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This page's purpose is a constructive review of the merits of the Lunar Exalted. It is not meant for rules changes or for mindless advocation of the Lunars. It is meant to demonstrate how best to use the Lunars as they exist in canon.

Specific Topics

My suggestion when editing these pages is to add a "synergy opportunities" section to any discussion of Charms or mechanics - Lunar abilities work best together, and it's important to point out those interactions. -- BillGarrett

Related Pages

  • FixTheLunars - If you are looking for a place to talk about how broken Lunars are, or in what ways they should be changed.
  • LunarCommentary - A long and interesting discussion about the Lunar balance.


For the discussion of Lunars. Specifically, for discussing how Lunars are not broken. Perhaps many players simply misunderstand how Lunars are meant to be employed.

I'll start it off. I'm one of those players that can't play a Lunar properly. I tried it for only about 5 sessions, admittedly, but kept getting annoyed at high XP costs, and feeling that I needed to get my Essence up so I could get my DBT levels up. I just felt like I couldn't cut it with Solars around, and as there were 3 Solars to 2 Lunars, there were enough Solars to fill mostly all niches, leaving the Lunars left playing 'second fiddle'. Given this feeling, can anyone start showing some ways to play Lunars that they don't feel like they need tons of DBT to even hold a candle to the mighty Solars? - GregLink

It might help if you are explicit about exactly what your thesis is. I.e, what does "fine" mean. -FlowsLikeBits

