From Exalted - Unofficial Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

The Artifact Creation Errata is Broken

Most people who know about the ArtifactCreationErrata (unofficial Artifact-creation guidelines used by the writer of Bo3C) agree that it has some problems. However, the problems with these rules run deeper than previously imagined. I don't think that anyone has made the following observation yet, or if they have, that they have mentioned it. To illustrate the problem, I present the following artifact:

Wires of Infinite Precision

Conceive of a starmetal wire so thin that, if left to hang, it twists and turns with eddies in the winds of fate. A wire so delicate as to be utterly useless as a weapon, save if wielded with truly inhuman skill. Before the First Age, one Twilight Solar did conceive of such a weapon. The subtlety of its design mirrored the perfect order of Creation itself; its meticulously measured twists and coils each mirrored a fundamental principle of material and Essence, together forming a structure whose passage was calculate to bend Essence flows and warp reality itself. The only fault of the design was that the Essence drag slowed the wielder down asymptotically -- indeed, a wielder would perceive time to come to a standstill as the weapon connected. The Twilight crafted two of these weapons, each a compliment of the other. However, when the Twilight first attuned his creations to test their abilities, the Primordials sensed them and were displeased. The power of the Wires of Infinite Precision touched too close to the Primordials' own axiomatic natures, and for a brief instant their attention withdrew from the war and focused upon this annoyance. Despite their power, the weapons were useless against the might of the Primordials. The nameless Twilight perished under the fires of Adrian, and his work of genius was lost to memory. The Wire of Infinite Precision was a work of prodigy even for a Solar Exalted of the Twilight Caste: the feat would never be replicated in the First Age. Just prior to the Usurption, a reincarnation of the original Twilight inventor had stumbled upon the principles which might have allowed him to reinvent this weapon.

There are two possible designs for the Wire of Infinite Precision, Rek and Ro. Rek is a death sentence: its passage demands that reality reweave itself to arrange for the target's death. (For Rek's purposes, any target against whom successes on the attack roll add to damage is considered "alive.") A mere flick of Ro is sufficient to turn aside any blow, as reality itself bends to parry the attack. Rek and Ro exploit fundamental properties of Essence: when attuned, they will function anywhere that other artifacts can, inside or outside of Creation. However, Rek and Ro are not without limitations: although each exemplifies one aspect of perfection, they are constrained by that which they exemplify. Rek's attacks and Ro's parries are treated as having infinite successes on every roll, but they are still attacks and defenses: they are as vulnurable as any others to Essence techniques that warp reality to deny the very concept of attack or parry. Thus, Rek's attacks have no special advantage against perfect defenses, and Ro's parries can be thwarted by unblockable attacks. Attacks that negate all damage from an attack will defend against Rek's death effect. Although the only two Wires of Infinite Precision ever created were made from starmetal, in principle Rek and Ro could be crafted from any of the Five Magical Materials.

Speed -∞ Accuracy +∞ Damage +0L Defense -∞
Artifact <b>•</b>; Commitment 3; Requires: (see below)

Speed -∞ Accuracy -∞ Damage +0L Defense +∞
Artifact<b>•</b>; Commitment 3; Requires: (see below)

(Note: the description is all fluff. The mechanical effects of Rek and Ro are contained entirely within their statistics.)


1. By the ArtifactCreationErrata, you can add 1 to the base damage of a weapon by increasing one of its prerequisites by one dot (or adding a new prerequisite).
2. The rules also allow you to trade points of base damage for points of accuracy or defense, at a ratio of 1 to 2.
3. The penalty for wielding a weapon whose prerequisites you do not meet is -1 to speed, accuracy, and defense for each dot that you fall short of the minimum.
4. So, a Wire of Infinite Precision has a minimum Melee of an arbitrarily high number. Twice that number of points can be added either to accuracy or defense.

What were presented in the previous section were the effective stats of Rek and Ro. Their actual stats are:

Speed 0 Accuracy +2x Damage +0L Defense 0
Artifact <b>•</b>; Commitment 3; Requires: <b>Melee x</b>

Speed 0 Accuracy 0 Damage +0L Defense +2x
Artifact<b>•</b>; Commitment 3; Requires: <b>Melee x</b>

Where <b>x is as high as you please. (Technically, Rek and Ro benefit from magical materials bonuses, but that is irrelevant except for low values of x, or in the case of Soulsteel. Rek and Ro have their commitment costs based on Short Daiklaves.)


By the ArtifactCreationErrata, you can make a level 1 Artifact that will give you an arbitrarily high attack or parry modifier. (The weapon will have a penalty twice as great to initiative and the other action.) This could be fixed by capping the maximum Ability/Skill requirements for artifacts, or by using DariusSolluman's alternate artifact-creation rules.


Too bad the universe will end before your initiative-negative-infinity attack goes off. "Stand right there and don't move while I haul this cosmic string around..."
But seriously, as you note in the summary, this is an ad absurdum argument. Only a complete nimrod would ever expect to present a weapon which takes advantage of this "bug" and have their Storyteller take them seriously. Heck, I barely take Ability and Attribute minimums seriously to begin with. "No, you can't give this artifact weapon extra powers because it requires Melee 5 and Dex 5. You started with Melee 5 and Dex 5."

