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Graceful Charm Methodology
Or: Trimming The Onyx Path
I greatly enjoyed reading through the pre-print edition of the X3E book. The setting is now at least 20% cooler, look and feel bleed through in every page and paragraph, social combat is really quite exciting, and there are interesting new frameworks for crafting and rulership.
I was not so thrilled by the Charm trees: they seem to do little in some places, seven things at once in others, and use a cacophony of different mechanics. It would take me a very long time to remember a character’s worth of effects, let alone that for the whole group – and any time spent looking up rules is time spent away from play.
I realised that it would actually be quicker to overhaul the Charm trees to a format that I and my players would easily remember. This is not intended to be a ‘better’ version of the Charm trees (YMMV), nor is it intended to be a directly balanced translation of everything within them – this would not be practical. However, they have been uploaded here in case you should have use of them.
A Charm is Graceful if it:
- Does one or two things.
- Can be summarised in no more than three sentences.
- Cannot be represented by a normal skill check with bonus dice or successes.
- Cannot be replicated by a stunt.
- Does not use a new mechanic where an existing one would suffice.
- Does not require the ST to improvise a mechanic.
- Does not provide free experience points.
A Charm tree is Graceful if:
- Low-level Charms are weak but flexible.
- High-level Charms are powerful but specialised.
- The number of Charms available to support an action reflect its probable volume of use.
- The Charm tree can be easily represented as a two-dimensional diagram.
- It does not use Charms from other Abilities as prerequisites.
- High-level Charms always have a prerequisite that has an Essence one lower than them.
To streamline this work, each Exalt type has an additional Excellency unlocked at Essence 2, 3, 4 and 5. These are acquired automatically for any Ability that they would have the First Excellency for. This allows us to play with exponential returns, without clogging things up to much.
Some of the Charm trees use other amendments to make them more practicable. These are:
- Unified Project Methodology
- Crunchy Merit Methodology
- Principled Organisation Methodology
- Acceptable Influence Methodology
- Threefold Strategic Methodology
The Graceful Charm Methodology uses the following keywords:
- Command: This Charm can only be used if you are the commander of your side, and have a Command or Ship merit present in the scene.
- Counterattack: This Charm cannot be used in response to Clash actions, or other Counterattacks.
- Once/: This Charm can only be used once per time increment listed.
- Perilous: This Charm cannot be used while Crashed.
- Psyche: This Charm creates ongoing supernatural mental influence.
- Shaping: This Charm makes an ongoing change to the nature of its target.
- The Second Solar Excellency is Supplemental, and costs 3m. It allows the Solar to make a roll as a radiant cascade: count all 9s as 10s. In addition, every 9 or 10 is rerolled, potentially getting additional successes and additional rerolls. Stop rolling when 9s and 10s no longer appear.
- The Third Solar Excellency is Supplemental, and costs 3m 1wp. Add (Essence) automatic successes to a roll, or (Essence) to a static value.
- The Fourth Solar Excellency allows the Solar to make a free full use of the First Solar Excellency once per scene. When they do, they may also reset the use of another "Once/scene" Charm from the same Ability.
- The Fifth Solar Excellency reduces the cost of the First Solar Excellency to one mote per two dice.
A Solar does not automatically unlock all Excellencies for their Supernal Ability.
Graceful Solar Charms never deduct from something (Initiative, health levels, essence, etc) when they could accomplish a similar effect by adding to something else. The never subvert Intimacies or influence actions.