Discussions/IdentifyingCharms

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Could someone please tell me where it says that "defenders can only guess which attack is supplemented by Unobstructed Blow"? All it says is "One attack using brawl cannot be blocked", and that it ignores armour soak. -- BrokenShade

Hi there! No harm done Raindoll, I understand. BrokenShade, this is actually a rather lengthy debate. My players want to keep the attacks supplemented with charms covert, particularly if only personal essence is used. By those rules, which my be a house rule...If you are attacked with three attacks at the same initiative from one person, then you might be surprised that the second of them cannot be parried and ignores armour (Yikes!). However, this changes after the first surprise. Thus, you cannot be surprised many times by the same charm. The ST describes anime-style the difference between attack 1 and 2. I figure this is a good ruling. --Clebo

Thanks Clebo, that makes sense now. ^_^ Its an interesting way of doing things. I guess it could work fairly well, as you are still aware if there is a Combo active that turn (i.e. be very careful now, any of these attacks could be a killer!). Do you hide the number of attack successes (e.g. for parry Charms) or just the fact that the attack is e.g. unblockable? If you use a Dodge Charm against an undodgeable attack, I presume you still pay the mote cost? ^_^ -- BrokenShade

BrokenShade, previously before the debate on Seven Shadow Evasion I declared successes on the attacks, only to those who did not possess the 7SE, whereas I gave the players who knew it the chance to use it. Now, I think I will declare successes regardless, though not telling the specifics of other supplements on the attack. Yes, the poor DB trying to dodge the Cascade of Cutting Terror would still pay for the cost of all the useless dodge charms. Also, as long as personal essence is used, then no charm will ever be appearent, regardless of description in the book. This ruling is fun, because it encourages multiple tactics, and Ox-Body Technique. The element of surprise is funny. -Clebo

I'm of the opinion that the ST should declare whether the opponent is using Charms or not before the attack roll is made, and the players must declare if he is using a defense roll or not after the defense roll is made. Peripheral Essence only activates the character's Anima Banner, it does not make using charms more or less obvious. However you don't need to declare -which- Charm you intend to use, just that the attack is being used. The exception is Combo's which have unique signatures, once you've seen it used once you can always guess which Combo is being used. - Epsilon

If you're going with covert Charm use, I think it would be smart/fair to implement a system through which characters can recognize is/how a certain attack is supplemented. Maybe a reflexive Wits + Occult roll, or something.

I'm generally against covert Charms, because I think it's kind of unfair. The ST gets to know what Charms the players are using. Coupling this with the idea that characters can't tell when an attack is boosted cannot fail but lead to embarassing overlap; either the ST metagames to consistently have enemies fall for the players' "clever" tactics, goes the other way and makes them magically able to sense when they need to pull out the perfect defenses, or determines enemies' defensive options through some unwieldy game-theoretic method.

I also believe that the combat Charms were written with a perfect-information environment in mind. What's the use of a perfect defense, if using it is more often than not a complete crapshoot? How can you hide the use of dice-adders?\\ _Ikselam

I agree with almost all of that, Ikselam. Covert Charms could be quite interesting, but I am a little worried about (1) the point of e.g. a defence that can block unblockable, when you don't know if an attack is unblockable (2) how to use defensive Charms if you don't know the number of successes on the attack (3) the way this seems to weaken defence to a point where attack is the better strategy! (4) storyteller knowledge of player attacks before defence, when the players don't get equivalent information. ^_^ -- BrokenShade

Here's how I see it: covert Charms are only an appropriate thing to do if the opponent is *never* aware of what Charms are being used. This means that you need 2 people you trust to run NPC combats; one for Essence management, and a second for actually running the antagonists. Anything less would be horribly asymmetrical. I don't have any issue with Personal Essence failing to create a display, while the players know what has happened; it's not like Health Levels are an element in the setting either. - willows

Hi there! Willows, another way of dealing with this unfairness of knowledge in what charms are being used is to use fixed combat strategies. For instance, if I ST a battle, I let your character find out how to beat the Water Dragon Suffers strategy. I only let the Water Dragon use the same tactics all day long. Perhaps she flees or surrender, but she'll never change. This would deal with the unfairness, and it would also make battles more fun, as the players must figure out a way to beat the constant strategy. However, it works the best when the players cannot immediately find a way to simply brute force their way through the battle. -Clebo

Also, the players do not have to declare what charms they are supplementing their attacks and blocks with either. I've been thinking about a card system, where both ST and players are declaring actions verbally, and when they want to supplement actions they lay down a card (upside down), then they resolve. Simple charms are easy. I don't know what will be the most fun. Perhaps one kvasi-player should be around to battle things out with the players? -Clebo

I think litterature encourages experienced fighters realizing a certain attack will be impossible to parry but that dodge remains an option, even though they have no idea the attack is magically enhanced. I would be willing to inform them of an attack headed straight for a crack in their armor, an especially mighty blow and other, similar things. I would even warn them of a 'special effect' attack such as one causing Aggravated damage or reducing their attributes, though I would probably not specify what it is. (Although they could have been forewarned of their opponent's secret strength-stealing technique and have a good guess it's probably coming right now.)\\ However, note that just as a player who determines his character realizes someone is supernatural as soon as they parry before their initiative and still act during that round should be glared at reproachfully, getting hit by an unblockable does not inform you of the Exalted status of the opposition. You just know they're good.\\ - ArchonShiva

Like I already noted, I'm in favor of players knowing what attacks are magnified by Charms and which are not, if not neccesarily what Charm is being used. I think the fact that Combo's are specifically noted as having unique signatures means that normal Charms are harder to identify.

That being said. I think its right that you allow the player to see what kind of attack they are up against before they decide to Heavenly Guardian or just Dipping Swallow against it. Remember, we are playing combat gods (not literally, but then agian, an experienced Solar could whup Ahlat who is a combat God ;p) and they are probably good enough to know which attacks comign at them are unblockable and which ones are just a lot of successes and so on.

One way I might accomplish this as a Storyteller without just saying "He's using Unubstructed Blow" is to put key-wrods and such in the description of the attack. For instance, unblockable attacks might have words like "His attack is coming in far to fast for you to react..." or "while you're still trying to recover from that poorly executed swing the Sidereal moves in, the momentum of your swing is too much to bring your sword around..." and so on. - Epsilon

Well, I think the notion of letting the players know that the charm is supplemented with a charm, but without telling its effects could also be abused by the all-knowing ST. For instance, I let that tremendously agile-looking Abyssal over there shoot a charm-imbued arrow at a player. Problem is, it was a cheap dice-reducer and the defense might have cost a lot more if I really scare the players. Now, the main argument for covert charms is drama. Players would need to scout their opponents' secret techniques before they fight them. For each major opponent, they might have a small notepage to remember what techniques the foes have, and how they look like. Furthermore, reputation comes into play much more this way. One can also create false rumors, making your future opponents prepare for the wrong strategy. I like this line of roleplaying, and I feel it is aided by the use of covert charms. -Clebo

While that is indeed cool, and should probably still be done... it -still- doesn't solve the problem that, if a charm is covert... how are they meant to tell when they need to use a perfect defense, and when it's just a normal(ish) attack?
-- Darloth favors a mix of the descriptive and hint-based methods, with research possibilities for combos and such if I can arrange it.

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