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For initiative effects, how about rearranging the order in which characters act? Freely exchange the position of two characters in the order of initiative, or even reverse the order in which characters act in a turn, so that the one with lowest init goes first. - Stanoje

For more initiative-based ideas, how about altering the penalties for holding/moving your action in the ordering? Instead of -1 per tick, up it to a ghastly -4 per tick (or even -Essence), as "all things have a time and a place, and escaping such is impossible, even for the Exalted." Of course, our hero, the Master of Vermilion Cavalcade of Moments, who initiated the charm, has no such penalty, "as he has come to recognize his place and time in the universe, and through this realization, has come to control his own destiny." You know, or something. - GregLink

Oh heck, while I'm here, I'll throw some more down. If we're looking at Ess5+ anyway, there's some real meta-mechanics you can screw with. Things like preventing you from using Reflexives before your initiative without paying some penalty, or something as drastic as destroying/canceling comboes (think something like SCD) simply because suddenly, one of the charms in it has a longer-than-instant duration, throwing off the user's practiced Essence-shaping. While we're at it, we might also want to give some nice powerful means of turning simples into reflexives, or simply a instant reflexive charm that, when activated "also allows the activation of a reflexive charm with any duration, whose essence need not remain committed while the charm is active". That allows the artist to snap up things like FLB in the blink of an eye, and even place FLB into a combo, as time has no meaning for our master. - GregLink

Hmm. One problem I keep running into is: how do I balance the Charm costs with the sutra bonus? Should I ignore it, and have the sutra make the Charm cost less than it should for a sutra student, or should I require someone to use a sutra in order to bring the Charms in line with other Charms of similar power? I'm inclined to go for the former, and make the sutra benefit an actual benefit, but I'd like to hear thoughts. - Kurulham

Given the high-committment problem that Sidereals are known to face, it's often tough for them to get enough 'free' essence to actually use instants and reflexives well. Given this, the concept of the sutra allows you to spend yet more essence for the priveledge of making one particular style cheap enough that you can actually use it, as a Sidereal, and not be both over-committed and still short on free motes. My guess, then, is price them accordingly, and the Sidereal's tendency to be low on Essence will make them feel expensive. At that point, they open up the Sutra, allowing them to use this style, and this style only, as if they weren't so ridiculously tight on essence. Solars, being awesome, don't have quite the limitations on essence that Siddies do, but (unless you're an Eclipse) don't have the Sutras either, so they effectively have the same cost (as a percentage of your pool) to use the charms as a Siddie. Trick is, the Siddie is stuck using only this style, while the Solar is like "Sutra? Why would I need a Sutra? I've got this big 'ole bag of essence here, so I'm just gonna pick and choose styles as I like", which to me, is perfectly in-schtick. So, in summary, price them as you will, ignoring the sutra, and Siddies low pools will make it 'feel' expensive, and the sutra will make it useable for them. The charms, however, should be priced reasonably for a Solar, because they shouldn't need the sutra. - GregLink

First off, let me say that I like to think I'm partly responsible for the wonder that is "Stillness without Standing". (See above comment on "a reflexive charm that lets you activate scene-longs...". I like the concept. I probably like the implementation. It's quite possibly very rules-sound. But as the biggest mechanics-monkey I know, even I'm having a tough time following through that list. In particular, I'm having problems understanding the first bullets, leaving confusion for later ones. I'm gonna go through and ask questions then, to see if I can't clear things up.

  • For the purpose of Combos, the activation counts only as an activation of the subject Charm. Thus, Stillness Without Standing can be used without the need for a Combo.
    • Huh? Do you mean "...the activation counts only as an activation of "Stillness without Standing" or do you mean "...the activation counts as if you are activating the subject MA charm"? In particular, if you mean the former, of course you can use it without the need for a combo - after all, the activation only counts as one charm. Similarly, if you use the latter, the activation only counts as the subject MA charm, a single charm, and thus, no need to combo. I think the second sentence there is a bit redundant on the mechanics, and thus muddies the waters. I recommend changing the bullet to read "For all purposes, when activating 'Stillness without standing', only one charm activation is required, even though both the subject MA charm and 'Stillness without standing' must both be paid for. This charm activation is considered a reflexive charm of instant duration, and as such, is allowed in combos, even if the subject MA charm would not normally be able to be included in a given combo. If Stillness without Standing is activated multiple times in a given round, a different subject MA charm may be chained off of it each time."

I'm not saying what I wrote is better, or mechanically identical to what you wrote, but I'm just trying to reduce the brain-fry required to fully understand the charm's implications. - GregLink, who has lived to see the day this charm was created.

