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The Preparatory Round

The Solars walked out into the sandy arena, looking around. Thousands of spectators, both living and dead, had arrived to witness the fight of the century, and Eater of Kindred waved gleefully to the crowd.
Overly Combative Simian grinned, looking to his compatriots. "I wonder how much experience a Deathlord is worth, anyway? Maybe I can learn that new combo."
"Idiot." Invincible Sword Princess shook her head, drawing her daiklave and taking a few practice swings. "This is Exalted, our experience system is story-based. Keep your game straight."
"Yeah, but think of all the neat toys the Lion must have. Oh, and saving the world from the tyranny of evil, etc, etc." Starry-Eyed Boy was also feeling chipper, and even Invincible Sword Princess smiled at the thought of the material rewards the Circle would reap.

Across the field, a dark door opened, and a figure clad from head to toe in black armour strode out onto the field. The cheers of the assembly died in a single breath, as everyone watch the First and Forsaken Lion stalk forwards to his beginning placement. For the first time, the heroes felt a single frisson of fear, but they quickly quelched it. Simian yelled over to the Deathlord, as he settled back into the Mantis Form. Around him, his martial artist companions performed similar katas, while Eater of Kindred and Invincible Sword Princess simply cracked their necks and limbered up. "Are you ready to fight, Lion?"
The First and Forsaken Lion's reply thundered across the field. "There are five of you. I hope that it takes more than five seconds to kill you." Simian gulped despite himself, but then his resolve hardened, and he pushed Essence to his limbs. Sword Princess began to appear more muscular, Eater burned with the light of the Sun, Boy cracked his neck in a disturbingly fluid manner, and Ninja faded from sight, moving to take up his own position.

The Lion chuckled softly as he watched his opponents. Those Solar pups had no idea of the fight they had brought down. In a single motion, ten dark iron chains, wickedly barbed at their tips, erupted from his chest and arms, coiling in the air around him. "Let us begin."

Righto. The Solars know that they're in for one hell of a fight, so they prepare accordingly.

Overly Combative Simian is going to be relying on his brawling and clinching capabilities. Ironically, his signature style, Celestial Monkey, isn't likely to be useful, aside from the Four Halo Golden Monkey Palm. Instead, he triggers Mantis Form and Increasing Strength Excercise, hopefully pushing his power up enough to compete with the Lion.
Willpower: 7/7, Personal Essence: 2/2 (20 committed), Peripheral Essence 34/34 (17 committed)

Invincible Sword Princess is looking to balance defense with offense here; if she's going to have to fall back on perfect defenses, she wants to make the Lion work to hit her. As such, she triggers Fivefold Bulwark Stance and Increasing Strength Excercise.
Willpower: 6/7, Personal Essence: 2/2 (20 committed), Peripheral Essence 29/29 (22 committed)

Starry-Eyed Boy has made some advance preparations. His spell-storing cord holds one buffer (Incomparable Body Arsenal) and two powerful attack spells (Gaia's Rebuke), which he has long since recovered the Essence and Willpower from. Now, he triggers Four Magical Materials form and Blade of the Battle Maiden. This eats a LOT of Essence and Willpower, but he's super-buffed.
Willpower: 7/9, Personal Essence: 0/0 (24 committed), Peripheral Essence: 35/35 (20 committed)

Ninja Man is working on the assumption that if you can't hit him, you can't hurt him. He triggers Ebon Shadow Form and Shrouding the Body and Mind, ensuring that even if the Lion can FIND him, he'll be at +7 difficulty to hit. Added to the shield bracers and the belt of shadow-walking, it seems pretty useful.
Willpower: 8/8, Personal Essence: 13/13 (10 committed), Peripheral Essence: 36/36 (18 committed)

Eater of Kindred has also made preparations; he's committed 10 essence to Principle of Motion in order to unleash true devastation right from turn one. To help out, he's also brought up his Flow Like Blood, and boosted it with Terrifying Apparition of Glory.
Willpower: 6/8, Personal Essence: 8/8 (15 committed), Peripheral Essence: 38 (16 committed)

