Discussions/WhyCantSiderealsMakeCharms

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Every Exalt type, save Sidereals, can make new charms. Sidereals are limited to the one non-Sidereal charm-type they can learn, which is MA. Why is that? Other than "color text" (The Maidens know so much about the future, that they can guarantee these 63 charms are good enough) or game balance (if Sidereals really could make charms, they'd own), what's going on there? Has anyone come up with an in-game reason that holds weight? It seems that Sidereals are really handicapped by the limitation, especially as their Essence tends to 5 and up. After all, even though weird MAs are powerful, you're left with buying 10 charms of an MA to get the 4 cool charms you wanted, and 6 more basic combat charms you don't need. Hence, as power levels increase, Sidereals don't tend to be master manipulators of the world, they tend to be combat powerhouses with MA combos coming out of their ears. Yes, SMA does allow some less purely combat powers, but even then, have you seen an MA that lets you control social situations? Get from A to B faster? These are things that Sidereals (IMO) should be good at, but really aren't, because they can't make charms. Just trying to start some discussion, is all. -- GregLink, AKA the GreenLantern

The "color text", as you put it, is the in-game reason as to why Sidereals cannot make their own Charms. Also, said "color text" specifically puts in an out for the ST regarding "lost Charms". - Moxiane
True, true. But why? Are Sidereal shards weak? Limited, somehow? If it weren't for the one maiden-imposed exception, all Exalts would be able to make charms. Heck, all spirits can, as can Fair Folk. So why the Sidereals? Can it be 'fixed'? Could you buy off the Maidens? Is it because the Maidens are weaker than the other patrons? (Heck, it takes five of them to make 5 castes, while all the other patrons can do their castes on their own). -- GreenLantern
The combination of weakness and custom job is what's always made sense to me. They may be able to reach the Unconquered Sun in their specialties, or as a group, but they're not individually the equal of the UCS, or post-Gaia-infusion Luna. And remember-- they're Autochthon's personal project, as well, if I understand things right. Combined with their ability to understand the future and a possible expertise in shard design, it's entirely possible that they deliberately limited the Sidereals. Remember, the gods wanted the Exalts to do the dirty deed they couldn't, then take over management without, as it were, becoming the new CEOs, part II. The UCS and Luna may not have had the particular knack, or maybe in their desire to be more important, left the options open, but the Maidens may have looked ahead, and even if only Secrets could even guess at the Great Curse, they may very well have decided to focus the Sidereal's options into martial arts alone (an area they probably couldn't quite control as well, anyway), to prevent them from surpassing their base limits. As well, the limitation may have been necessary to make their charms as efficient as they were-- a simple design requirement of the shards. Actually-- if you combine that with the 'individually weak' line, it makes a certain amount of sense. They were combining their powers in the first place, so they decided to go all out on efficiency. Instead of constantly reshaping their own Essence, the Maidens split their focus-- a series of hardwired charms that couldn't be altered, but were quite efficient, and leaving all of the creative impulse to Martial Arts.
Another possibility is that it's a problem with how their Charms are developed in the first place. The Charms may simply require too much work, and too much input from the Maidens, Autochthon, and/or the Pattern Spiders. A lot of them involve some serious management of Fate that doesn't, apparently, cause Paradox or Fate Breaches (at least not from ordinary use). Look at how many top-rank charms require Maiden Approval. It could be that it IS possible for new Sidereal Charms to be created-- if, say, the Loom was rewired, the Maidens went in and made the necessary protocols, etc. It might even require Autochthon himself to do the rewiring. I don't think any reason has been presented canonically, that I can remember Of course, in a mechanical sense, the reason why is pretty clear. The Sidereals get highly efficient charm trees, so they can't make any more-- except Martial Arts, which are universal anyway. It's always made sense to me from that point of view, too. -- IsawaBrian
An interesting point. Perhaps Sidereal charms really do affect Fate in ways that directly manipulate the Loom and the Spiders. Hence, any changes to Sidereal charm trees requires corresponding changes in the Spiders and-or the Loom. Without the Maidens or Autocthon interested in doing so, it just ain't gonna happen. I might use that in a game some time... -- GreenLantern
Runing with the idea a bit, don't Sidreal Charms remind you somewhat of Mountain Folk Patterns? It could be that the Scripture Charms are the Pattern Matery charms for the Sidreals, but instead of letting them have 'loose' ends that could be used for further mastery, they were bound to the veries poems attached to the Weave to limit the Sidreals. Its possible that was why the Solars turned on the Mountain Folk, they were manipulated to do so by the Maidens because 'Fixing' the Sidreal shards would require their help... - Dasmen

