OK, so this is partly a character creation question and partly a rules discusion.
Let's say that for the sake of argument I want to make a character who can take a beating. You know, your classic fantasy "tough guy who is hard to kill" trope. I would normally expect that such a character would wear hefty armor, have high values in Stamina and toughness-style skills, and take blows with little overall effect.
Having spent some time with the system, my current impression is that:
- the #1 best way to build this character is to focus on Dex and Dodge, with Dodge charms
- the #2 way is to focus on Dex and Melee, with Parry charms
- the #3 way to do this is to play with the Endurance / Resistance charms which require you to have no armor (Durability of Oak, Iron Skin Concentration, Spirit Strengthens the Skin) plus maybe Mantis Style Martial arts.
- The absolutely least efficient, bottom-of-the-heap, worst way to build this character involves armor. And even if you do build a character who wears armor, Stamina is the last thing you should be spending points on.
Is this the way it should be? Am I using the system wrong? Is there a way to make wearing armor and sucking up blows an effective strategy? If not, can you suggest new charms which I can attempt to get past my GM which would remedy the situation?
In what was is armor the least efficent way to build a guy that's hard to kill?
I've challenged a Circle of Solar's with an Earth Immaculate in Superheavy Jade. They spent nearly three turns just trying to figure out a way to break his damn shell.
(Mind you, they were new then, but even so).
For 7 bonus points, you can get Superheavy Magic Armor. Booyah, you've got 15ish Soak. Almost any attack will be dealing you one damage, and all it costs is some committed Essence. It's VASTLY more efficent than the Solar Resistance Charms- so much so that going another route almost feels silly to the powergaming chunk of my head.
Now, that's for the Big Guy That Won't Die. If you want someone that won't get hit, get Five Fold Bulwark Stance and Flow Like Blood. If you get one turn before a fight, you're golden. - DariusSolluman
Lunars are much better-suited for Big Guy That Won't Die, since their soak-buffing Charms can cut down on the One Die ping, plus Deadly Beastman Transformation has those lovely regen gifts. I'm pretty sure you can work out a starting Lunar with a lethal soak of around 20-22 who ignores One Die ping from attacks with less than 12 pre-soak damage, and who heals a lethal level a turn. I've never sat down to do it, though, so I could be overly optimistic. Jeffwik
You aren't. It just seems so unsporting. Domino
Don't forget LOTS of levels of Ox-body. That helps ALOT.
Solar soak charms tend to result in a greater soak than armor, and if you're buying the soak charms, you might as well purchase Adamant Skin, since it's right there. Soak charms can result in a soak of 20, while Orichalcum Superheavy plate with a stamina of 5 results in a soak of 19, and has problems. Soak charms have their own problem, of course: you have to spend several turns powering up, and they tend to cost more essence than mere armor would cost. ~Mailanka
I can recommend the armor-interested to review the Games of Divinity. Therein, you can find a Spirit Shark Buff Jacket that gives a lot of soak without any mobility penalty. To me, the problem of armor is that it costs too much to purchase. So, I'd start the new character with a first agenda; to hunt down a suitable creature, and carve a beautiful, personalized armor. Preferably, this should be a unique armor, suited for your character. Also, notice that a newly created armor-solar can buy a decent armor without having to use those preciously few beginning charms on resistance charms. Furthermore, I find that Exalted handles this issue very well. I sincerely think that just standing there to take the blows should be an inferior strategy than blocking or dodging. Blocking and dodging is an action spent, taking a hit is not. In addition, I think that the best defensive strategy is learning blocking charms. The full dodge option as a normal action, supplemented with parries is very dice-heavy defense. This is even more useful now, when the Golden Essence Block have been upgraded somewhat. Finally, a starting solar can reasonably well learn all three strategies fairy well at the beginning. Melee: GEB, DSD, Dodge: RitW, Ox-Body Technique is only four charms. Add an expensive armor, and your're good to go to war. The rest could be used on any other skill that you fancy. However, the first Medicine charm is very useful too. Now if you want to go without armor, that's at least two more charms, but that's a cost you must be willing to take if you want to be that tough-guy. -Clebo
I looked at this as a challenge.