On the other side, the Lion only has two turns of his own, but he's taking full advantage of them. First, he triggers the Abyssal equivalent of Adamantine Fists of Battle, giving him +20L on all unarmed attacks. Then, he pulls out Writhing Blood Chain method, giving him ten powerful unarmed attacks each turn. He doesn't bother with persistants.
In addition, he has already used Protection of Celestial Bliss (or rather, its Abyssal equivalent) to pull up ten perfect defenses months ago. Never got around to using them, so they've just been sitting there. They'll get good use today. Willpower: 9/10, Personal 65/65 (17 committed), Peripheral 187/187 (31 committed)


Just as a thought, how cheap is the FnFL allowed to be?
Becuase if he wanted to be really cheap, he could do something like activate CMoS form on the first turn, then the next turn activate say, the abyssal Flows Like Blood, Heart Stoping Mein and Nest of Living Strands. Then the poor solars are probably at about -13 dice to their attacks and -3 to their defences... and that penalty would only get worse. The he could next turn put up , say the Monkey persistant parry and five dragon blocking, saving the other charm for perfects. Then next turn just cut in with the melee combos of doom - Kraken

Oh, wow. *needs to brush up on his Sidereal Martial Arts, I think*. I forgot that CMoS form could be used for non-MA stuff. Yeah, that's perfectly legal, and well within the range of Lionesque stuff. Revised Prep Round coming soon!

Although I wont dispute that the lion can use CMoS, I wonder how keen sidereal were on teachin it to solars in the First Age, since int has a close conection to the pattern spiders.....also remember that he is unlikly to have anything developed in creation post usurpation due to verry limited contacts.

Technically, that is very true. However, he is theoretically capable of having it, so it's standing in for whatever custom fully-independant-action Charms he might actually have. I have no problems with doing that. - FrivYeti

I would have thought that starry-eyed boy would have as CMoS as well at least up to the form as it DOES share a style weapon with VBoS and compliments it quite well... - haku

*nods* Yeah, I considered it, but it was 60 experience that I didn't have for him, without badly reducing his soak options for if a big hit bypassed Seven Shadow Evasion. I ultimately decided to go with PaoC for the massive stat boosts. - FrivYeti
Not really, if he was anything at all smart... he would have the PG's version of claw of the wood dragon (20 points shuffled up about per turn reflexively? up to occult + essence per rating? sign me up). I'm also surprised none of the solar's decided to -cheat-, using respect commanding attitude to talk to Lion and force him to do NOTHING while his team-mates powerup even more or pack a gem of incomparable wellness to come back from being -killed- or at least have sun's flaming tongue attack (zenith castebook) for a -perfect- attack that does aggravated damage (on lion and dead things) and is unsoakable (goes straight to damage levels). - Haku
I think if the solars can do that (Respect Commanding Attitude), so can the FnFl. And he's more likely to win initiative on the first round, and you can talk while powering up, so ...
The Gem of Incomparrable Wellness does offer certain advantages to the solars, but since they were generally in the situation of dieing when they were out of essence for perfects, and since death would break any scenelongs, all a critically injured solar is going to do is soak up an attack, then die again. And though they technically won't die, I don't know if I want to be a solar who cannot die in the Lion's custody...
Sun's Flaming Tongue Attack is probably too expensive, costing as it does 12 more motes than HGD, and considerably more than the perfects granted by the Lion's Perfection of Celestial Bliss-like charm. - Kraken
Sun's Flaming Tongue is -perfect- for Ninjaboy... why? Think about it, perfects require that you be aware of the attack. And if he's all stealthed up, and goes... zoink, roasty Lion as he can't defend against something he doesn't KNOW is coming, and to stop it, he'll need to pull out a combo, which in turn prevents him from using charms in that turn outside of that combo (remember, combos take a full action - ergo, no charms or actions, but I could be wrong).

