From Exalted - Unofficial Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

As a long-time student of the Savant and Sorcerer artifact creation rules, I tend to believe that I've got a pretty firm understanding of what they do, and don't do. In particular, the "take away" message that I try to give people is that most of the artifacts printed are not of a "Power" level equal to their artifact rating. This is a drastic simplicity that makes the S&S rules seem like they make over powered artifacts. This is not the case. From the other side of the coin, there's a particular section most people gloss over. This is how they read it:

"Artifacts must have a number of drawbacks equal to their power."

And this is how it is really said, if you read the whole chapter 3 times, and catch one seemingly throw-away phrase:

"Artifacts must have an Essence cost equal to their power, as well as a number of drawbacks equal to their power."

This is a big difference. In particular, it means that a successfully created power 5 artifact (world-shaking, truly) will have a base commit of 25m, as well as 5 other points of badthing, like hard to find components, maintainance costs, and notoriety. You'll note that most things in canon that claim to be artifact 5 don't have commit costs nearly that high. That's because they're not power 5. Most published artifacts are, in fact, power 3 and less, hence their default commit costs of 10m and less. At the same time, most canon artifacts have other benefits, such as oodles of script immunity and the fact that you didn't have to build them. Another trick that canon pulls is that it'll make a power 4 artifact (with default commit of 20m), and then 'sell' it as Artifact 5. This 'choice' to bump up the Artifact rating by 1 gives them room to lower the commit cost heavily, to something like the 7m you normally see on really powerful artifacts. Overall, simply recognizing that low commit is a good thing really helps people recognize that while S&S can make both types of artifacts - the useful, simple things you often see in canon, and that it can also make some ultra-powerful monster artifacts that really blow the doors off of things.

As an example, I once talked about the "Earrings of infinite smiting", a power 5 artifact with 25m commit that gives +8 Str, +8 Dex, and +8 Damage. Sure, 25m is a lot, but then again, +8 Dex and +16 damage really will help you cut through almost anything. More scarily, if you're actually the one building it, you can keep refining the design, until it only has a 1m commit, or worse, a 0m commit, allowing mortals who wear this thing to conquer lands and kill mighty Terrestrials in a single blow.

But that's not what I use in my games. In my games, I play a rather excessive Twilight artificer, using a number of custom craft charms that allow me to make artifacts quickly and easily. I then worked a long time (with ST help) on making a metric ton of simply awe-inspiring artifacts. Everyone else in the group has total essence pools in the order of 50-60 motes (or more). Me? I've committed my entire peripheral pool, and haven't seen my anima banner in months. Then again, I'm walking around with some of these bad boys.

The notation used in my S&S creation is as follows. A numeral begins each line, denoting which power level a given power is ranked at. If the numeral is followed by an 'x', it denotes that that level of power was traded in for three powers of the next level lower. Thus

 1 +2 Dam
 1 +2 Soak
 1 +1 Dex

Denotes a power 2 artifact, where the single power 2 was traded for 3 power 1 effects.

GregLink/SeedOfAutocthon GregLink/StarmetalSigilOfMercury GregLink/RingOfGodlyMight

As a side note, I tend to play in a pretty highly powered setting. Others, such as Telgar, don't. This has led to numerous disagreements over what is, in fact "Ub3r-L33t", and what is simply a world-shaking artifact. My claim is that a custom-made hodge-podge of stat boosts and effects is, in fact, reasonable, as an artificer is of course going to make exactly what he wants, rather than waste time on other junk. Others claim that S&S creates "uber" artifacts that can be far over-powered, and misused, as rather than having 1-3 primary effects, you can get 'soupy' artifacts like I tend to make, often with over a dozen interlocking boosts of various sorts. I say this because while the artifacts I've posted are pretty much 90% canonical S&S, they may not fit with your game. In such a situation, I present them not as examples of what you might build, but instead, examples of what your players might pull on you. Be especially careful of Int-boosting and build-time reducing effects, as those allow them to build yet more artifacts more easily. The worst-case scenario is an artificer who makes a +Int and build-time reducing artifact with no special component requirements. He works it down to a low commit, then makes another. And another. and so on. Next thing you know, he's rolling 30 dice to make artifacts, at a rate 100 times faster than base. As with everything, if it works in your game, great. If not, well, it's your game. -- GregLink

I play in all sorts of high-powered settings. But my approach to high power Artifacts involves unique powers, mechanical ingenuity and hefty statlines instead of stacking bonuses and Charms onto an item. I believe that to raise your stats you spend XP, you don't build a Bracer of Intelligence +3. To get more Crafts dice, you use Crafts Charms. To get the benefits of a Hearthstone, you get the Hearthstone. You can't solve your lack of useful things by slapping whatever traits you want from other stuff onto an Artifact. Artifacts have their own strengths and powers which should be respected, just as the unique perogatives of Spells, Hearthstones and Charms should be respected by keeping them in the niches they were designed for.
I have nothing against S&S artifacts for being strong. I hate them because they're boring. - Telgar

Ah. Interesting. I rescind many of my earlier comments then. I'll totally agree with you there. They do tend to have a distinct lack of flavor, and seem very cookie-cutter. So yes, many of the artifacts I posted here are quite, to put it bluntly, boring. They work quite well for my purposes, which is playing a character who has consistent stat boosts (like the +3 Int you mentioned), rather than 'bursty' powers like charms. It does mean that I'm playing a character of a very different flavor than the standard Solar, admittedly, but as a huge portion of our game is 'downtime' and other such trivialities, it's much more effective to have an 8 Int all of the time, rather than a perfect and total success on craft rolls when you spend 5m, 1WP. Having said that, everyone reading this? You know all of the comments I posted about S&S being not necessarily for your game? Append what Telgar just said to that. He's strikingly correct about the blandness, and how just copy-pasting powers onto something does not a cool toy make. -- GregLink

Even during downtime, don't you have to roll out your artifact-building process? So how is +3 dice in any possible way more effective then simply using a high-power Crafts Charm that grants total success or a Cascade of Cutting Terror for Crafts? Yes, it's some slight tiny percentage easier to simply roll 3 more dice...but if its downtime, motes don't matter. You can do whatever you want with Charms simply by saying "I use this Charm. And that one. And this one. oh, and this spell." So really, I'm not seeing your point about down-time making a statboost artifact a better Crafts tool then Crafts Charms. - Telgar

Well, the issue is one of how charms work for long-term things. It's really quite difficult to quantify the effect that CNNT has on Manse construction. Or how your amazing HPM works on back-room dealings with lobbyists. Or how the ability to sell stuff real well allows you to make money in the long run, as people tend to think you're a weaseling bastard. I've found a lot of things are simply much easier when you throw a lot of simple, and consistent dice at the problem. It's not a fix for everyone, but having simply fixed, larger pools, seems to work for me, and keeps me and my ST from having to pull our hair out and bother others when you've got a situation that doesn't quite fit a charm you've got. As long as you've got Manip 9, it's a heck of a lot easier to sell, charm or no charm. -- GregLink