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Official Charm

My revision is so basic that I don't bother to describe the original version.

Clebo's version I

I don't like the fact that some MA trees can get the precious soak lethal with bashing soak without willpower cost. Thus, I've removed the WP cost for the charm.

MetalFatigue's version

Keep the cost the same, but make it compatible with armor. However, it only affects natural soak, not armor soak.

SilverMeerKat's version

Combine both of the above. New version costs 4 motes, affects only natural soak, and stacks with armor.

Clebo's version II

Since no-one wants to discuss the general matter, I'll bring my other suggestions here. I have a problem with the entire Resistance tree structure. There are two branches, one reflexive, temporal soak improver (tempo soak), and one scene-long soak improver (scene soak). The ultimate charm adamant skin is a tempo soak, but it's placed in the scene soak branch. Not natural, and the tempo soak is probably not learnt by many solars because of this, and poor efficiency compared to scene soak. Thus, I suggest a major overhaul. Begin with Iron Skin (3 motes, no WP cost), branch Durability after iron skin, followed by spirit. Furthermore, remove iron kettle, and let adamant skin follow turtle.

Clebo's version III

One problem with version II is that tempo soak's major advantage is that it works against surprise attacks. One way of solving this is to make iron skin permanent. Then, a solar can very effectively increase tempo soak with turtle.

Vote Tally

Official Version

  1. Morpheus
  2. Braydz

Clebo's Version I

  1. Clebo
  2. Domon
  3. Lipperman

MetalFatigue's Version

  1. MetalFatigue

SilverMeerKat's Version

  1. SilverMeerKat
  2. BrokenShade

Clebo's version II

Clebo's version III


Yes, I haven't thought too much about the essence cost. However, I'm a staunch believer in the notion that a solar tree that does only one thing, such as resistance soak adding, should be distinctly better at said one thing, than a celestial MA tree that does a whole lot of other things. Therefore, the Resistance tree should be very tempting to learn. In my games, the notion of cost has not been a problem, since only one character has resistance at all. Clebo

With this Charm as written, almost the entire Resistance Charm tree is useless to an armored combatant facing lethal damage (and really, how often does bashing damage come up?). My revision (actually suggested by one of my players, whose character is a Brawl/Resistance specialist) removes that problem without making it too easy to ultra-soak without armor. --MetalFatigue

Do you mean that if you have armor on, then you use the higher of the 2 soak values? - Morpheus

As I interpret it, MetalFatigue's version a) is compatible with armor and b) replaces your natural lethal soak with your natural bashing soak. (Yes, this is what I mean--MF) Thus, with 4 Stamina and a breastplate, this charm would give you 8 lethal soak. I'm all for it. - SilverMeerKat

I think the improvement of MetalFatigue's version is limited. I seriously doubt that many players would happily pay 3 motes and a WP for the conversion of 1-3 bashing to lethal, regardless whether they are wearing armour or not. The points of effect are only half of stamina, which is not very much in general. However, the particular tree is useless for armoured character, but that's what Endurance charms are for. The tree in Resistance is only concerned with unarmoured soak increasing, and I like to keep it like that. -Clebo

Note that most of the other Resistance Charms increase your natural bashing soak only. ISC is the only thing that lets you use them to soak lethal. That's the rationale for my mod. Also, Endurance Charms facilitate wearing armor; they don't add soak. I see no dramatic reason why a character whose schtick is "human tank" shouldn't be ultra-tough and wear armor. --MF

I'm gonna interpret the incompatiblity with armor to mean that you can wear armor when you turn it on, but the extra lethal soak you get doesn't come into play unless it makes your lethal soak greater than what your armor makes your lethal soak, in which case you use it. So, it's just the higher of the two. I really think that there needs to be soak charms that add to armor's soak, and good ones, but I don't think this needs to be one of them, personally. That could very well be what MetalFatigue is saying. If so, I agree. - Morpheus

For the benefit of Morpheus and anyone else who's confused, here's an example of how my version would work. A Stamina 5 Solar (base natural soak 5B/2L) with Durability of Oak Meditation and Iron Skin Concentration wears a breastplate (armor soak 2B/4L/4A) and a (fully-attuned) jade Collar of Dawn's Cleansing Light (+2B/+1L natural soak). Before using Charms, his soak is 9B/7L/4A, of which 7B/3L is natural and the rest is armor. He invokes DoOM a couple of times to get +6B natural soak; his total is now 15B/7L/4A (13B/3L natural). He then invokes ISC, which raises his natural lethal soak to be no less than his natural bashing soak. His final soak is 15B/17L/4A (13B/13L natural). Clear? --MetalFatigue