Doesn't an initiative of -∞ just mean that you'll always go last in the round? That's why I wrote that silly "from the wielder's perspective time stops" thing: someone wielding the super-accuracy weapon is slower than anything else in the universe, yet somehow he always manages to complete his swings (he splits his dice pool an infinite number of ways, natch) in three seconds. :p (And yes, of course this would never be approved. That's the point.) -- Raindoll

Just use Thunderclap Rush Attack and make your initiative score irrelevant ;) -Translucidity

But like I said, that's irrelevant because there's no way this idea would ever slip through even the most rudimentary "Check For and Reject Dumbass Notions" routine. Sort of like the idea that Solars can accumulate infinite temporary Willpower points through repeated Limit Break.

What's absured about that notion? I'd argue it was one of the reasons the Solars fell- the very process of Breaking brings a powerful cathartic release, providing an excellent reason to seek it out again. DS
I don't think it's absurd that Solar might get hooked on Limit because it gives them Willpower. I do think it's unwise to allow Limit Break to give even more Willpower when you're already beyond your maximum from a previous break. I think it's flat-out idiotic to purposefully Break over and over again by using the Limit-adding Charms from Zenith, with friends standing by to knock you unconscious so the Break doesn't make you do anything stupid, in order to increase your Willpower arbitrarily high.
AH! That's something else entirely- an abuse of a metagame mechanic, rather than the simple idea of gaining an arbitrarily high amount of Willpower. Characters shouldn't know that they are breaking, or about to break- they should treat assaults on them while they are Breaking as they would have when they were sane. IMO, anywho. DS

I wasn't arguing this was a feasible idea, I was just exploring a way to make it even more absurd. -Translucidity

The points from dot minimums is one of the weaker points of Liz Brooks' artifact system, in the sense that it can be senselessly abused if the user doesn't keep at least a little common sense. Alternatively, it gives a chance for artifacts within a single dot vary in power, as they clearly do, for better or worse, which Darius' rules, though perfectly fine, don't appear to allow. That said though, the infinite Melee prerequisite stomps on this pretty thoroughly. Either system works quite well, though Darius' is harder for someone to completely abuse completely, though I think I prefer Liz' system, for whatever reason. _Jabberwocky

Rather, I stealthily off-set it, pushing that bit of variance into the selection of the inital weapon.  :) DS
Truth, truth. _Jabberwocky
I'm a big fan of the system where you determine an artifact's ranking by just interpolating from published examples. It's more artistic!
The trouble is, you can't actually extrapolate the book's artifacts from the old creation system; almost all of them needed a tweak and a tuck. Part of my motivation was to remedy that. :) DS
Even without such ridiculousness as the wires, Brooks's system is still broken. Given that two attack dice yield an average of one success, which adds to damage, you should always shift all your damage points into accuracy under her system. Granted, this starts looking like abuse, but where is the border? Is shifting all but one point of damage into accuracy abuse? How about only three-quarters? The whole point of a system is that it should be balanced to start with. A system that needs large amounts of GM fiat is of next to no use.
-- Mapache
Ooh, yeah, forgot about that. In my defense, it's been a bit since I've actually used the system. What happens when you use Accuracy as the initial statistic, and derive things from there? _Jabberwocky
Hm. An interesting question. I guess it depends a bit- are you considering Accuracy = Damage = 2 Speed = 2 Defense? It's not so much what you take as your inital stat, as the conversion between them. DS

Concerning the negative inititive: I seem to remember something in the Ebon Shadow Style (Distracting Finger Gesture?) that reduces the opponents inititive. It also says that if their inititive is reduced below 1 they don't get an action. If this artifact were created I would not allow them to have an action for, well, ever. My 2 bits -TzalFlameforge

Two things: One, this is a reductio ad absurdum, not a real item that someone actually pretends is balanced. Second, it's Generally Bad to assume that things in Charms texts are general rules, rather than specific effects of Charms; as there are numerous items with severe initiative penalties that don't disable you the way that Ebon Shadow Charms do (see clinching...), I'd gather that this effect of DFG is a specific Charm effect. - willows
Having not read the artifact errata and assuming it was Fair and Balanced (I know, I should know better by now...) I was just commenting on this particular instance of unbalance. Obviously this was intended as a critique of the errata. Having read the pertinent errata now it seems silly and very, very easy to unbalance in a number of ways. As for it being Generally Bad, this is true; before deciding if something should apply to the whole system you need to think about the ramifications that will have on the system. I admit I haven't thought about it that much because it hasn't come up in any game that I'm involved with. If my intention was not clear, I apologize. -TzalFlameforge
^_^ It's much more fun to discuss with people when you don't fully know their intention; please don't apologise! Just know that I'm discussing in the spirit, well, of discussion. - willows
I read a very funny proposal on RPG.net along similar themes but it was based on official silliness; strategy is represented by a craft(war) skill, right? So.. Craftsman needs no tools allows you to destroy another army single-handedly without penalty, right? :P - Alaron
Actually, I'd think that as Craft(War) has to do with the crafting of strategy, Craftsman Needs No Tools would more likely allow you to come up with awesome strategies against enemy armies without any of the stuff you normally need to craft strategies, like, say, maps, little pewter figurines, or a good idea of what your enemy is going to do. On the plus side, you could stand around spouting random ideas that would, depending on how much Craft(War) you HAVE, end up being remarkably effective. ~ WeepingStar
Right, but given the effects that such strategies could have on combat, it could really even the odds when taking a small force against a large one, or practically guarantee victory when taking a large force against a small one. Then again, aren't those things that Solars should do anyway? In ExaltedSecond, War may well have a similar effect itself... - IanPrice