Also, they're not -dead- if packing gem of wellness, for the simple reason that they can recover from the damage done to them. And RCA does NOT rely on initative, it's not an attack... -start- talking in the second round, and -KEEP- talking, don't attack... just get into position and power-up. I don't believe it's covered what happens when you disrupt the charm like that... but you'll have the jump on the Lion.

I'm not sure if the Lion can legitimately use sidereal Martial Arts (as per Player's Guide) due to the restrictions on who can learn and USE sidereal martial arts (noted as both solars and sidereals only, no spirits/ghosts/demons). I'll need to go look at my Autobot book and PG when I get home.
I strongly suspect the Lion has access to Ominous Portent Method, which means that ninjaboy can't get the drop on him with ninja stealth, and since he has hanging perfects from Protection of Celestial Bliss like charm, he wouldn't have to use a charm to defend either. And even if he did have to use a charm to defend, I suspect that he has combos available to him that let him perfectly defend against suprise attacks and unleash hell on his opponents.
Ah, it's true that they don't die (I'd forgotten the exact wording of the stone), so they still have their persistants and whatnot up, but they still wake up at -4 wound penalties and are just begging for a hit again, which sends them back to unconciousness with little effort for the Lion. As to RCA, it seems just as legitimate to me that the Lion can do it to them, droning on about the lastest plans for his immense army, and so it would be something of a null tactic. In addition, I'm not really sure activating scenelongs counts as heckling on the Lion's part nor would it really interupt his concentration, so I think he can power up too.
The SMA issue, I'm actually unsure on, but since the Lion is using otherwise solar level charms it seems reasonable that he can use SMA. Since the contest is denying him the whole spectrum of solar charms from essence 3 upwards (pretty much anyway) then letting him use a few SMA styles is not that big a deal I don't think. - Kraken
I would rule that, once a fight actually STARTS, you can't just use RCA to stop it. Otherwise, you get into a whole WORLD of bad, rules-wise, that an Essence 1 Charm shouldn't be able to touch. I would also say that the Deathlords, being able to use Solar and Abyssal-level Charms, could use SMA. Deathlords are special that way. - FrivYeti
I've just gone over the character stats of the Lion in the Autobot book and he's definately NOT listed as having sidereal martial arts or celestial martial arts, and it's stated straight out in the Player's Guide ghosts of all kinds simply can't get celestial MA without being an abyssal and only up to the form charm and never sidereal MA, and when you get down to it... the Lion is a pumped up ghost, but in the end still a ghost. He may know and teach SMA, but using it is a out of the question.

Also, it's not very fair that the lion gets Celestial Bliss or its equiviliant and having it hanging around, that the solars wouldn't also have some sort of persistent effects in place already... say... skin of bronze or principal of motion up and running already. Either the lion doesn't have those benefits or the solars also have POM, ISOB or such up and running...

As for RCA, I wasn't saying once the fight starts... but rather... -before- the fight starts... extending the grace period for the solars and such to power up their effects. ~ Haku
Alright... first off, the Lion is NOT, by ANY stretch of the imagination, just still a ghost. Ghosts can't learn Necromancy past Shadowlands Circle, or Sorcery at all. Ghosts can't construct Artifacts past level 3. Ghosts can't learn Abyssal or Solar Charms (even the ghosts of Solars, it's worth mentioning). Saying that he couldn't have Celestial or Sidereal Martial Arts because they aren't specifically mentioned... well, I consider them to both fall under 'Abyssal or Solar Charms of equivalent power'. Matter of interpretation, I suppose. As far as things hanging around... the Solars DO have some effects up. I specifically stated in the Challenge that any effects that do not have a time duration are already up. Eater of Kindred has committed Essence to Principle of Motion, and the spell-storing cords are fully loaded. ISOB falls under the 'one day' duration effect (as would Abyssal Aegis if the Lion wanted it up, and he would), and is therefore not allowed. Believe me, this benefits the Solars more than the Lion. RCA would violate the 'two turns of powerup only' terms of the duel, and cause the Solar who used it to take five horror-botches. - FrivYeti