Well, I think what "fine" is should really be left up to people who really think that, as-written, Lunars are quite alright and workable. - David. who suddenly realizes that this comment might actually answer the question...
Not broken as written. It is the contention of many people that canon Lunars do not live up to the coolness level given by the other fatsplats, that while the other Exalted types are inclusive and very open to reinterpretation or use in a number of way Lunars are basically stuck with being part of the Silver Pact or being hunted by their own and the Wyld Hunt. I mean, hell, they have a whole mechanic (which is IMO quite nifty) that is useless if you cannot stand the Pact - which I cannot.
Lunars also have a very strange mixture of Charms - Two Target Method; which is objectively worse than just splitting for two attacks, and Lightning Stroke Attack; which is scary and wierd. - Moxiane
Culturally, you can do a lot with the Lunars. The Silver Pact and the Wyld Hunt are the two social/dramatic focal points that are well-described in the books because, well, those are the two canonical assumptions. But you can do a lot more, AND if you like Renown, you can still use it. Socially, what do YOU want to see from Lunars? -- BillGarrett, who will write up more information at BillGarrett/Lunars soon.
Also, the value of Two Target Method is that it only involves one dice action - a single attack roll. When in a Combo, that is what counts for how many times you must activate your Simple, Supplemental, etc. Charms. This means that you can spread the effects of the other Charms in the Combo across two targets at half the price. -- BillGarrett
Wreeow! You can put it in a Combo to offset the silly costs of the other bas Charms you paid too much XP for! I'm so excited I can't find my pants. - willows
Take it back to FixTheLunars if you don't like it. -- BillGarrett
I'm quite happy here, thanks. The Wiki isn't your private sandbox. - willows
I'm not entirely sure that's the case, due to the Charm's Extra Action type. - David.
This is exactly how Extra Action Charms work. Go read the wording for EA Charms in Combos. Then go look at the reverse of this, the Solar One Weapon, Two Blows. Does OWTB require you only spend activation costs once, because there is one target, or does it require two activations because there are two dice actions (both attacks)? -- BillGarrett
As I understand it, you pay the cost of other Simple/Supplemental Charms in the Combo every time you roll an attack. If you only roll once and simply apply the results to multiple targets (Two-Target Method) or the same target multiple times (One Weapon, Two Blows), I'd only charge you once for the Simple/Supplementals. I'm not sure how canon that is, though. -TheMyriadOfShades
Why not just keep things simple and consistent, and go by the Combo guidelines as written? One dice action = one activation of all Simple/Supplemental Charms, regardless of how many targets are being affected. This makes TTM much like any other Lunar Charm - powerful when used in its niche, eminently Comboable, and more useful than if you didn't have it. -- BillGarrett
The Combo rules for Extra Action Charms do not address Charms that use one attack roll for multiple attacks. One Weapon, Two Blows does not say anything at all about how it works in Combos with Simple and Supplemental Charms. Central Pillar Attack Pattern Mastery, the pinnacle of Crimson Pentacle Blade, applies one attack roll (with diminishing effectiveness) to multiple targets, and it also does not address how it works in conjunction with Supplemental and Simple Charms. We could argue this indefinitely, but the rules do not make it clear which way this works.
More to the point, I am of a mind that a Charm that is of no use (not only that, using this Charm is worse than splitting your dice pool for two attacks) outside of a Combo is a bad Charm. Even if your interpretation is applied, Two-Target Method is a Charm that is useless in all but the most contrived situations outside of a Combo. How many other Charms actually involve the character spending Essence in order to penalize himself? - David.
I think the rules make it entirely clear - one dice action, or one roll, means one activation of other Combo'ed Charms. Number of targets doesn't even enter into it. Here's my rationale: the Regular Old Attacks that would be made if you just used the EA Charm do damage, just like normal. Nobody is questioning that someone being hit by OWTB will take damage twice, and nobody is questioning that two targets will take damage from a single attack roll with TTM. You make one or more attacks (depending on the Charm), the target(s) receive a defense (maybe) which reduces the successes that apply to them, damage dice vs. soak is figured, and damage is rolled. So extend that to the effects of Charms - I make one attack roll with TTM, spread my successes between the two targets, and also spread my supplemental/simple effects between them in exactly the same way. Everything stays consistent.
Why isn't this the obvious interpretation? Is there some feeling that Charm activation costs suddenly become unfair, or unbalanced? -- BillGarrett
Even if you are correct about the activation of Simple and Supplemental Charms with TTM (which the rules do not make clear, regardless of how "obvious" you think it is), the fact remains that TTM is a worthless Charm outside of a Combo or the most contrived of circumstances. - David.
I would go with Bill's version, as it makes sense. There are some other charms like this also, Central Pillar Attack Pattern(Pinnacle charm of Crismon Pentacle Blade Style) and Rain of Feathery Death. One could make TTM supplemental like Rain of Feathery Death. CPAP is like TTM in that it is worse than splitting your action, but you make one attack roll. I would rule you pay once for things that affect the attack roll, multiple times for things that affect the target.(So you pay once for die-adders, multiple times for damamge effects) -FlowsLikeBits
This is supported by GCG's observation on AWD and RoFD: Thus_Spake_Zargrabowski/AccuracyWithoutDistance -- BillGarrett
Totally dismissing for now the difference in Charm types, Geoff said that he'd make one specific Supplemental effect be paid for once, but others would have to be paid per instance. For these comments from the developer to really be relevant, you need to divide up Simple and Supplemental effects by whether the affect the attack roll or the target (not that hard, but one more step in bookkeeping). - David.
By the rules exactly, all supplementals benefit one action. Action is where the fuzzyness is. However, by a definition of 'action' as one roll of the dice or one conceptual effect (which might affect more than one target, or one target more than once) then all supplemental charms need to be activated only once to add their bonuses to every damage roll or every target, no matter what, as long as it's only the one roll. I personally think this is unfortunately rather broken, and so I go with GCG's interpretation that the attack-roll and the target are separate, and supplementals actually come in different flavours (attack-supplementing and target-effect-supplementing). Yes, it's more book-keeping, but from a standpoint where we're not asking 'which rules set is right' but 'which seems to represent people shooting each other with mystical flaming arrows of multiplicative doom' (which is what the writers were originally aiming for, we hope) then it makes more sense to split it that way. Now... Back to the topic at hand, Two-Target method is classed as an Extra Action... But it doesn't actually -give- you any extra actions. Thus, what it's actually doing is supplementing the action you already have, but as an extra action charm. It's closer to either a Simple or Supplementary based on the charm-text, nowhere do you get another action of any type, so I believe it's a case of charm-mistyping. The only way it would be extra action is if you declare 'action' to mean something that effects a single target... then, it would give two of them. However, that breaks other things, especially area-based attacks. Rain of Feathered Doom is another charm that really doesn't actually grant any extra actions, but the type of charm is more a combo-behavior factor than telling you what the charm does. Note both of these are lunar. As such, I think the only sane way, as above, is to view supplementals as modifying rolls and results separately, and disassociate them from actions entirely. You can re-cast certain extra-action charms as supplementary if you'd like them to be more effective, Two-Target and One-Weapon-Two-Blows seem the most worthy for this, yet leave other such as Rain of Feathered Doom as a power-limitation feature, but, in the end, it's up to how you interpret rules that just don't specify enough, and change depending on each splat and sometimes each charm.
-- Darloth

Well... I had a fun experience the other day in the Exalted solo game I'm running for my girlfriend. She, a dawn caste, was having a cute little sparring match with her full-moon spear weilding Lunar buddy. Much to my chagrin, she couldn't win. Out of four matches, each match ending when one character delivered what could have been a deadly blow, had they been playing for keeps, she beat him once, and that time she only managed it by dropping a tree on him.

