These are just some random assortment of thoughts on making an effective Creation bound raksha at character creation. As a supplemental read, or potentially supercessive (is that a word?) see DarkheartOne/RakshaCombat. It'll probably read pretty badly since I'm just typing this up as it comes to me.
This isn't really meant for a standard chargen raksha noble, but more high powered games. Nonetheless, it might still be helpful for that squishy New-Noble-On-The-Block.
- Alien Costs Are Alien
Raksha charms cost more bp than xp. MA charms cost way less bp than xp.
The obvious thing to do here is to get your non raksha charms first, if you can at all without gimping your concept too much. Games that start with high BP chargen = good for Creation based raksha, assuming you were smart unlike me and didn't buy a lot of raksha charms. Games that start with normal BP chargen and XP = good for raksha charms. Both have their merrits.
The former means you might (big might) be able to slamdunk an entire CMA tree if you ignore your wyld tricks. The bad thing is passing up such sweet things such as Imposition of Law in your weapon specialty of choice (applies to both attacks AND parries!) and Bastion of the Self. You may also run into trouble using that CMA with your limited mote pool.
The latter is kinda spiffy because you can get a good start on your MA or CMA, while still being able to get all the spiffy shiny wyld tricks you wanted. Defining the Parameters of Battle which is silly in cost to get even with XP will still save you a lot of points this way, and it's the closest thing you'll ever get to a perfect defense short of a CMA-Which-Breaks-Rules.
- There Is No Spoon / Aka your mote pool sucks
The first impulse is to fix this by raising your essence to 5 or 6 ASAP. This may be less worthwhile than you might think. There are quite a few very helpful charms (Surpassing Excellence comes to mind) that YOU CAN ONLY MUTATE. This issue is further exacerbated by the fact that there are quite a few mutation-worthy charms that only cost 1 goss but 10 essence. Aside from the fact that unmutating a mutation and getting the charm back is DoublePlusBad in the worst case scenario 1 mutation point = 10 essence freed up from being commited for a story. 1 essence means 1 less mutation point, which may mean 10 more essence you need to commit. You just gained 10 motes to your pool only to have them commited to a charm for all stories. Congratulations! This leads to...
- You Cannot Compete (Unless You Cheat Vigorously)
The mutation+essence cap effectively cripples a raksha's long term progression. You need to cheat to keep up with the bastard solars. But that's okay. We know we're better than them.
- Adjurations Are Nifty
Adjurations are good. If in an overwhelmingly Celestial game, ask for an N/A adjuration. Interesting plothook + potential for increasing your mutation cap artificially, which is GOOD.
Heart adjuration is the best here but again, this costs essence. Still, it's a gain. Fits something like Root of the Perfected Lotus into mutations without crippling you, and face it, it costs 4 points, you HAVE to mutate it, and you HAVE to get it to compete in Creation. Wouldn't you want it for only 1 mutation point?
Staff is second best with Cup coming a close third. These are all good for One-Specific-Purpose. Making mutations cheaper effectively means GETTING A BIGGER MUTATION CAP. A heart adjuration is +3, as is staff, which is inferior because it'll still gobble up 3 of your mutation points rather than 1. Cup is a +2 gain and only gobbles up 2 mutation points, that's why it's very close in position to Staff. Staff is more efficient, but it's a rather small margin when it comes down to it.
Sword and Ring adjurations are unfortunately far less effective at the equivalent of raising your mutation cap. This is because they do not give you any discount on the mutation points you're spending. Now, that's not to say they're useless, we'll get to this one in a bit, but it does mean you're spending essence to commit, even if just a little, and they don't help you with your biggest progression roadblock; your mutation cap.
HOWEVER! Remember that Adjuration-Charms-Are-Free! YES'SIREE. Now this means less for mutations that don't have any prereqs anyhow, but if you're a Squishy-Little-Noble, and you're short on BP or XP, and you Really-Don't-Want-To-Die, you can take a Sword adjuration (or Ring If You Insist, but it's not as efficient) and get Defining the Parameters of Battle. Without the five hundred prereq charms which might I add are ALL shaping charms, and thus No-Good-In-Creation. With the proper application of high stamina and topped out melee this is the closest thing to a perfect, and it's practically for free: 1 mote commit, and 1 adjuration dot. Add Surpassing Excellence or some other spiffy 1 mutation cost charm, preferably again harder to get, and call it a day.