I like your version Metal, but I think it is better as a new Endurance charm, that adds soak on the armour. I see things, perhaps oversimplified, that either you fight with armour, or without. This choice should be made from stylish reasons, not mechanic. Now, the purpose of the change in my version from the original, which by the way have been changed officially once already, is that published MA forms are more cost effective soak enhancers than Solar resistance. For instance, soaking lethal with bashing can be activated without a WP cost in Snake Style. This I see as a major problem, because it shafts brawlers without armour. Your version is great for those who feel that their armours are too limited and insufficient, or perhaps those afraid of armour piercing stuff. However, if someone wants to play without armour, then your version improves nothing at all, and consequently do not solve the initial problem that I had with it. The mechanic message your version gives to players with PCs that knows resistance is that they should get an armour to protect themselves better, unless they wish to learn MA. Clebo

Clebo, you've swayed me. Honestly, though, I think you're both right. I can't come up with a viable reason that ISC couldn't be used with armor and just not affect the armor's soak, and I don't really think it's powerful enough to warrant the WP cost. So I've posted my own version. - SilverMeerKat

I agree that resistance should surpass MA for soaking lethal, but I'm really reluctant to give a character that much soak without armor without spending willpower. Style is important, but I think that spending a willpower for up to 15 lethal soak isn't too bad. Maybe it's the MA that needs a look. - Morpheus

I really just don't see why it should cost a willpower. I mean, compare it to something else that costs willpower - say, Heavenly Guardian Defense or Wyld-Shaping Method, or maybe Glorious Solar Saber. As I see it, you spend willpower 1) when you create something purely out of essence that has to last more than a few seconds and 2) when you do something hideously powerful, like W-SM or HGD. Since Solars don't have oversoak, they're always going to be taking ping damage no matter what their soak is (Lunars shouldn't have to pay willpower for soak because they're Lunars and that's what they do, except for the REALLY horrible ones that don't count toward oversoak). I think something like Adamant Skin should definitively cost willpower, but it's really unfair to soak-oriented characters to say that while dodge and parry are always useful, soakers should just keep back when fighting extras, or have some other sort of defensive schtick to avoid spending willpower in every single fight they ever get into. - SilverMeerKat

I think that Iron Skin should cost Willpower partly because you can get so much from it and it's reflexive, but mostly because it makes your bashing soak soak lethal, which doesn't just add soak, it makes it easier to get more soak. - Morpheus

My basic complaint with the willpower cost is that, while parrying and dodging are always valid general strategies in any fight, if soaking costs willpower it's suddenly not useful in minor confrontations that the character can't waste precious willpower on, while dodging and parrying are still fully functional. I see soaking as a valid defensive option, on par with parrying and dodging. If you make it cost willpower, you significantly reduce its usefulness. - SilverMeerKat

Well, Grabowski has commented (in the errata, among other places) that soak is meant to be less effective than parry or dodge. Clebo has a point about the style issue; I'll have to run that by my soakmonster player and see what he thinks. SMK, re: the plink dice issue, I'm considering solving that with a house Charm (Resistance 5/Essence 4 or thereabouts) that permanently subtracts one die from all damage rolls; it's powerful, true, but no more so than starmetal armor. --MF

Regarding the style issue, I think it depends on how the GM wants to think of armor; is it purely a stylistic affectation, or is it a tradeoff between agility and toughness? Either could be valid, but they call for different mechanics. If armor is stylistic, then charms which negate its penalties should be cheap and easy, as should charms which grant 10-15 extra soak while being incompatible with physical armor. If armor is a tradeoff, then negating its penalties should be harder, as should granting extra soak. I believe that the rules erred by only doing half of this; an unarmored MA can get a high soak easily, but an unarmored brawler cannot, and an armored brawler pays a substantial price (8 XP spent + 5 Essence committed) for negating each level of armor penalty. The way to rebalance, IMHO, is either to improve the efficiency of both ISC and ASI, /or/ to reduce the efficiency of MA charms which grant soak. The former makes armor more stylistic, while the latter makes it more of a tradeoff. Personally, I prefer the latter, as it also reduces the potentially unbalancing effect of someone taking both MA and Resistance soak boosters. Imagine someone with Snake Form, Essence Fangs&Scales, Durability of Oak, Spirit Strengthens the Skin, *and* Orichalcum Sheathing Stance. --Toram (the aforementioned soakmonster).