You are, in fact, directly responsible for the creation of this Charm. I'm glad you like what I did with your idea. I do like your mechanical wording, but I wanted to make it so that you could activate a single simple Charm multiple times with Stillness Without Standing, but you still needed a Combo to use more than one - Stillness Without Standing gets around timing restrictions, but not multiple-Charm restrictions. The idea is that it's an enhancement to the Charm, but mechanically that's just freaking weird, especially where Combos are involved, so I've had to perform some verbal gymnastics. I've changed the wording on the second bullet - is that clearer? Any other confusions about wording? Would a couple examples help? I think my intent is fairly obvious, but I'm not the best at finding loopholes or writing clearly (eschew obfuscation!), so comments are avidly solicited. In particular, a question - do you think it's of an appropriate power level for Essence 6? I'm having a very hard time gauging that. - Kurulham, who still doesn't know how to do Cycle of Sidereal Dreams
Well, given that traditional comboes get three examples in the book, I'd say an example or two here can't hurt. I mean, it's not like we waste much bandwidth on a few extra characters here and there. As for the Essence requirement, I'd think that at Essence 6, I was hoping for the 'multi charm activate without combo' power. I rationalize this because CMOS form gives you three charm activations per turn, for a scene, and other benefits, while this only gives you 'one' charm activation per turn, and costs you each time. My thinking is that, as you said, "...Stillness Without Standing gets around timing restrictions...", and in this case, the timing restriction is that you can only focus on one charm per turn without a combo. With the ability to compress time into the blink of an eye, much like the Flash can write a book in an instant, so can a master of the concept of Moments perform actions that take normal men 3 seconds in the blink of an eye. I just hate to see a good charm get over Essenced or over-priced. Perhaps if it were dropped to Essence 5, and the 'uprated' version I describe were added as Essence 6, I could see it. - GregLink, who, according to SEC regulations, must admit that he has personal investment in the charm, and therefore, is slightly biased towards it being uber-cool (and just plain uber)
First, a confession: I was three sheets to the wind when I wrote Stillness Without Standing. Don't drink and write, kids, it makes horrible horrible things occur. (Though come to think of it I was drinking the night I wrote the sutra, too. I am now envisioning Linguistics Charms similar to the Zenith caste book drunken-fighting Charms. Something on the order of "Jameson's-Enriched Charm-Writing Prana".)
That said, I'm really not sure I fully understand the implications of this Charm's existence. I've been working through a couple scenarios; once I figure out what I'm doing with them, I'll write them up. I've linked to an elementary example above and I'll write more later. There are some truly wonderful synergies with the Immaculate styles, which makes me suspect that this style is more prevalent among the Bronze Faction. The synergies are so awesome, in fact, that I'm tempted to call them "broken", but whenever I'm tempted in such a way, I just look over at Pattern Spider Bite and Spiritual Perfection as two canon Essence 6 Charms, and say, "Oh, right. Essence 6. Gotcha." One frustrating thing, however, is that a lot of the Charms I'd want to use this with (*cough BotBM cough JiAS cough*) are reflexive already, and thus not eligible. I'm not quite sure what to do about this. Part of me wants to say "oh, allow non-instant reflexives in too", but the part of my soul that abhors brokenness pokes me there, and I'm not sure if it's just being paranoid. Thoughts? - Kurulham
Well, my original thought was to generate a reflexive, instant charm, that, in that reflexive instant, allowed you to activate any other charm you'd like. Really, just saying that obliviates the need for much of the special rules-handling necessary the way the charm is written. Especially since, written that way, things like supplementals (that make no sense if not used with a die action) still make no sense. After all, in that instant, you activated a charm. It was supplemental. What did it do? Unless you activated Standing without Stillness during a normal die action, well, it did nothing, because that's how supplementals work. So you put SWS in a combo. That was really smart. Now your combos are much broader, in that you can do tons of stuff with them. You're a smart man. If you start to get too cocky, remember that you're paying a 5m surcharge for every charm you activate in that fashion, while your buddy using CMoS form to do 3 charms per turn for the next hour, while getting thrice the dice actions as well, is laughing at you, and eliminating the existence of your girlfriend. More to the point, you don't even obliviate the need for combos, because if you can put a reflexive charm in a combo, you should, otherwise you're paying through the nose for it to use it multiple times in a turn. Seven Shadows evasion? Now 11 motes per use instead of 6. That's a big reason to not over-whore the charm. Just my thoughts - GregLink
That brings my thoughts back to the question of commitment, however. If I'm Casting Six Shadows, from the example, and I pull up a 14-die BotBM with SWS, how much Essence am I committing? 5 seems way too little, at Essence 6 - I'd be more inclined to do that sort of thing at Essence 7 or 8, and I don't want to take this style that high except for Perfection of Singular Motion. A good point about Combo use, though. Unfortunately making it work that way is actually probably going to require even more bulleting than the current version - you can't just say "that's how supplementals work", because then you'd have to say "that's how simples work", and that's not how simples work; the point of the Charm is to allow simples to work in ways they don't. If supplementals work normally, that'll have to be explicitly stated. One thing I'm not budging on, however: you can't use an extra action Charm with SWS. That is broken. You want to use an extra action Charm, with other Charms, use a Combo. Put SWS in the Combo if you want, but you'll need to use that Combo. At any rate, I'll write up a new version and see how it looks when I get home from work. - Kurulham