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Solars Vs. Lion: Five Twinked-Out Solars VS The First And Forsaken Lion

The Explanation

During a forum conversation, an argument developed as to whether or not the First and Forsaken Lion could actually hold his own against five combat-focused Solars. Side A argued that the Lion could pound them, Side B said that he would run out of Willpower and get Perfect Attack'd to death.

Everyone knows that there is only one way to solve such a challenge - extensive laboratory testing!

Unfortunately, I don't have a lab, or a large enough Solar or Deathlord focus group. So you'll have to make do with this page.

The Challengers

Our intrepid heroes are a Perfect Circle of twinked-out monstrosities. Each of them has 500 XP, and ten dots of combined artifacts and hearthstones, at least one of which must be 4-dot or higher. Each of them is a physically-focused character with mostly combat-related Favoured Abilities, and most of them would make a skilled Storyteller cry. Many of them use improbably Martial Arts combinations with other combat abilities.

FrivYeti/OverlyCombativeSimian: The Circle's Dawn Caste, Overly Combative Simian is a Brawl and Martial Arts user who has righteously abused Celestial Monkey style, Mantis style, and Brawl Charms.
FrivYeti/InvincibleSwordPrincess: The Zenith Caste of the ground, Invincible Sword Princess is a veteran warrior, using her defensive talents to the EXTREME!
FrivYeti/StarryEyedBoy: The Starry-Eyed Boy, a Twilight Caste, uses combat magic and has learned the secrets of the Prismatic Arrangement of Creation, making one wonder exactly how a sorcerer/martial artist wasn't born a Sidereal.
FrivYeti/NinjaMan: Ninja Man, the Thrown master and shadowy Night Caste member of the group, is of the opinion that if they can't find you, they can't hurt you. To this end, he practices Air Dragon martial arts.
FrivYeti/EaterOfKindred: Eater of Kindred is a deadly Eclipse caste who maneuvers his ability to learn the Charms of others into victory. Also, he uses mostly Archery, with perfect attacks.

The Defender

Up against the Solars, however, is the titan of combat, the monster of mayhem, the First and Forsaken Lion! Armed with unique artifacts, deadly hearthstones, and thousands of years' experience, can even this group take him down? Hopefully, you know the Lion's stats from Exalted: The Autochthonians. If not, well, they're good. For the sake of this battle, no customized Charms are being used; however, it is assumed that the Lion has access to all Abyssal Charms, all ghost Charms, and has Abyssal equivalents of pretty much all the Solar Charms listed to date, too, as well as any comboes that he might need in the fight. He uses Brawl and Melee primarily, so be ready for some nasty tricks. The Lion's artifacts for this fight are: Varan's Ruin, Armor of the First and Forsaken Lion, Soulsteel Hearthstone Bracers, Soulsteel Hearthstone amulet, and a soulsteel Collar of Dawn's Cleansing Light (S&S version) just cause.
The Lion's hearthstones for this fight are: Gemstone of Perfect Mobility, Gemstone of the Revolutionary Dog, and Freedom Stone. He could have more, but he's being nice(ish).

Battle 1: Direct Challenge

In this fight, the Solars have challenged the Lion to a duel to the death, and, amused, he has accepted. The six are meeting on neutral ground in a shadowland to duke it out.

The Set-Up

In order to make this challenge as fair as possible, the following conditions are assumed:
1) This is a 5 on 1 fight. The Lion does not have access to his legions, minions, allies, or masters. The Solars do not have access to theirs. Obviously, this favours the Solars, but ehn, they can use an edge.
2) All combatants are fresh. Everyone has all their Essence and Willpower (less committed) going in, as well as any normally prepared Charms and effects. Emphasis on normally. Things like an Abyssal Aegis or Invunerable Skin of Bronze aren't up to start with.
3) Both sides have a few seconds of dialogue before the fight starts, as everyone wants to power up their Charms. In game terms, it's two turns of warm-up.
4) The area they want to fight in is fairly large, but all the Solars start within 50 yards of each other and of the Lion.

