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The new Iron Skin Concentration, for 3 motes, reduces any attack to its lower possible level (usually the essence of the attacker).
This in and of itself doesn't bother me. It's a neato charm. What does bother me is what you get when you compare it to another charm. Iron Kettle Body.
For those same 3 motes you add 8B/9L to your soak and gain 8 Hardness. Also not a bad charm.
What bothers me when you compair the two is that ISC is vastly more useful and potent then IKB, and that just shouldn't be so. IKB is farther down the tree, had higher prereqs (Res: 5, Ess 2 vs ISC Res: 2, Ess: 1) and doesn't lead to anything down the tree, while ISC leads to Adamant Skin Technique. Looking at that, there's almost no reason to persue IKB.
The only time when IKB is more useful then ISC is when you're taking a very weak hit, or it's a sneak attack. And Supernatural creature's going to be hitting for more then 8 damage before soak, as is more then a few mortals. Being able to add that to a sneak attack is useful, but doesn't make up for the gap in my eyes.
So what's the deal? How did IKB get the shaft so bad? Here's what I think happened. The original ISC was limited to unarmored individuals. That is, the charm was incompatible with armor. The new version in the PG specifically says it can be used with armor; but, I believe this to be a falsehood. If you make ISC incompatible with armor again, then IKB looks much more appealing. Otherwise IKB is a higher powered charm with lower powered effects.
I don't know how you're going to handle it in your games, but in mine ISC is INcompatible with armor. -- Walknuki
Just a thought, but would it be fair to say that if you used both charms you would take no damage from an attack? Or they value the importance of being able to use a charm against things you don't see coming a lot more then we would. -- BogMod
No, I don't think that would be fair, atleast about taking no damage. ISC will take it down to it's lowest level, while IKB may, MAY be able to do that, or even in rarer cases, may be able to eliminate the damage altogether.
9/10 times its just as good, if not better, to use ISC compared to IKB. It's easier to get, and leads to other charms.
Why, then, would anyone waste a charm going after IKB?
ISC seems a bit too potent for a low-in-the-tree, Resistance: 1, Essence: 1, leading to another powerful charm. I feel it needs to be nerfed down a bit, and making it incompatible with armor does the trick. -- Walknuki
ISC is better on average yes. We see however in the dodge tree something similar. Shadow Over Water and Reflex Sidestep Technique. Shadow Over Water will almost always be better. You get your full pool. RST is just 2 times your essence. SOW is useless if ambushed though. The same set up lies between ISC and IKB. ISC is better normally, but not if you are ambushed. Also, for a character who has armor the difference between them moves more to say that IKB is better. Say you have a soak of 11L/11B. Your opponent has an essence of four. From damage of 1-8 IKB is better. From 9-24B/23L they are the same. Only after going over 25B/24L will a foe do more then his essence in dice of damage. Its easy to have an 11 soak. Doing more then 24 damage isn't that common. In the end, charms that you don't need to see an attack coming at you to work aren't as good as ones you do. Makes sense to me. Maybe this example and point about the dodge charms helps. -- BogMod