To be honest, the best Solar character seems to be a balanced one. I'd reccomend starting, if you can, with Perfect Lamellar Armor enchanted to have stats something like this: 8/8 (0 mobility, 0 fatigue)- 7/8 0.0 naturally, with that one point additional Lethal soak from enchantment. Since 5-point Enchantments are significantly better, it might have a secondary effect, such as allowing botch-rerolls, Walkaway, or scrapping that 1 point of Lethal soak and giving it Hardness 1. Even better would be Perfect Orichalcum Lamellar Armor, with it's 9/10 soak and 0.0- or a Perfect Orichalcum Reinforced Breastplate, with 12/9 0.0 and a natural Hardness of 3. Of course, these are 2 and 3 dot Artifacts, respectively. And a character with a bit of Thaumatergy could maintain his enchantments, reworking them whenever he faced a nasty sorcerer. Combine with a few Charms promoting Dodge or Parry (and maybe some Moonsilver Hearthstone Bracers- +2 soaks, +3 dodge dice), and you've got a pretty decent rounded defense.
Even better, you could combine Glorious Solar Plate (with the best Hardness in the game at 5) and some Parry/Dodge charms. There's no particular reason a character couldn't begin play with that charm and 26 'evasion' dice per attack from dodge and parry versus all incoming attacks, plus the increased Difficulty 1 from the Glorious Solar Plate shield. That's some pretty solid defense- 26 dice to evade attacks, one automatic 'lost' die, and you ignore ones which do less than 5 health levels.
But, if it's PURE UNADULTURATED ARMOR SOAK you want, 5 stamina, Perfect Superheavy Oricalchum Plate (+2 Bashing soak from Perfection), Durability of Oak Meditation (+10 Bashing soak with 5 Resistance), and a Gem of Adamant Skin will do it. That's 34 soak dice against any non-aggravated attack. Don't forget that Essence Fangs and Scales technique is now also compatable with armor (a convenient method of sidestepping the need for a Gem of Adamant Skin).
Starmetal is worth considering. Though the commitment can get a little high unless you are a Sidereal. Persuading the GM/ST/BigMacDaddy to agree is a problem too, but people are suggesting using Enchantment with Artifact creation here, which seems on crack enough as it is. Starmetal armour and Starmetal Thunder Shield is -2 damage rolled, about -2 successes on the attack roll, plus whatever soak you throw up. Gem of Adamant Skin plus armour plus DoOM, plus Jade Collar of Dawn's Cleansing Light, plus Moonsilver Wedding Band, etc, etc. You can get a good soak. But that's a really evil way to do it. Even worse, a Lunar with the second Regen gift, regens ALL bashing every turn, so Gem Of Adamant Skin makes him more or less immune to any health level loss other than agg, unless you can get the damage to roll over to become lethal, then to become agg in one turn. Although the errata does suggest than anyone KOed can be just killed flat out, so you could use this ruling, if the GM thought it dramatically appropriate.
As far as I know, bashing damage that flows over becomes lethal. Once it flows over again, you don't take aggrivated, you become dead. If a character is KO and takes one level of lethal or aggrivated damage (not counting the bashing that turned INTO lethal of course) then he dies permenenet like. The gem of adamant skin wouldn't effect it (basically, your skin can't be cut and your bones can't be broken.. that doesn't mean your organs can't be turned to exalted jello when that hill crushing hero smashes you for 100B)
But in all seirousness, yes, in this game, under the power combat rules, there is almost NO point in taking stamina, and magical armor from the main book is pretty crappy.. particularly when you can get really good armor from terrestial spells and other minor dodges rather then spending a crapload of artifact points. (hmm... superheavy jade plate? Nahh, I'll just take the Daiklaive of Conquest or an airship..)
If you want to make stamina and soak more uber, I recommend making a characters base lethal soak equal to his Stamina -2 rather then halving it. This makes stamina much more valuable. Now, if you want 1L, you have to buy at least one extra point of stamina.. and having a stamina of 5 gives you 3 soak rather then 2.