FrivYeti/SolarsVsLionChallengePrep - Everything gets set up...
FrivYeti/SolarsVsLionChallenge1 - The fight begins!
FrivYeti/SolarsVsLionChallenge2 - Better late than never...
FrivYeti/SolarsVsLionChallenge3 - Game Over.


Things went poorly on the first runthrough of the Challenge, and it had to be restarted; the flavour text begins similarly, but should diverge pretty rapidly. Regardless, if you're curious about what almost happened...

FrivYeti/SvLChallengePrep - The combatants prepare their Charms for the big fight...
FrivYeti/SvLRoundOne - Things get started!
FrivYeti/SvLRoundTwo - Rune of Singular Hatred'd!


Does Lion have access to Solar Circle Sorcery? Does either side have access to warstriders? - TonyC

As per page 285 of E:Auto, he does not have access to Solar Circle Sorcery. And in combat situations, especially 5 on 1, he is going to be hard pressed to get anything other than Emerald Circle off. And it would be a shame if he had that Countermagic hearthstone to get ride of the easy and usually very usefull Emerald Circle spells or similiar effect through some artifact. - Savare

No Warstrider in the first scenario. The Lion is fighting mano a cinqua mano. Which Hearthstone would that be? I don't recall it offhand... - FrivYeti
The Gem of Emerald And Saphire Counter Magic [Exalted: Core - Page 339], The character is under the effects of Saphire Counter Magic. It is a very power tipping hearthstone. In my games I have disallowed that gem and Incomperable Wellness. - Savare

The thing is, I took a cursory look at the characters and I don't consider them twinked out. The approaches are also too direct. For example, why doesn't Starry Eyed Boy start by casting a Solar Sorcery spell right away and have the rest of his circle protect him? Why in the world does Overly Combative Simian lacks an essence regeneration method? How come no one tried the snuff the other side's charm use? Why in the world does Starry Eyed Boy not have Soul Shaper Form on? Why does neither side open by throwing the highest countermagic they have against the other side? Sure we know that nobody has ongoing spells at the start of the battle, but how do the characters know? Because they agreed to it prior to battle? Well, do both side trust each other that much? Whatever happened to the standard twinkery of Essence Gathering Temper + Willpower Enhancing Spirit + 5 Dragon Blocking Technique + Death Parrying Stroke combo? And while I consider this cheating, why aren't the Solars using Protocols? - TonyC

To answer your questions in order: The Lion has perfect defenses, there's no sense launching Solar Circle Sorcery at him unless they're taken down. At that point, there are two Solars with spells that they can unleash as standard actions. Overly Combative Simian doesn't have Essence Replenishing Technique because he's lightly armoured; if he gets hit, he is horribly mauled anyway. Soul Fire Shaper Form is one approach to take for Sidereal Martial Arts; however, it doesn't actually benefit you strongly until you get more Charms, and I went with a different approach for Starry-Eyed Boy. Either is, I think, equally valid. Why would either side throw countermagic? It's expensive, and neither side has sorcery up. Both sides know because that is one of the terms of the duel. If you'd like, you can assume that Eater of Kindred sealed the duel's rules for everyone involved, and anyone who breaks them suffers five horrific botches and dies. That Combo isn't as hot as it sounds (actually, it's better without Willpower Enhancing Spirit) and still relies on the assumption that if the Lion hits you, he'll do 5 or less health levels of damage (when, realistically, it's a lot more for most characters). And I didn't think Solars could use Protocols. Isn't that Alchemicals-only?

