From Exalted - Unofficial Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

An Attempt to Make Sorcery Casteless

There are a lot of things I don't like about the way sorcery is done in "Exalted", but the big thing I hate is the fact that sorcery is attached to the Occult Ability. Sure, Occult should be useful for sorcery, even necessary for someone to be a decent sorcerer; but making sorcery into an Occult Charm is misguided.

I'm detaching sorcery from Occult for the purposes of my games. This page explains why and how.

If you like this, you should check out FourWillowsWeeping's casteless Martial Arts rules. (I swear I wasn't trying to steal his ideas when I wrote this! I didn't know, man!)


Here's a quick synopsis of the overall reasons I decided to do this.

Firstly, attaching sorcery to Occult by making it an Occult Charm overpowers the Occult Ability. I don't like making Occult automatically more useful than everything else (except, arguably, for Martial Arts).

It also makes certain Castes, Aspects, etc into better sorcerers from the start. I have no problem with the fact that Occult is canonically attached to certain Castes. I just don't like the fact that Air Aspects, for example, are assumed from Exaltation to be natural sorcerers. The same goes for the Twilight Caste and the Chosen of Secrets. This tends to stereotype the Caste more than I like, frequently forcing them into the "sorcerer" mold. I think that the Twilight Caste, for example, has a lot to offer aside from sorcery -- they're my favourite Caste. But if you take a look at their CasteBook, then you find that sorcery is automatically given to them every time, and the book has a disproportionate focus on sorcery.

Furthermore, I want sorcery to be something that's available to non-sages. I find this to be particularly consistent with the setting, which frequently notes that there are many kinds of sorcerers -- battlemages, research magicians, etc. However, there's no real way to specialize in sorcery right now. If sorcery is detached from a single Ability, and the spells all use different rolls rather than all relying on Occult, then I can start to eliminate the everyone-with-high-Occult-is-good-at-all-spells syndrome. The major difference between these spells right now is their flavour, not the actual rolls or skills needed to use them, and I want to change that.

Lastly, and possibly most importantly from a metaplot standpoint, I don't think that sorcery ought to be treated so similarly to Charms. Sorcery was given to the Exalted after they were created -- arguably by a force completely different from their creators -- and I want to separate it from the rest of their magic in order to remain consistent with this.

Sorcery versus Occult

The idea behind this system is that sorcery itself -- i.e., the actual casting of spells -- is, quite simply, a person forcing reality to conform to her will using only pure power and a method learned by rote. (Note: I'm not saying that this is necessarily the way the setting has defined it; I am, however, saying that it is the definition that I am going to be using, because I like it and enjoy it for the purposes of my games.) Therefore, actually casting a spell requires nothing but pure will and control of Essence to execute (obviously, these are represented by Willpower and Essence scores). Knowledge of the Occult doesn't come into it; the spell, in itself, is nothing but a memorized set of mystical steps, executed by means of a forceful effort of will. And for the most part, Occult doesn't come into the use of the spell's effects, either, because once a sorcerous effect has been created, it's immutable until the sorcerer's will fails her -- understanding the Essence-mechanics of a sword created by sorcery doesn't help a character fight with it any more than understanding the Essence-mechanics of another sword does. Occult knowledge will help a person know how to use any magical powers the sword has, but it doesn't help the character use it as a sword.

This does not make Occult useless for sorcerers! Occult is still the statistic that entirely covers a person's understanding, knowledge and perception of Essence, as well as general "mystical" knowledge such as, for example, the magical nature of spirits and demons. (This differs from Lore in that Lore covers specific knowledge about what spirits and demons are known to have done. So, for example, a person with high Lore and no Occult might know that Sondok the demoness wears red armour, guards closed portals, and fights really well; they might even have heard a rumour about one of her weaknesses. But a person with high Occult could just glance at Sondok and, even if they'd never heard of her, they could immediately recognize her nature, what kind of magical techniques she could use, where her Essence is strong and where it is weak, how different kinds of Essence affect her, and more.)

