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Round Two

The Lion spun, ready to eviscerate the foolish Solars who thought they could challenge him. He was moving too quickly, his sword beginning to become a blur as dark energies surrounded him, and he smiled grimly at the thought of the devastation to come. But then he frowned, for Starry-Eyed Boy was opening his mouth, and the word that he had begun to speak filled the Lion with sudden dread.

Well, it's initiative time again. This time, only the Lion is buying an auto-go-first Charm, which puts him squarely in the lead. He's triggered another combo, Oblivion Knows Its Master. This one includes only defensive reflexives, along with all three of the earlier supplemental Melee charms and Unfurling Ebon Lotus. The Lion plans to make lots of unblockable attacks to punch through Boy and Princess. He's in for a surprise, though, because Starry-Eyed Boy has a plan of his own, and it's called the Rune of Singular Hatred.
Initiative Order: First And Forsaken Lion Wins, Ninja Man 28, Invincible Sword Princess 25, Eater of Kindred 19, Starry-Eyed Boy 18

Starry-Eyed Boy began to speak a syllable, a single word so horrible that it could flay even the soul of a Deathlord. Sound curled around him as the power of the Essence gathered behind him. The Lion spun to face him, the iron chains curling backwards like a cape in the wind in the face of the sorcery. Curling his hands around, he slammed his fist into Varan's Ruin, creating a wall of wailing sound in the instant that Boy spoke. "I will not be humbled by these cubs!", the Lion thought viciously to himself. Again the Boy spoke, and again the Lion slammed his fists together, forcing his frustration and humiliation into an almost-physical force that shattered the spell before it could finish forming.

Rune of Singular Hatred can be spoken reflexively, and Boy knows that it's now or never, so he casts the thing. Normally, that would be that, and a lot of die rolling would ensue. However, the Lion knows LOTS of Charms. And as it happens, Spell-Shattering Palm is a reflexive defense. Triggering it, along with Serpentine Evasion to boost his chances and his fancy stunt, still only gives him 20 dice, so he burns a Willpower to add his Conviction (6) to the roll. He gets 16 successes, enough to easily shatter the effect. (He'd go for backlash, but then he couldn't kill these people himself.)
So the Boy casts the spell again. The Lion is forced to trigger the same Charms, and spend another Willpower. Woot! He just barely succeeds (8 successes even), and manages to stave off both blows, but his willpower is sapped and he's into peripheral essence. Fortunately for him, he regains one Willpower from the stunt.

The Solars were treated to a sight few had seen, and none had seen more than once - the anima banner of the Lion. The raw darkness of Oblivion howled around him, as though trying to draw everything in the arena into Malfeas. Spectators screamed and fled, fearing for their lives. The Lion's voice was a low, horrible laugh, as he sword spun in towards Starry-Eyed-Boy. "You think your pitiful magic can work on me? I am the mightiest of the Deathlords! I am above your foolish cantrips!" His blade swung again and again, as the exhausted Starry-Eyed Boy attempted to defend himself. First, a blow drew a gash across his chest, then another crushed his left lung and almost tore off an arm. The final blow sliced him cleanly in two, and he fell in a spray of blood, his soul screaming as it was absorbed by Varan's Ruin.

Now the Lion goes. He buys ten attacks with Unfurling Ebon Lotus and augments them all with his supplementals (7 motes each). First, he goes after Starry-Eyed Boy, who doesn't have enough Essence left to do more than pull up one Iron Skin Concentration and pray. The first attack deals only 3 levels of damage, and the Lion regains 3 motes, plus half of the two motes remaining to Boy. The second attack, undefended, hits for 16 successes, resulting in damage of 42L, and deals another 14 levels (fairly low). The third and final attack hits for only 7 successes, and deals 10 more levels of damage, killing Starry-Eyed Boy.

His attack continued, unrelenting, as Varan's Ruin, blooded and hungry, sought out Invincible Sword Princess. The first blow passed harmless by to her left, and the second she leapt over in an easy motion, but the third stabbed through her chest. Varan's Ruin drank greedily of her soul as the Lion tore sideways, almost gutting her, and then changed his angle to slice upwards, carving her throat in half before slicing apart her skull.

The Lion has seven attacks left, and by golly he's going to use them! The Princess's Seven Shadow Evasion takes care of the first two, but then she's out of Essence. Which is bad. Attack #3 hits for 9 successes (including the shield), and deals 8 health levels of damage (more Essence for the Lion!). Attack #4 hits for 8 successes, and deals 9 health levels of damage, and Attack #5 hits for 8 successes and deals 13 levels of damage, again killing her.

Still not finished, the Lion grinned with fierce joy as he turned towards the annoying archer who had attempted to skewer him earlier. He covered the ground that Eater of Kindred had retreated across in under a second, his sword curving up to take the man's head off. Eater of Kindred leapt onto the very point of the sword, and then somersaulted backwards as it tried to change directions, landing easily on the ground. His face was sweaty as he faced the Lion, his caste mark shining on his forehead.

