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Recently, while tinkering with Yet Another Martial Arts style, I realized that several of the Charms I wanted to include were Permanent. They provided constant effects that just improved the character, lessening or removing limitations. Then I blinked and paused, wondering what sort of effect these would have on the game.
As I see it, Permanent Charms can easily fall within three categories- those that are really Permanent (once purchased, they are always active- Ox Body Technique is the most class example of this), those that have an unlimited duration but require Essence be committed to them the entire time (no Charms like this come to mind, but I?m sure they exist. Also the logic behind Artifact attunement), and those that provide new, Essence powered capabilities to a character without counting as a Charm (such as the Abyssal Ominious Portent Technique, or the default Caste Anima abilities).
What are good limitations of Permanent Charms? What should the limitations be? Would Permanent Charms be a good means of costing out increasing a Attribute or Ability beyond 5? A natural soak greater than Stamina? One that can even ignore chip damage? How about permanently increasing a character?s movement, healing, or initative? Lessening the multiple action split penalty? Increasing the difficulty to act against the character, or making it easier for the character to act? Improving the stats of weapon and armor worn by virtue of being the one to use it? Treating any item held as though it were made from one of the Five Magical Materials?
Just thought I?d toss this on the wall and get some opinions. I?ve got some of my own, but haven?t really found a way to articulate them yet.
I wouldn't use the second or third types of effects for Charms - commitment costs are either an Artifact mechanic or an Alchemical schtick, while allowing Charms to act like not-Charms requires positing a new Charm type entirely, which is a little funky. The permanent-alteration-of-character technique is what I'd favor, and jives with other permanent Charms like Ox-Body and the Abyssal Scarlet Venom Technique. On the other hand, I'd be quite happy positing Charms that do 3 indirectly, like a Charm that added to the dice penalty of a Dawn's anima or made an Eclipse able to seal oaths that were unusually strong or Essence-cheap. Particularly interesting would be alterations of the character's Essence-manipulation ability - suppose that Solars could use Supplementals regardless of Comboing, or if you could artificially elemental-taint their Essence so they could use DB charms without the surcharge? (That gets into the realm of stepping on metaphysics, but metarule Charms are the most interesting thing you can do to the game, really.) - FourWillowsWeeping
As a general rule, persistaent effects grant larger bonuses than non-persistent effects.... having anything at all that always gives you a bonus is almost always better than something that you can't use at a crittical moment because of a loss of willpower/essence. given this, there are some rules you should follow if you do this: 1: Effect should be narrow in scope and power: Only add a small bonus, or a small amount of bonus each time. These apply at all times, you can never be w/o them, so they add up very quickly. Adding a 1 point bonus to b/l soak thru an endurance charm woudl be ok, or adding 2L soak versus energy atacks per time taken woudl be ok. adding 5B/L to your soak woudl not be. A permanent lethal damage w/ fist charm woudl be ok (emulates a 1m, first teir charm), while an effect that permanently added your essence to your raw damage would not be. Directly adding to your stats would not be permissable (that's what spending xp on attributes would be). Having a "permanent" version of strength increasing (prolly w/ strength increasing as a pre-req), that you could activate as a reflexive action (for full cost), that didn't count as yoru charm for the turn, since it's "permanent" might be ok, but that is relaly bodering on the hight side of too powerful.
2: Effect should not emulate high teir charms: As a general rule, you shoudl never, ever let a permanent effect emulate a charm w/ essence reqs above 2 and ability/atribute requs above 3. it's way too powerful to go beyond this.
That's all i can think of now.
Hi there! I just wanted to point out that power level is important, but not that disruptive for the game. I think permanent charms should be very specific. For instance, should a solar develop an "extra essence container"-charm, then it would become so versatile that almost all solars would take them. I think a such development would be bad. Even the core rules state that Ox-Body is almost mandatory. So, permanent charms are ok, given that they are very narrow, such as spirit-tied pet, or those nifty ride charms presented here in this wiki. I wouldn't mind permanent soak adders. Also, I think one way of going around the one charm per turn rule could be permanent charms that demand essence expenditure upon activation. Sure, you can develop a charm that enables you to reflexively, without using your charm this turn to increase your soak. Unfortunately, all it does is removing one charm per turn in effect. This, I wouldn't like.
I would like to point out an example of the second type of "Permanent" charm DariusSolluman mentioned. The Gill-Breathing Technique charm for Lunars states you can just commit 5 motes to keep the gills indefinately, so I don't think it's too out of bounds. There's another kind of charm, that while not permanent, is indefinate in duration. Void Sheath Technique from Abyssals requires the expenditure of 1 mote to banish the blade, but that mote is kept commited until they reflexively release it. This allows them to summon their weapon instantly and use an attack charm... too powerful? As long as you don't go overboard with these kinds of charms, no. In the end, I think we have to remember, that's why Storytellers are there, to keep people from doing that. - haren
There are a large number of that type in Sidereals, many of which are in fact very strong effects (Wanting and Fearing Prayer comes to mind.) - FourWillowsWeeping
I think there's a difference between Permanent Charms and Indefinite Charms. Indefinite Charms actually have an activation cost, and the motes spent remain committed to the Charm as long as the Exalt wants to maintain it. Several Lunar Charms are like this, and the Sidereals have a fair number of them. Permanent Charms are like Ox-Body, and other "enhancement" Charms, like the Sidereal Virtue-based Essence recovery Charms, and World-Shaping Artistic Vision. Then there's the odd one, Ominous Portent Method. I don't know of any others that work like this (though I've considered a few Lunar Charms borrowing this mechanic), where the Charm itself is constantly on, but enjoying the effects requires a little Essence loss, but doesn't count as a Charm activation. Unnatural Many-Step Stride (and, by extension, CMoS Form) has an echo of this mechanic, in that it has an effect that is activated by Essence expenditure, but does not count as a Charm use or action.
I think all of the examples offered by DariusSolluman in the first post are valid, though I would put many of them at Essence 4 or higher. The guidelines posted by Clebo and Sabis I generally agree with. Another possible option for the realm of permanent Charms might be to bend the rule of one Charm per turn. For example, the pinnacle Charm of a Martial Art might be a permanent effect that allows the martial artist to access Reflexive Charms from that particular MA freely, as the Dragon-Blooded do. - David.
Haren, I disagree; the Storyteller is there to help everyone have a good time together, not to constrain players against exploiting problems in the system. If the players are doing that and damaging the other players' fun thereby, then it's obvious that the ST should take steps, but it should never be a primary duty, and the best way to deal with disruptive players is to get rid of them anyway.
On permanent Charms: I've been thinking about them, and they're ool. Let's write some. - willows
So here's an idea - what about reduced cost of other charms? Perhaps a Charm that either upgrades the existing DSD to cost one mote less? To make a higher-Essence (or ability) copy of it would require you to re-learn all of your combos, but a permanent "enhancement of other charm" Charm allows you to keep your combos, and get better results. Other enhancements might include turning simple charms into instants, or eliminating the WP cost? Just an idea, but it would seem that there's a lot of room out there for charms that are 'just like' existing charms, only better in some limited way. How do people feel about such things? --GregLink
In principle... perhaps... but it seems to be going against the 'these charms will never be more efficient' bit. That said... some sort of interesting charm that let you use DSD in a different -way- would be a good idea, or a charm that enhances it without changing cost (For example, a permanant that grants +1 dice to all uses of dice-adders would enhance Golden Essence Block... I can't think of a good DSD example, I think it's a fairly good atomic building-block type charm, which seems like it should be fairly stable.)