So, among a lot of other things, Occult still explicitly covers the following:

  • The creation and modification of spells. Sorcerers still have to understand Essence in order to make spells; but once the spell has been created, anyone can memorize it (although they'd have to have the relevant sorcery "Charm" in order to actually be able to cast it -- in other words, they must have learned the technique of properly focusing their mind). A sorcerer cannot even attempt to create or modify a spell without at least 1 in the Occult Ability; if they try then they will certainly be damaged in some way. 1 is dangerous, 2 is pushing it; the wise sorcerer only begins to work confidently with minor spells at 3.
  • Understanding the nature of spells. Lots of people can memorize and cast a spell, but that doesn't mean they understand what they're doing. When asked what the wider (and subtler) effects of her magic are, a sorcerer with 0 Occult won't know; when asked why it works, she won't know; basically, when asked anything about the Essence she's manipulating ("Where does it come from?" or "What kind of Essence is it?" or "What is a spell, anyway?" or "Why did that spell explode in your face like that?"), she won't know (though she might think she does).
  • Perceiving the action and reaction of a spell's Essence. A person with no Occult is incapable of recognizing what kind of spell is being cast, even if she's a sorcerer, unless it is a spell that she has learned and it is being cast by a member of her sorcerous school; even then she'll have to make a roll, and it won't be easy. Only by buying ranks in the Occult Ability will someone be able to recognize even the broadest types of spells as they are cast or determine what their effects will be.
  • Protecting oneself against a disrupted spell's effects. If a sorcerer with 0 Occult loses control of a spell (for example, if wounded while casting it), she's screwed. The spell will backlash and probably kill her as she frantically fails to determine what it's doing -- after all, it's not like she even knew what it did in the first place. A sorcerer with high Occult who loses control of a spell will still not be happy, but will probably be able to dodge, redirect or defuse the out-of-control Essence without too much trouble.

In conclusion: feel free to take sorcery without any Occult, but don't complain if your sorcerer gets horribly messed with or dies because she failed to control a spell while wounded, used the wrong spell for a given situation or place, or whatever.

Buying Sorcery

Sorcery no longer has an Occult requirement, but merely an Essence requirement. This requirement is the same as ever (3 for Terrestrial Circle, 4 for Celestial, 5 for Solar). The basic structure and Experience costs are also the same (although I should note that I use Morpheus's houseruled Experience system, which has already changed the Experience costs of spells).

A would-be sorcerer buys the relevant Sorcery "Charm" -- Terrestrial Circle Sorcery, Celestial Circle Sorcery, Solar Circle Sorcery -- although it is no longer technically a Charm; it is treated as a Charm for the sake of simplicity, much like Ox-Body Technique. (For the purposes of Morpheus's Experience system, the "Ability" for the Sorcery Charm is always 5.) Then she buys spells at their normal Experience cost.

Favoured Sorcery

You can't favour sorcery. If a character takes the "Brigid's Heir" Merit, then the sorcery "Charms" are treated as favoured in terms of experience cost; this is the only way to favour the initial sorcery "Charms" in terms of experience cost. The costs of the spells themselves are halved, as per the original Merit. ("Brigid's Heir" is now a 4-point Merit for everyone, not just for members of the Twilight Caste.)


Sorcerous Specialties would formerly have applied to Occult (for example, a mage under the canon system might have taken a Specialty in Fire Sorcery, which would formerly have added dice to all his rolls to perform or understand fire sorcery). Now, they are free-floating. However, sorcerous Specialties are only added to sorcery rolls, so, for example, a mage with a sorcerous Specialty in Fire Magic would only get his sorcerous Specialty added to his roll to perform a fireball spell; he would not get the Specialty when trying to research fire magic or perceive fire magic -- that all fits under a separate Occult specialty.

The reasoning behind sorcerous Specialties is that, although book-learning and understanding of Essence has nothing to do with actually casting a spell, it is still possible to be better at casting a certain kind of spell simply because: one becomes familiar with bending that particular kind of Essence to one's will; one has a greater purely magical mastery over a particular kind of Essence; or perhaps one is more used to doing a certain kind of thing with the power of the mind. It is better to think of sorcerous Specialties not the way one would think of Ability Specialties, but -- perhaps -- as a kind of Willpower, Essence or Virtue Specialty. They are not something that can be taught. They are something that comes from the sorcerer's understanding of himself and his personal usage of sorcery.