The Lion covers the distance to the next Solar easily, but Eater of Kindred has Seven Shadow Evasion and spare essence, and stunts to regain some more.

From behind him, a storm of shurikens announced that there was a fifth Solar to contend with, as Ninja Man attempted to wear through the Lion's defenses. The Lion batted them aside almost casually, his attention fixed on his current prey.

Ninja Man takes his action, making five attacks with his shuriken to continue his 'wear the Lion down' strategy. He also reflexively triggers Cloud-Treading Method, to get further into the air and away from the Lion. The Lion uses five perfect defenses. Getting there...

Eater of Kindred staggered backwards, feeling death in front of him. He could not defeat this menance... but he could try to wear him down enough for Ninja Man to. Reaching backwards, he began firing arrows. Ten of them, one after the other, his anima blazing as it followed in their wake. The Lion raised Varan's Ruin, and smashed the arrows aside, one after another.

Eater of Kindred uses up all of his Principle of Motion actions, and then spends 5 motes and a Willpower to refresh, and then uses up all of his Principle of Motion actions. The Lion levels ten perfect parries, which costs him more Willpower and Essence.

And that's it for Round 2! Things are not looking so hot for the Solars, I'm thinking.

First And Forsaken Lion: Willpower 4/10, Personal 0/65 (17 committed), Peripheral 126/187 (31 committed). Health Levels: 35/36 (OK). Held Perfects: 2

Overly Combative Simian: Dead.
Invicible Sword Princess: Dead.
Starry-Eyed Boy: Dead.
Ninja Man: Willpower: 7/8, Personal Essence: 3/3 (20 committed), Peripheral Essence: 36/36 (18 committed) Health Levels: 22/22 (OK). (3 turns of Hurricane Combat)
Eater of Kindred: Willpower: 5/8, Personal Essence: 0/8 (15 committed), Peripheral Essence: 35/38 (16 committed) Health Levels: 22/22 (OK).


Um... I hate to say it, but Spell-Shattering Palm is a reflexive attack. Serpentine Defense would avail the big guy nothing - Blade of the Battle Maiden would have, but that's an extra 2 WP, and it's the only reflexive attack adder I can think of. 2 WP might, in this circumstance, matter a great deal... -- Hapushet

Spell-Shattering Palm is an attack only that it takes an action to preform. But reading through it, without looking up the mechanics and charms specifically, I do think he has the actions to preform the technique the two times that he did use it. However it is used, the spirit of the demonstration is clear, The First and Forsaken Lion is one bad mother .. - Savare
I don't think Starry Eyed Boy could cast two Runes anyway. I'm pretty sure that in the spell description it states the spell can only ever be cast once by any given sorcerer. I don't know if the spell counts as "cast" if it's countered. For the purposes of this exercise I don't think it really matters. Savare is right, FaFL is using an effect based off of and similar to SSP, not neccessarily SSP itself.- Ambisinister
Actually, Spell-Shattering Palm doesn't take an action to perform - it's reflexive - and it is an attack. The word "attack" is used several times in the description, quite plainly. You get accuracy bonuses, BotBM buffs and any other benefits that go along with it being a MA attack. (And, now that I think about it, the Lion couldn't have BotBM is his Combo o' Doom anyway... it's not Instant duration.) And he is using Spell-Shattering Palm specifically, because the entire point of this exercise is to keep away from custom Charms. If it's not canon, it's not supposed to be involved in this. -- Hapushet, who admits to be rooting for the Solars
Crap, it is. I checked it closely and could have sworn it said 'unarmed parry'. However, given the below conversation, I think I'll need to restart the fight... -- FrivYeti, who is sighing quietly and holding his head.

Just a few questions on the combat as it stands...:

1) How is he using combos that involve Protection of Celestial Bliss, since as a non-instant charm it can't be comboed.

Um.... crap. It is, isn't it? I thought it was Instant-duration, as with Principle of Motion. Hoo boy, going to have to revise the fight.
Principle of Motion isn't Instant either, being a spirit charm (who can't combo) it has a Duration "Until Used" - Kraken

2) Why is he burning motes on Unfurling Iron Lotus when Writhing Bloodchain grants him 10 attacks a turn with +10 accuracy and +30L damage (including the adamant fist like charm)? Surely a Brawl combo would be better?

Because he can't make Writhing Blood Chain attacks perfect; they aren't Melee. He burned the motes to punch through the Princess's persistant defenses.
Ah, so he did. I forgot that charm from autobots. Perhaps to improve his mote Efficiency he could use an Iron Whirlwind-like Charm? - Kraken

3) The Eclipse should be paying 10m+2wp for the Principle of Motion, since the cost is doubled for Eclipses.

10m 1W, actually. I've always held that only mote costs are doubled, although I know that it's a point of some contention.
Yeah, I've seen it argued both ways. I was more pointing out neither cost had been doubled ^_~ - Kraken

4) The spell shattering Palm is incompatiable with Armour, and since FaFL can't take his off...