Again here in bold and italics so nobody misses it: The above can be a lifesaver for a standard chargen rakshan noble in a celestial game!
- Familiars, Or Essence Batteries?
Familiars can act as essence batteries, especially if you use the familiar rules found at Seiraryu/Familiar. Use this. Preferably build your familiar to plug up any holes you have at chargen at reduced cost. And trust me, you need the essence.
- Raksha Boy Helps You Cheat!
Deepening the Hungry Well is particularly noteworthy. At the cost of no essence and only relatively small amounts of gossamer this is perfect to get if you plan on getting artifacts. Get the pool (personally I got it four times) and use it to commit your artis and adjurations with. Very Handy Indeed.
- Root of the Perfected Lotus Wins. Always. So Do Sids, And We Steal Their Tricks.
If you're looking at TerrestrialMartialArts (you should, you're in Creation) or CelestialMartialArts (you crazy raksha you) then take the above and add Starmetal Perfected Kata Bracers (Aspect Book: Earth). Due to a technicality the rules lawyer's say is that non sidereal still get the mote cost reduction, and if your ST disagrees, simply eat his soul.
- Five Dragon Style For Soul Eaters
The above makes me need to mention Five Dragon Style. Combined with SPKB you will be soaking lethal with bashing, which for a creature with superhuman stamina is DoublePlusGood. You also get a nifty soak adder, and the first 3 are free, courtesy of SPKB. 4 soak +1m/soak is a very good deal. You can also use Five-Dragon Blocking with SPKB to get a persistant sort of parry equal to twice your essence. If your ST is nice, they might even let you use weapon defense in the equation. Remember, raksha don't get persistant defenses, so something is better than nothing.
- Birth, or Free Charms YAY!
Especially if you can inflict environmental penalties. You did take high Birth background right? If you didn't, go do it now, get 4. It's full of free charms and nifty prereq charms which You-Won't-Have-To-Buy. And will help you get your assumption type charm to inflict environmental penalties for 5 motes when it really counts. Couple this with Bastion of the Self (Sword) or even just a shield and with as little as 4 dots of essence your persistant parry is now 15 Dice Equivalent, if you really need it to be, with only a shield. With Bastion of the Self this becomes 17 Dice. With both it becomes 19. Sounds pretty good for a Persistant-That-Is-Not-One, right?
Remember, Imposition of Law in a weapon specialty of your choice will NOT help with Five-Dragon Blocking as your parry has no ability, and thus Imposition of Law cannot be applied. But it still works on your regular parries. And Defining the Parameters of Battle if you have it.
- Gossamer Superheavy Superlight Plate Bikini
And since you took Birth, you already have Essence-Forging Art. This leads to Gossamer-Forging Art, this leads to free gossamer superheavy superlight plate. 12B/12L soak. Couple this with already superhuman stamina, Five Dragon Style, and you can cheaply buy your soak up to well over 20. It might save your life. We all know Fair Folk ox-body certainly won't. (and you won't have room for it even if you think it does)
Grace of the Infinite Revolving Spheres is awesome. It's not a perfect by far, and it won't save your ass if someone somehow manages to spam over it. And aborting to defense will still mean you can't attack. But that's why you have your semi persistant from Five Dragon Style, don't you? Between the both of them you can have Freaked-Out-Turtle-Defense (use GotIRS with insane high dicepools to defend like a nutter), or five nice spammed attacks and a solid persistant defense. This may even scare some Deathlords! (Walker In Darkness, we're looking at you)
- Don't Rely On One Defense, Sucker
So if someone uses a perfect attack on you, and they don't ping automatically, we know we can increase soak relatively cheaply. What if someone hits you with unblockable attacks? Simple. Dodge. Between essence dodge and a potential 14 dicepool at chargen this will quickly rack up close to 20 dice in and of itself. Bastion of the Self (Sword) wins again for the +2 difficulty, which is as we all know, a +4 dice equivalent. Your second assumption charm wins again for adding a +5 dice equivalent by inflicting a penalty on the Frowned-Upon-Actions. Shields give a +2 dice equivalent, at least. And GotIRS means you can turtle up even with dodge, without really even focussing on it at all!