The build? He's a budding soak-regen lizard lunar with the second regeneration gift and the first soak gift. What won him the match was Crouching Tiger Stance and absurd DBT-boosted die pools. It'll be even more rediculous when I add the melee charms that let him control the placement of his opponents. Before this, I thought Lunars could never stand up to Solars in a straight fight, and now I'm not too sure. She's got Fivefold Bulwark Stance now; I'll tell you how their next match goes. -Seraph

I don't have much time now, so I'll add more as I get a chance.

First thing to realize is that the neutral, sterilized duel format we all love to build combat characters in isn't exactly how fights happen in games. Some character types benefit from duels-- Solars and Sidereals are good at that sort of thing. Lunars, not so much. They can hold their own if they DBT-max, but that's it.

That's because in the mechanics and in the game, Lunars are assumed to be, like animals, masters of quick action and bodyguarding and ambush and that sort of thing. Their Charms themselves reflect this-- what other Exalted type has an excellent multi-turn dice adders that only work if you can prepare for a bit?

It's the shapeshifting, you see. Lunars are built around it-- they may not be as versatile in a stand-up fight like other Exalted, but if you have a cat or mouse or bird form to sneak around in at night when people are sleeping and a snake form for biting sleeping people, that's a ton of assassination potential right there. What do shapeshifters excel at? Catching people from surprise-- you don't need a ton of scenelongs if your opponent has no time to put them up. You just need to be able to go from sneaky (a mouse) to deadly (a saber-toothed tiger) fairly quickly. And if they do survive to put their scenelongs up, you're a shapeshifter. Run or fly or swim away in some speedy animal form, and catch them from surprise later.

What I'm saying is, Lunars are more deadly in in-game situations than in the duels people generally run. -TheMyriadOfShades

True, but you're talking about Changing Moon-type only here. What about the Full Moon types? The intelligent types? Lunars are supposedly 'generals' and 'second in command to the Solar near-god'. I think the real issue is that for someone supposedly second (or even third) to the Solars, you get something that 'feels' a lot weaker, and a lot more limited in what they can do, than even a DB. I think that's the real issue here - there's no room for a good Lunar, and the niche they're supposed to have is a much bigger one. You've got your shape-shifting assassin, your soak monster, and your No Moon sorceror. That's it. Those are your three choices. Want to play a general? A leader of men? (Even if a bit uncivilized) What about a craftsman? Anything but those three choices? - GregLink
You can do most of that. Go into the Charm trees. There are leadership and general-ing Charms. Craftsmen get Shaping the Once-Living Form and Tool-Hand Technique to start-- you can imagine where it goes from there.
The Full Moon types work best from ambush, too-- the difference is that a Full Moon is more likely to suddenly knock your wall down as a mammoth while a Changing Moon is more likely to appear as some deadly snake in your bed. Also, even if you're not fighting from ambush and you don't have DBT, there's something to be said for the fact that someone in a tiger or elephant shape tossing around Lunar combat Charms is a pretty scary opponent-- shapeshifting also gets you stat boosts.
The reason the Lunars were referred to as the leaders of the night Realm and the reason the Night Castes used them as support is because they're very excellent at being the mysterious beasts of the night. They also make excellent bodyguards, what with being the only Exalted type to get 3 seperate Charms that let you defend for others. They're referred to as generals and second to the Solars because they were built to be the ultimate in right/left-hand men-- you can just as easily dispatch them to spy on your subjects as you can dispatch them to fly to a far-distant land to hunt something down, and no one realizes that you have an Exalted bodyguard until the cat in the corner turns into a tyrant lizard and starts biting everything.
I'm not sure where you get the idea that they're all that limited in what they do. What can't they do? I see entire charm trees and roleplaying opportunities that have nothing to do with assassination, soaking, or sorcery, and most of them are fairly effective at what they do. Certainly, I'd rather play an active-defense Lunar than a soak-Lunar. Why are you ignoring all that? -TheMyriadOfShades
Check LunarsAreFine/ChangingMoons for a brief discussion about leading armies. Short summary: Lunars don't make excellent commanders-in-chief, but they sure do make shit-hot unit leaders at any level below that. Which is, of course, Myriad's thesis here. -- BillGarrett

Now, how about non-combat Lunars? What do they have to offer?