Characters can have as many sorcerous Specialties as they want and can raise them as high as they wish; the cap on sorcerous Specialties is not 5 or the character's Essence, but the character's Willpower. Sorcerous Specialties never stack, so if a mage has two sorcerous Specialties that could apply to the same roll, then he uses the higher one. Experience-wise, they are treated as an Attribute.

Example. Morpheus is a Celestial Circle sorcerer with 4 Essence, a sorcerous specialty of 4 in Fire Magic, and 4 Occult. When casting Magma Kraken, Flight of the Brilliant Raptor, Internal Flame, Virtuous Guardian of Flame, or other fiery spells, he may always add 4 dice to the intrinsic spell-casting rolls because of his Fire Magic sorcerous Specialty. (For example, he may add 4 dice to his Wits + Thrown roll to aim Flight of the Brilliant Raptor.) However, if he is trying to research a fiery spell, then that's an Occult roll, and he may not add his sorcerous Specialty to it. If he had a separate Occult Specialty in Fire Magic, then he could add it to attempts to research new fire spells. He also explicitly may not add his sorcerous Specialty even to Occult rolls directly related to the spell if they are not part of casting the spell (for example, if he gets hit and must roll Wits + Occult to retain his spell, then he may not add his sorcerous Specialty to that roll; but he could add a relevant Occult Specialty if he had any).

Sample Sorcerous Specialties: A given type or Aspect of sorcery (e.g., fire sorcery, sorcery that involves songs); a given sorcerous action (e.g., confusion, precise manipulation); a given state of mind while using sorcery (e.g. anger, ecstasy)


I am ignoring necromancy because I do not care about it.

Using Sorcery

Sorcery in action works the same as ever, except for some changes to various rolls. The character spends the appropriate number of Willpower points to turn on the relevant "Charm", then spends the appropriate number of turns shaping the Essence, spends the Essence, and the spell goes off as normal. After some consideration, I've decided to leave the rolls for distraction during casting, newly-learned spells, and inventing sorcery as they are in the core rulebook (pages 216 - 217).

Specific Changes to Spell Rolls and Effects

Some of these are just changes I've been meaning to make, but most are directly relevant. In general, rolls that involve Occult have been changed to something more appropriate, unless Occult is the most appropriate option; for example, spells that involve aiming now will generally use Thrown instead. Things that have no real reason to be Occult but no reason to be anything else either, and that are specifically part of the spell's casting, are generally Essence instead; this is the new "general sorcery" statistic. While Essence is what aids in the actual casting of the spell, in order to manipulate or use the spell's effects, one must use the appropriate skills.