Exalted: The Alchemicals specifies that the FaFL's armour is part of his body and counts as natural soak for all effects. I presume that includes martial arts.
Ah, yeah, that sounds about cheap enough for FaFL. And yeah, if thats the case, I agree with you on the using MA with it. - Kraken
It IS however a reflexive attack, which means, that unless he can boost it somehow, it IS possible that Lion might not be able to define against the rune or get a hit in on the twilight... ~ Haku

5) As a minor question, why didn't the FaFL spend for a persistant dodge in his powerup, which could say him some Perfect use? (instead of the adamant fists or the writhing blood chain , niether of which he seems to be using...)

Well, situation changed. Round 1, Fists and the chain were instrumental in killing Simian and battering down the Princess without spending 80-odd Essence.
True that. - Kraken
Ick... however, if he doesn't have a metric ton of perfect to defend... it's possible that the solars could have gotten in a few blows... ~ Haku
Well, what I was actually thinking of his tactics as "I try my 24 dice dodge vs the solars attacks, and if that fails, perfect." rather than "I rely exclusively on rolled defences." just as a measure for cutting down the sheer number of perfects he uses - Kraken


- FrivYeti
Overall, I would say no one is quite using the fullest of their capabilities thus far. There is a lot more nastiness that could be done on all sides. Overall, I think dual stacked persistants would be the first thing started, then the brawl chains. I'd have to look at it, but there is some serious nastiness that isn't being used here. Plus he could use Lightning sheathy Iajutsu strike and avoid initiative altogether. Just in case it came up. There's also no resistance charms up, which he admittably doesn't need. I would think, this being an arena fight, they would all bulk up to the full extent possible before hand.
For Gods' sake. The arena has RULES. The RULES stated that people could only have TWO TURNS of warmup. It's NOT THAT HARD. The Lightning Sheathe, not a bad point. Regardless, this fight is the error'd section; a few things were done wrong.

As for defending against Rune of Singular Hatred, my group has always been working under the assumption that anything that even vaguely constituted an "attack" could be defended against with Heavenly Guardian Defense. Given that in my groups at least HGD is a suitable defense against any number of attacks like a rain of knives via Cascade of Cutting Terror, a swarm of obisidian via Death of Obsidian Butterflies and most importantly in this case any of the unrolled "sound" or essence based attacks such as Tsunami Force Shout, I don't see why you couldn't also HGD Rune of Singular Hatred. In the DoOB example you're defending against the effects of a spell, and in the TFS example you're defending perfectly against a unrolled attack that's sound/essence based without a physical component just like RoSH. I suppose you could argue that you couldn't defend against DoOB or TFS but it's perfectly in the spirit and mechanical effects of HGD to allow it, especially considering the oft quoted blurb about defense trumping offense. I don't have Abyssals handy so I can't really say if the Abyssal equivalent is worded the same way as HGD or if the hanging perfects from PoCB work also. Though I suppose this is largely up to your individual interpretation of HGD given the atrociously vague wording of many of the corebook charms. If thats the case then FaFL could simply reflexively perfect the two RoSHs which is actually much safer then using SSP.

And on that note FaFL would benefit from having Dancing with Strife Technique, one of the new instant reflexive Brawl charms in Cult of the Illuminated. Every time you defend against an attack that recieved more successes then your essence or 5, whichever is lower, you can spend 3 motes to regain 1 temporary willpower. Given FaFL still has a boatload of essence and only 4 will this would be more resource effective for him. While he's at it he could throw up Joy in Adversity and gain back a ton of essence every time he defends given his mammoth essence 10 rating. With Joy in Adversity up along with Dancing with Strife he could theoretically HGD every attack thrown at him and maintain a positive willpower/essence flow. F' PoCB. :)

- Casus

While I agree with the spirit of Defense > Offense I don't think it should apply to the Rune. The Rune is a weird spell. It breaks a whole lot of rules right off the bat. You can cast it in one turn, it's reflexive, and it can only be used once. The way I have used the Rune is that it is not even really a -spell- so much as a -thing-. It is proof positive, 100%, of absolutely unmitigated hatred against another person. It can't be countered, it can't be blocked, because it's not and attack or even a spell. It's sorcery at it's most basic levels of manipulation, it draws on a fundimental aspect of reality. Incidentially, even the rules support the idea that Spell Shattering Palm at least is unable to block the Rune. Unless I'm remembering incorrectly, and I probably am, the Palm can only defend against spells while they are being woven. The Rune has no weaving time, it's instant, so the Palm couldn't block it.
Now I recognize that this interperetation is much more mythic then this Arena combat should allow. After all, if the Rune functioned as I suggest that it does, all you'd need would be two sorcerers who can speak it and the Lion becomes a Tiger of the paper variety. I just had to speak up against the idea that it could be blocked by an Essence 3 charm. The Rune is a Plot Element, not an attack charm.
-- Halloween <- Who is enjoying reading this even if he hasn't posted before.