Well, to begin, look to shapeshifting. Some people complain that Lunars don't make good thieves, for example. If you've got Tool-Hand Technique, Rat-Head Technique, and a few useful shapes for mobility, small size, and sneaking, then you're gonna make an excellent thief.

What about the whole trickster thing they're supposed to have going? Well Shaping the Ideal Form alone makes your appearance changeable from meeting to meeting. There's no end to the wackiness that can ensue when you can rewrite people's Virtues with Emotion-Shaping Technique.

But their Charms are so expensive! Well, they don't need that many of them. Because their Charms aren't tied to Abilities and their uses aren't even always tied to specific Attributes, many of them have very, very wide use. Unspeaking Aura of Dread is a dice adder for all social rolls, for example, whether you're trying to seduce someone or convince them to buy your boat for more than its worth.

What are some things people normally miss? People miss that Full Moons make excellent active defense monkeys. People miss that the Changing Moon anima power doesn't specify that you have to be in a specific shape to use it and is pretty much a perfect success on a visual disguise roll-- sure, you can't talk, but if the king doesn't realize you're not his manservant but instead a 9-foot badgerman until he's in the bath, then I don't think he's in a position to nitpick. People miss that No Moons make superb scouts, especially if they fly. People miss that when you have Charms and gifts that are resisted with Virtues (Foe-Taunting Utterance, the fear gifts), being able to rewrite people's Virtues ahead of time is a wonder. People miss that being extremely speedy is often an effective way to control a combat. People miss the investigation powers hidden under the Enhanced Smell tree.

I think, to illustrate my point, I'll write up an example character or two to illustrate that there are more than 3 effective Lunar builds. Any specific requests on what they should be good at? -TheMyriadOfShades

Well, being the devil's advocate for the page, I'm gonna say look to my whiny post about how you can't do anything with them for some ideas. I think we'd do well to start coming up with Lunars that are both interesting and fully functional, then maybe add a paragraph or two on why they're that way. Most players can't look at a Lunar sheet and see the awesome jump out at them - someone needs to point out what charms interact in what way, and why it all is awesome. I wish you luck, Myriad. - GregLink
Another thought-- Solars are a bad comparison, socially. Their leadership-fu is amazingly powerful, and they're the best as mass persuation and stuff like that. A Lunar's social prowess should be better compared to a Sidereal's, although where the Siddies are consummate viziers and secret agents, Lunars should be consummate mates, frontmen, and manipulators. - TheMyriadOfShades

I think an underlying, more general point can be extracted from the bureaucracy comment above (and some of the others): before you object that "lunars don't have charms to do X" consider how they might use pure shapeshifting to accomplish the same goal as X.

That said, one request I have for those who post here: I think the basic point of this page was to have people who think lunars work as is explain why this is so to those that don't understand how lunars work. To that end, a comment like "people miss that Full Moons make excellent active defense monkeys" doesn't help me as a reader, unless it is followed by "here's how a full moon can make an excellent active defense monkey". - Wordman

Look at the top of the page. -- BillGarrett
Sweet. I added another that I'd love to hear more about. - Wordman
I'm also totally happy with the way this is going. Quite nice. - GregLink

Just adding more support for these pages, they're great, and I really do want to stress that saying "they can do X, like this, with A and B put togeather like this" is a wonderful way of proving it. Please keep it up... I still don't think certain lunar charms were designed correctly though. Things like Two Target Method and Steel Paw Style(clearly terrestrial), especially with canon charm-costs. Perhaps some sort of LunarsAreAlmostFineButNeedTweakingABit (with a less silly name) should be made, to integrate fixes and the masses of unconventional wisdom on this page, and thus make lunars what they clearly can be.
-- Darloth
I think FixTheLunars is the place for minor revisions like that. I take what I consider a stance of revision rather than rewriting when it comes to Lunars - I like how they work, I think I get how they're meant to work, I just think that they suffer from what could be as simple as bad editing. Small Charm fixes, along with a little bit of tree-trimming and some custom Charms to fill in a few gaps would solve the "problems" I see with canon Lunars. Oddly enough, I was just considering this today, I think I may go over to FixTheLunars to try to spark a discussion aimed more at revising than rewriting Lunars. - David.