Also, if you'd like to run your own Solars vs. Lions using modifications of my own twinks, go for it! I'd be curious to see what other Solar horrors people think will work better; I've already made some changes to my own based on suggestions. - FrivYeti

After looking at what books I have or have easy access to, alright, I'll take the challenge on. However, there are books I don't have access to. Autochton, Bone & Ebony, Savant & Sorcerer, so I will have to ask for help. FrivYeti, you see to have the hang on First And Forsaken Lion. If I make the Solars, will you run the Lion's action? - TonyC
Hmm... yeah, I can do that. :) Count me in. - FrivYeti

Hey Friv, very cool stuff. Just had a couple suggestions that struck me as somebody who played a Zenith in a 3 year campaign. Invincible Sword Princess seems a bit offensively oriented for her concept of "Can't Touch Her" especially given that at 5 motes, the Zenith caste anima power is the cheapest unblockable attack available to a player character (I think). Now, I don't have Autochthonians, so I might be missing something here, in which case, I'd be completely wrong... However, 5 reliable dice of unsoakable aggravated per round for 5 motes seems a fairly sweet offensive tactic for the immovable object. To my mind, a better tactic for her would be something along the lines of activating Flow Like Blood in Round 1. This gives her... 29? dice of persistent defense on top of a difficulty of 3. Moreover, it costs her much less than her combos of doom, allowing her to smite Lion every round for a long time while stunting defensively, forcing him to use up more of his precious perfects or lose an average of 7 HL/2 turns. Additionally, since this tactic isn't a spell or charm, it's not vulnerable to stuff like Sidereal MA BS. Of course, this is only using the combat charms you listed on her sheet... Other useful Zenith Fu might include Terrifying Apparition of Glory, which would up the difficulty to hit her to 8. From the "possibly munchkin BS" department, Corona of Radiance, in addition to making the difficulty to hit her 9, reads that while it's active, "The Exalted's attacks against such creatures do aggravated damage and have a damage bonus equal to the character's Essence," without limiting the bonus to a specific type of attack. Personally, I'd rule that the general theme of the tree is at least associated with ranged attacks of a purely supernatural nature (Sandstorm-Wind Attack, Blazing Solar Bolt) and as such, the damage bonus would apply to attacks made with the Zenith anima power(doubling its effectiveness), but I don't know if that's reading the charm text too strictly. - Tardach

It is a good idea; unfortunately, Abyssals and Deathlords can reflexively spend 5 motes to roll their Essence in resistance against the Essence of the attacker. 10 dice vs. 5 dice means, as a rule, absolutely no damage, and the Lion has more Essence to spend. What happens in Round One will probably depend on circumstances; the game's not going to work quite the same this time around, I expect. Terrifying Apparation of Glory was definately something I thought of for her; I ended up deciding she had too many simple scene-lengths as it was. - FrivYeti

This may have already come up, but can FaFL use either CMoS or PAoC while wearing armor? I don't have my siddie book on hand so I can't check. If he can't, then that opens up the door for a couple solar circle persistant effects that may help swing things in our hero's favor. The two spells I'm thinking of are both in the BoTC (not sure if they got ported over to S&S), I'm not sure what either is called but I can vaguely describe their effects (in the hopes that someone will recoginze what I'm talking about): The first turns the caster into a Pillar of Fiery Solar Rage. Undead, ghosts, even deathknights I think, suffer a neat little pile of bad effects (minuses to dice pools, or minuses to hit maybe, also I think they take damage if they get to close to the solar) plus the solar can hurl bolts of solar essence which do agg and have a decent base damage. The other spell is the one where a cirle of solars can mush up voltron style into one great honkin solar of smiting. If I can find some spells names before someone else does, I'll post em. - Ambisinister

Yes and no. The Lion can use both forms while wearing HIS armour, because it counts as natural soak for him for all purposes. - FrivYeti
Wouldn't help anyway. The Lion has a permament counter to all specifically-undead effects built into his armor. It's mentioned in BoB&E. - Hapushet
Crap, is it? That's one of the three Exalted books I don't own. Ah, well, such is life. Good to know. - FrivYeti
Clarification: the armor contains a permanent version of the Void Circle spell Abyssal Aegis built into it, though it does not appear to include the soak bonus. (Book of Bone and Ebony, page 85) In case you need to reference the specifics of his protection, I mean. It's worth pointing out to TonyC, too, before he get's too far into his plans - he might want to reconsider the Righteous Devil plan once he discovers the nasty anti-undead stuff doesn't work... - Hapushet
I considered Righteous Devil because that style has a perfect attack and can cause enviromental damage. Still, Hapushet, since I don't have Bone and Ebony, is there anything else I should know about Abyssal Aegis? Also, in the same book there's a mention of a Celestial Circle spell that basically destroys shadowlands instantly. What is it called and what are the mechanical stats. Ummm, you might want to reply on my page rather than cluttering this page more. - TonyC