If your ST is in a good mood, request a specialty of Dodge: Unblockable. That technically should be a legit choice. You don't really need it though.
- Bring A Cyst
- Get High Gossamer
There are many great charms which you can buy later with experience that will help your combat experiences. Most notably ox-body, which you won't want to get at chargen, but can definately be used later. Remember: gossamer 5 might seem insane, but no essence charms will only eat up gossamer which you won't use because you're in Creation anyway. In Creation, you should see gossamer as a big extra mutation pool as far as charms with only goss costs go.
- Flaws, or Might As Well Get Paid For It
You are a monster. You probably look like one, or at least decidedly inhuman. Get flaws. Sure, that 3 point Unusual Appearance flaw might seem like a cop out, but if everyone is going to recognize you for the inhuman alien monster you are, you might as well profit a little. Enemies Are Fun, because every noble raksha is going to have some. Known Anathema can almost directly convert to Known Raksha, and it's fun killing wyld hunters. Isn't it?
Other flaws are also good for certain types of Raksha. Disturbing, Vices, these type of things. You are a monster, you should capitulate on that. Or is that capitalize? Both work!
- Finally the Artifact Sidenotes
Now, artis can be whatever you want them to be. But choosing wisely Helps-A-Bunch. We've already gone over the fine details of what Starmetal Perfected Kata Bracers can do for you, let's look at other options.
I've been hammering on about shields for a reason. Shield Bracers (Caste Book Dawn, pg 78) are a free shield at -1 melee, -2 range and don't impact you like regular shields do. Unfortunately, there is a commit cost.
Weapons can be whatever you want them and if your ST is feeling generous you might even be able to throw gossamer bonusses as described under Gossamer-Forging Art on them. For those without GotIRS (poor things) Hooked Daiklaves of Dual Prowess from Caste Book Night are definately pretty spiffy. From the same book are Gauntlet of Distant Claws and Cloak of Vanishing Escape. From Caste Book Eclipse comes Silk Armor if your CMA doesn't allow your gossamer superheavy superlight plate bikini.
The wyld Artifact background gives you lots of artifacts (and if your mote pool is hurting, just get less than allowed) and while I can't list a ton of great artis here (though I'm willing to take suggestions) I can tell you that the thing to look for is not vanilla "these stats are nice" items. You have Gossamer-Forging Art for that. (don't you?) You lack Creation based charms. Even with TMA or even CMA you will always lack utility when compared to any Exalt. You don't get the charms, you don't get the hearthstone perks, nothing.
So, when looking for artis, look for ones that have secondary non statistical abilities that help spifify your utility powers. Look for things that emulate charms or hearthstones, and don't forget the Shield Bracers and Starmetal Perfected Kata Bracers, obviously. Those two are still the Best-Things-Since-Sliced-Bread.
Remember that if you have Gossamer-Forging Art you can forego getting an artifact weapon entirely and just craft a gossamer one instead. It might not be as good (but it'll still be goooooood) but it frees up motes of essence by not having a commit cost, and frees up more dots of arti for artis that Do-Stuff-Which-You-Cannot.
Artifacts, Adjurations, careful ess/mutation management, simple Five Dragon TMA, and the Classic Raksha in Creation Charms can all make a raksha a very effective if slightly inflexible fighter inside Creation. Because of higher dicepools and less specialization possible, un-x-able attacks are less threatening if you invested in all of two abilities. This means the ST will have to throw antagonists at you with dual un-x-ables, which is kind of cheese.
This is about all I can think of right now. Please leave comments below, after the beep.
*BEEP* aka Comments
I'm Fiat Victwink and I'm here to say this summary rocks in every way, high stats can grind but powers can bump... oh, forget it. This is an excellent resource if you're new to building raksha, and even if you aren't it's a pretty concise example of how to build the most mechanically efficient core of a character. Eventually this could use some editing for clarity, but it's already clear and readable. There's no major difference between a creation-bound social character and a creation-bound fighting character beyond artifact selection. Look back in a few days and I'll append glamour sorceror notes. -FV
Another mutation worth mentioning is the Tough mutation (see Lunars). It is quite cheap for what it gives you. -- Wordman