I don't think you can say that they can't make Charms after Essence 5, as none of the canon splats have post Essence 5 charms, excepting the castebooks. If anyone wants to do a Sol Invictus for Sidereals, they're more than free to, I'd say, but the Sidereals don't invent Charms in practice, because that's not what they do. They don't experiment randomly, they've got all the knowledge from the First Age to play with still, and their pride tells them that those are more than strong enough. Also, this should be under Discussions. - Trithne

You can, in fact, say that since the Sidereal book says that Sidereals are unable to make custom Charms. - Telgar

Indeed it should be. My bad. If anyone knows how to move it, feel free. Heck, feel encouraged. As for the real meat of Trinthe's comments though, you're slightly mis-reading the exact book, perhaps without realizing it. The book notes that "That's it. These are all the Sidereal charms, period, and you can't make more. The Maidens looked into the future and said "You'll need these 63 charms, so here they are"." So, canonically, you can't actually make a "Star Invictus" or something of the sort, as it would violate the canon. You could make one full of MA charms (mostly SMA, even), but you're canonically prevented from having more than the Siddie fatsplat worth of charms. -- GreenLantern

There you go, in the proper place now, and fully linked to. - Trithne

Sidereals with a jones for charm creation can make new martial arts styles out the wazoo. Given that these would likely be sidereal level martial arts, I'm not sure the "you're left with buying 10 charms of an MA to get the 4 cool charms you wanted" really applies. As for non martial arts charms, I think the real reason for the restriction is a fear in the writer that adding arbitrary charms would destroy one of the main checks on the power of sidereal charms: they only combo in known ways with the others. -- Wordman

Well, it's also not that big a limitation, given the tendency of the prayer-strip Charms to be much, much broader in terms of effects, and effect palettes. Look at, for example, the Archery pinnacle. It has a potentially infinite number of effects, within the boundary that they generally fit the style of the Charm and get the ST's approval. The Brawl pinnacle also has the potential to enable a Sidereal to perform wildly improbable feats. - David.

But at the same time, it is a huge limitation. Once a Sidereal hits Essence 5, he's pretty much stuck to only learning SMA (or the rest of the existant Sidereal charms) for the rest of his career. Even though SMA is weird and powerful, it's still MA at its core. Hence, when you SMA about 'sickness', you get CPoC style, which, while allowing you to do really funky things to enemies, doesn't really heal your sick wife, nor cure the countryside of illness. This is especially a problem when you hit Essence 6, when really Solars are moving the world, and Lunars are shapechanging into it. There's no equivalent high level of Sidereal power. Honestly, if Astrology scaled with Essence by more than a few percent, I think I could take it. Instead, you get barely another die on your power roll at the end of the day, which works out to a very minor difference, as you're still stuck with one effect per mortal (by far the thing you'll be influencing most often) and each such effect has only a one-(die,TN,success) modifier attached to it. -- GreenLantern

David did provoke another idea, as I responded earlier - that while Sidereals have a large number of local-effect charms, by having no custom charm creation, they're stuck on the 'small scale', and are forced to use Astrology, which, while 'helpful', isn't really world-shaking, and can't really make a fast change in the situation, only a slow one. My latest theory is that the Sidereal charm limitation (in an OOG sense) was put in for just this reason - there's no way Chejop Kejak, in all his Kung-Fu astrology-master glory, can really shift the balance in Creation easily and quickly, without going out and kicking some Kung-Fu butt on his own. It helps explain why the Sidereals are so good at maintaining things for hundreds upon hundreds of years, but aren't so good at actually holding that status quo in the face of opposition. Almost every other Exalted type has the means (by Essence 5+) to have nation-scale Presence, Performance, and Bureaucracy charms, but the Sidereals are stuck working astrology in painstaking time, shifting one die here, one die there. Thus, the Sidereal charm limitation isn't just for game balance, nor because the Maidens said so - it's the Sidereal's sad lot in life, and thus their schtick. They may be great slow-scale manipulators of things, but other than their Kung-Fu, they're just not even playing in the same league as the other Exalted. Their Kung-Fu will keep them alive, and allow them to hunt Demons, but truly, it takes a Solar King, or a Lunar general, to fix something now. -- GreenLantern

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