See, the thing is, I can't see any real reason ISC can't be compatable with armor except game balance. If it didn't have an extended duration I'd totally lose the 1 WP in its cost, but it does. So... yeah.\\ 'Til I or someone else comes up with something better, I gotta go official.\\ ~*~Braydz~*~

BTW, many people are complaining about how cheap the soak-enhancing Charms from Snake Style MA are. Well, I figure the reason why Snake Style Martial Artists get cheap soak-enhancers is that the rest of the Snake Style Charms are pretty much pants. It's the weakest of the Celestial-level MA trees. Cheap soak is one of the few things it does well. Orichalcum Sheathing Stance, on the other hand, is pretty monstrous, I agree--except that it only lasts five turns, and although it's Reflexive, can't be comboed. If you don't have Flow Like Blood up, 20% of your combat rounds are wasted on full dodges while you reinvoke OSS; if you do have FLB active, you still can't make an effective attack on 20% of your rounds (gotta figure that anything that does so much damage that OSS is necessary to defend against it is going to be hard to hurt without Charms as well). OSS is only really useful in conjunction with something like BotBM, and Sidereal Martial Artists are supposed to kick ass. That's been written into the setting from the beginning. --MF

I'm really agree with SilverMeerKat that unarmored soakers have an unfortunate willpower expenditure to deal with. I would've structured the tree differently, allowing unarmored soakers to have some level of lethal defense without a Willpower, but there are disadvantages to wearing armor which are difficult to quantify, like showing armor, fatigue, mobility, and commitment. I think that the idea behind the tree is to allow unarmored characters to be able to brawl with no problems at all, but to force them to try to balance armor's problems with a willpower expenditure in a deadly fight. I don't think it's too bad, myself. I also think that weapons and armor should be balanced as slightly superior if not as versatile as unarmed or unarmored in combat when it comes down to pure strength because they are tools to that effect. As far as charm balance is concerned, though, one might try allowing Spirit Strengthens the Skin to soak lethal, removing the necessity of a Willpower point for reasonable soak levels, but only if the unarmored character is willing to commit himself a bit to the tree. - Morpheus

My initial problem is that a Solar may think too much about what is best. If I want soak, which is critical to the game, then I shouldn't think that maybe snake or water is better (i.e., cost effective) than resistance. It should be no contest at all. As of now, I suspect that a soak monster is better off by buying four snake charms, and one resistance, than five resistance charms. At least in a pound for pound measure. Furthermore, snake isn't that weak. Now, compare dodge and MA. Some MA trees are based on dodging (Air, Fire), but Solar dodge wipes the floor with them. I want the same case with soak defense. The consequence of the present system is that we have too many MAists around creation among the players. I want players to choose MA because of its other appeal (which by the sun is plentiful). We don't need more nudging towards MA in Exalted. - Clebo

Another argument. Assume that a solar knows all the charms in the core book. Now, she needs to power up soak. Will she ever use Iron Skin? Players tend to think in the long run with their precious XP. Snake has candy down the tree, whereas resistance does not. So, even if it costs two extra charms to get essence scales, it's probably worth it. Willpower is limited at 10. XP is not limited at 16/20. - Clebo

Morpheus: You are correct that MA is the villain here, but in the name of serious simplicity, it's so much easier to improve two charm costs slightly, than overhaul several entire trees. Also, soak should probably be less efficient than dodging and blocking, but that's cleverly solved with the ping damage. I wouldn't remove that.- Clebo

Another problem with the Silvermeerkat's version is that a character who mainly wishes to protect herself without armour suddenly becomes good at working in armour. It does not follow naturally from the first charm. - Clebo

Hey Clebo -- just a note: to get the little = headers to work, you need a space between the last letters and the =.\\ ~ Shataina

Thanks, I just noticed the problem, but you fixed it before me. Sorry, I was in a hurry for a meeting. - Clebo

Ok, great commentary here. ^_^ The willpower cost needs to go (as Clebo said), and I'm happier with it stacking with armour. This is Solar Resistance (not Martial Arts) so I don't see the need for a limit on armour. -- BrokenShade