To make armor better, one thing I like is giving it a MUCH higher hardness, say equal to that of the armor itself if it's one of the 5 magical materials, or 1/2 it's soak if it's one of the "lesser" magical armors (like Gunzosha armor). Ignoring all attacks that do 15 dice of damage is much closer in my opinion to what a level 5 artifact should be like.
Overpowered? Not really. A mortal with a two handed sword could get a lucky hit in on that.. an exalt with a tetsubo... a halfway decent charm boosting just about any attack, will still cut the person down. But it seems odd that your orchilium superheavy plate won't help you when a starting essence 2 DB smacks you with his fists 5 times and is guarenteed to do 10 dice of damage even if he only scores a single sucess on each blow!
The artifact armor in the core book is insanely underpowered compared to high level artifacts elsewhere in the literature. To boot, both of the artifact creation systems WW has released place level five artifacts at much higher levels than the listed armor. The power level should be increased (IMHO) for anyone who actually has the armor and could include effects like the Dragon Armors all the way up to a perfect dodge that can even dodge attacks that cannot be dodged. With weaker effects such as the increased strength you should probably get other candy—unless you want a strength of 12—whereas the perfect dodge could be the only extra you get. I also think the mobility/fatigue values should be lower, but this is influenced by the fact that my starting level character with FHM and Ritual of Elemental Empowerment can make 10/10 armor with no mobility/fatigue. -TzalFlameforge
- I've found that the best way is to simply lower the artifact levels in general. If you give them ass-kicking powers, then they're at their statted artifact costs. I think a reasonable table for armour would be Artifact 1 - Light Armour, Artifact 2 - Medium Armour, Artifact 3 - Heavy Armour, Artifact 4 - Super Heavy Armour, Artifact 5 - OMFG Proto-Warstrider Armour. This is assuming no other funky powers added in. ~ Haku
Throwing in my two cents. You're partly right and partly wrong. A strong-man stereotype typically doesn't clad himself in full covering heavy armor, instead they're just that strong that they take it. IMHO for the strong-man the heavy armor style might even be hindering, see endurance and resistance charms.
The best way to do it really, is to forget about solar soak charms. Seriously. They're not even that good. Front-load your stamina, pile up on ox-body, and then go for MA. Yes, you heard me, MA. Pick up some silken armor and pick up something like tiger style MA and you'll wind up with an easy 15/15 soak, if you don't break that. That's how I - accidentally I might add - created a very robust solar for my first game. She was supposed to be a damage wombat but somehow through MA shifted into a much more defensive position.
You can still do a strong man with armor of course. Get melee, an arti shield, arti armor, and pile up on parry. No, you won't be full up on soak. Frankly, the second you start relying on armor, I think you break the strong man stereotype, so just take the shield and the parry and roll with it. With solar melee you'll become virtually indestructable anyhow, and isn't that your goal?
That's basically my view on it. If you want indestructable man, you don't want armor. Armor is the cop-out way to be indestructable for those who are not so in and of themselves, and I believe that's why armor is not meant for the "can take anything and roll with it" characters, as much as it is for martial artists who use techniques to steel their very own body against blows.
Also on a minor note... parry > dodge. There are more undodgeable charms than there are unparriable, and using parry gives you an extra boost from your weapons defense value, effectively giving you a larger pool to work with. That's IMHO.
- I do believe I've come up with a good approximation of invulnerability that you can take at chargen. Step one: be a Twilight. Step two: Combo the Power Combat versions of Essence Gathering Temper and Iron Skin Concentration. Depending on interpretation of Willpower-Gathering Spirit (it says "Roll one die for each health level of damage taken when hit in combat (that is, damage successes rolled after soak)", it may be possible to use that as well, to make it last forever. Flare your anima whenever hit; with a Stamina 5, you need only two successes to gain motes whenever hit, despite taking minimal or no damage. If allowing Willpower-Gathering Spirit, this can also gain you net increases in Willpower, so you're not forced to make a two-die stunt each round to stay even; with sufficiently high Essence (with Flaws, a Solar can in theory have Essence 5 at chargen), you also never take damage. Since these are all Reflexives, you can add in whatever offensive Charms you want, and have actions free to use them. Vargo Teras