That's why I suggested making it faster. -FlowsLikeBits

Combo-Basic would be fine for Shockwave Technique - it would allow defensive charms and an excellency without also letting other supplementals (Or a simple or EA) apply, which I think is the desired effect. Combo-OK might make it a little -too- effective.
-- Darloth is going through all of these at this very moment, sigh

How so? I thought of that also, but just didn't see it. I'm interested in the reasons. Honestly, the only charm I can think of that should be Combo-Basic is Arrow Storm(which would be a bit to effective otherwise. Possibly change it to Combo-Ok around the high Ess area, like 6+) -FlowsLikeBits

Shockwave is already an extra attack charm with a type of supplemental. You can double your number of attacks without using an Extra Action, so it shouldn't be comboed with those or terrible things might happen. It might be worth actually stating that it's incompatible, but I don't know. MA supplementals (-any- MA supplementals) adding to it might be weird to try and calculate. Also, I've no idea how it would supplement many Simple MA attacks. You could make it work either way, but I'm for basic - easier to manage in general. My opinion may change when I see other MAs revised for 2nd edition.
-- Darloth

I kinda see your point, although I think making it Basic makes it a bit weak for a pinnacle charm. Honestly, even having it combo'd with EA Charms doesn't seem all that bad, you'd need a large number of targets. And I can see how it would work with many simples. I added a clarification into it, although I don't think it's that hard to figure out. (You have 2 attack rolls, but the first one doesn't do damage). If you can think of anything specific, I'll try to do something -FlowsLikeBits

Unrelated, but I realized this while crunching movements just now - Monkey leap is horribly, horribly HORRIBLY overpowered. You can jump as a 'movement action', which I'm assuming means a Move action (the charm after it specifically says move, for example). It also doubles distance. Now, jumping was already Str + Ath (times 2 if horizontal) so this rapidly leads to speeds of 30 to 40 yards per tick, without any penalties, for an entire scene.
-- Darloth

Yeah, I've seen that. I'm not sure how "overpowered" it is, but it is vastly more effective than Lightning Speed. Of course, Jumping was much better in 1E also, so that may be on purpose. Rebecca suggested ruling that it doesn't overcome the "one jump per flurry" limit, which would allow you to substitute one of your move actions for a (long) jump. The text does contradict this though, so it would be a house rule. I'm not entirely sure if ML is overpowered or LS is underpowered. Quite possibly both. -FlowsLikeBits, Of course fast movement would be a Solar thing if you 'c' what I mean
I certainly agree solars should move quick, I just debate the wisdom of allowing a combat-focussed exalt to close range with an archer suffering range penalties before said archer can fire again, all by using a single (scenelong, cheap, comboable) charm, at essence 1. Heck, half-caste with 0 inheritance might manage it. I'd go with RSB's house rule, myself, it seems to make sense and limits it nicely. But, anyway, this is where such things should go, is it not? *grin*
-- Darloth is unsure about Lightning Speed - it's okay for move, but doesn't quite enhance Dashes enough, I think.

4m seems a bit costly for what Sandstorm Wind Attack does, as well. Stunts and Charms to block are fairly common in exalted, and I wouldn't spend 4m on an extra, even as an innate action. It doesn't get any more range either, anymore
-- Darloth ponders

LS I assume increases the PER-TICK movement, although it's still a bit weak. I'd be tempted to say it doubles Dashing distances. Even with RSB's suggestion, ML is still better, as you Speed-1 * Dex + (4x(Str+Ath)), vs Speedx(Dex + Ath). Basicly, ML is faster if your Dex +(Speed-4)*Athletics is less than 4 times your Strenght. (Yeah, I know. Sorry)
SSWA: Well, I assumed the point was more to hit something that was a [i]bit[/i] to far away. Upping range starts to get into thrown territory. Your already out ranging firewands. Then again, a Direlance outranges firewands. Even as an innate power, you could probably drop the cost to 3,2 or even 1 motes without a problem. I favor 2-3 myself. -FlowsLikeBits

Why is "Obvious" a devil-word? Solars, except for Night-caste, aren't supposed to have an easy time hiding their glory when they use their powers. They're supposed to brim over with the unfettered power of the Unconquered Sun, spilling light along with their Essence with reckless fury. - IanPrice

I think the issue with "Obvious" is that it's poorly applied in the conceptual sense. It has two meanings, neither of which is held to consistently. The first meaning is "Obviously using magic, most likely of a Solar nature". This is easily shown by some of the art in the book, where trails of glowing golden essence arc around magically-enhanced arrows. The second is "Obviously doing something out of the ordinary". This is a very different thing, as it's "My, aren't you running fast? You know Jim, that's the fastest man I've ever seen. Perhaps he's from the East!". The problem is that some charms, which make you uber-awesome, aren't listed as obvious. Charms that allow you to do triple damage to in-animate objects, crushing things beneath your mighty blows. Charms that allow you to do amazing things, but don't make you glow. Other charms, much weaker, involve you doing things that are ever-so-slightly out of the ordinary, such as ... I don't know ... doing something well, and they're listed as Obvious. Thus, it's not the Obvious keyword that's the problem - it's that two rules were used to place it. -- GreenLantern
I don't disagree that this double-standard is bad, but I don't agree with the above solution. The only solution presented above is to make charms not Obvious. - IanPrice
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