Alright, got another question on the Lion's tactics: You have him activating and making use of CMoS form throughout the fight. Now I may be hazy on how form mechanics work, but doesn't the form drop if the character makes attacks with a non-form weapon? Or at the very least doesn't the form stop benefiting attacks made with a non-form weapon? If this in fact the case, then he couldn't be making attacks with Varan's Ruin and still benefit from CMoS form (If I recall correctly, only knives and staves are in style for CMoS). -Ambisinister

You're correct about the CMoS weapons and the Form-weapon rule from the Players Guide. I was wondering about that, myself, in fact... - David.
Yeah, funny thing about that... there's no actual rule that states that a Form Charm drops if you're not fighting unarmed. I looked for it a while back, and was rather surprised. Charcoal March of Spiders only makes knives and seven-section staves unarmed attacks; there's nothing that requires all attacks made with the style to be unarmed. There are numerous CMoS Charms that the Lion can't use with Melee, but the Form Charm isn't one of them. Bizarre, but that's the way it's written. - FrivYeti
According to page 200 of the Players Guide, "a character cannot be under the effects of a Form-type Charm when not unarmed or fighting with an in-form weapon". That could mean either that the Form Charm ends or that its effects are suspended, but either way, the Lion would not be able to benefit from CMoS Form while fighting with Varan's Ruin, unless that weapon has some specific exclusion from this rule. - David.
... goddamn Player's Guide, always mucking up my fun. I was studying the MA section, not the Charm changes section. I'm not doing the challenge again, the first two times were too much work. The Lion could create a similar effect by sticking Unfurling Ebon Lotus into his Combo and hitting ten times instead of twelve. He'd drop an extra 30 motes a round, mind you, leaving him closer to tapped out at the end of the fight, and would probably choose to regain Essence instead of Willpower most rounds. - FrivYeti
What about PAoC + CMoS + VBoS? Wouldn't Varan's Ruin count as in-form then? Takes a while, I grant - as in all of the warm-up, plus one of his three fulls on the first turn - but Varan's Ruin with three fulls is angry angry angry, as we've seen... - Kurulham

Is there any particular reason most of the Solars have shunned Essence Gathering Temper and Willpower Enhancing Spirit? I may be missing something, but with his Stamina and Essence, Simian might have been able to defend against 2 or 3 more attacks before droping. I'm even more curiouse as to why the Sword Princess doesn't bother putting them into her combos. Really, if you are going to bother with 5x Ox Body, why wouldn't you bother with these two charms? - GryMor

It might also be worthwhile to point out that at 500xp, having only 10 points worth of artifacts and hearthstones is hardly twinked. I'm running a PC in a game who started out with 10 or 11 points of them... -szilard

Has anybody ever considered doing the same thing with Sidereals? That would be interesting to me, since Sidereals have considerably different capabilities. -notsoangrydave

It'd be a massacre. Of course, the Deathlord would probably end up inside fate for a fair amount of time, and the Gods might even act on such a chance. Maybe. -- Dave

The "set-up" section is missing an important restriction that was used during the fight. I thought it was mentioned, but I don't see it here (maybe I'm remembering the first fight). Only officially published charms could be used during the fight. This is significant, because it limits one of the Lion's key advantages: his high essence. His essence is 10, but there are few published charms requiring an essence above 6 and I don't think any that require more than 7. - Wordman

The restriction was actually listed under the 'defender' section, which was probably a silly place to put it. It is a bit of an issue, though - the Lion does have a few listed suggested powers, which could be considered a rough guideline as to his power for created stuff. - FrivYeti

Im new to the Exalted and wondering what the details on the poison tree Ninja Man uses thank you - LostMemories