  • Between the Minute and the Hour (S&S, 125): The sorcerer may view any event up to 100 years in the past for every dot of permanent Essence she has.
  • Blood Lash (S&S, 102): The blood lash now has a speed equal to the sorcerer's Essence.
  • Blood of Boiling Oil (Core, 220): I don't like this roll but I'm not sure what I'll do with it yet.
  • Cloud Trapeze (S&S, 126): The roll to hide the trapeze is now Wits + Larceny. Essence in automatic successes is still added.
  • Corrupted Words (S&S, 103): The difficulty to resist this spell's effects is now equal to the caster's Essence.
  • Curse of Slavish Humility (S&S, 104): The roll to resist this spell's effects is now Willpower.
  • Death of Obsidian Butterflies (Core, 217): The roll to aim this spell is now Perception + Awareness. Essence in automatic successes is still added.
  • All Demon-Summoning Spells (Core, 218, 220, 222): The roll to banish demons is now Willpower.
  • Disguise of the New Face (S&S, 105): The roll for this spell is now Perception + Larceny (note: this is normal for disguise rolls in my games) and the number of automatic successes added is now equal to the caster's Essence.
  • Dolorous Reflection (Core, 220): The roll to aim reflected attacks is now Wits + Thrown or Archery, dependent upon the missile.
  • Flight of Separation (S&S, 106): Players trying to determine what the caster's permanent Essence is now roll Intelligence + Occult (variable difficulty) to realize that they can do this at all, and then Perception + Awareness (difficulty 2) to try.
  • Flight of the Brilliant Raptor (S&S, 106): The roll to aim this spell is now Wits + Thrown. The raptor's base lethal damage is now the caster's Willpower, with a number of automatic successes equal to the caster's permanent Essence.
  • Flying Guillotine (S&S, 107): The roll to aim this spell is now Perception + Thrown.
  • Geyser of Corruption (S&S, 128): The sorcerer no longer has the option of aiming this spell using Occult; he must aim it with Dexterity + Thrown.
  • Imbue Amalgam (S&S, 128): A sorcerer cannot add more dots to an amalgam's given Ability or Attribute than twice her Essence, and she cannot spend more points on its soak than her Willpower. She cannot spend more motes on either weapon individually than her Willpower.
  • Incantation of Spiritual Discretion (S&S, 109): This spell now lasts for a number of days equal to the sorcerer's Essence.
  • Internal Flame (S&S, 110): The roll to attack using this spell is now Willpower + Essence.
  • Insidious Tendrils of Hate (S&S, 130): This spell lasts a number of days equal to the caster's Willpower and may be used on a number of beings equal to the caster's Essence.
  • Magma Kraken (S&S, 131): The tentacles have a Brawl rating equal to the caster's Essence.
  • Mast-Shattering Spell (S&S, 110): The roll to break a magically reinforced mast is now Willpower + Essence, and the difficulty is still equal to the reinforcer's Essence.
  • Peacock Shadow Eyes (S&S, 111): The opposed roll for this spell is now Willpower + Essence. The roll to convince a victim that she has been duped is now Manipulation + Presence, and the difficulty is still equal to the caster's Essence; this roll still requires irrefutable evidence for a chance to make it.
  • Plague of Bronze Snakes (S&S, 112): The snakes may now range 1,800 yards per dot of the caster's Essence. They are now capable of taking a number of health levels equal to the caster's Essence.
  • Private Plaza of Downcast Eyes (S&S, 112): The area for this spell is now defined by the character's Essence rather than Essence + Occult. It lasts for a number of days equal to the caster's Willpower.
  • Silent Words of Dreams and Nightmares (S&S, 116): The roll to advise the dream's target is now Manipulation + Socialize + Essence, and the target's Essence is added to the difficulty of the roll. If the dream is bolstering a course of action, the victim receives the sorcerer's Essence in extra dice to her Virtue roll.
  • Sorcerer's Irresistable Puppetry (S&S, 117): The sorcerer's player now rolls Willpower + Essence; the difficulty remains the target's Willpower + Essence. If the sorcerer attempts to repossess the target, then the target's roll to notice is now Perception + Occult. A sorcerer is incapable of even attempting to possess beings with an Essence equal to or higher than his own.
  • Spirit of Might (S&S, 118): This spell now lasts a number of turns equal to the sorcerer's Essence.
  • Spirit Sword (S&S, 118): The sorcerer may not use Occult to wield this sword. He must use Melee.
  • Sprouting Shackles of Doom (S&S, 118): The roll to attack with this spell is now Perception + Brawl or Martial Arts; successes equal to the caster's permanent Essence are still added.
  • The Spy Who Walks in Darkness (S&S, 119): The spy now lasts for a number of days equal to the sorcerer's Willpower.
  • Sting of the Ice Hornet (S&S, 121): The attack roll for this spell is now Perception + Thrown, and still gains a number of automatic successes equal to the caster's Essence. The difficulty to dodge the effects of this spell is now 3.
  • Summon Elemental (Core, 219): The roll to banish elementals is now Willpower.
  • Summoning the Eyeless Face McMinions (S&S, 121): This spell now creates a number of automata equal to the caster's Willpower.
  • Theft of Memory (S&S, 122): The roll to use this spell is now Willpower + Essence. If the caster doesn't attempt to hide the spell, then the difficulty of the roll to notice it is 1, not her Essence, and the roll to obscure the spell is now Charisma + Performance.
  • Thunder Wolf's Howl (S&S, 122): The damage for this roll is now Charisma + Performance; any appropriate voice specialties may apply.
  • Unstoppable Fountain of the Depths (S&S, 123): The attack roll for this spell is now Perception + Sail (I could very easily be argued out of this one). If a person is knocked down by the water, the difficulty of her roll to stand up is now the caster's Essence. The stream of water left over when the spell ends now lasts for a number of days equal to the caster's Willpower.
  • Virtuous Guardian of Flame (S&S, 124): The flamey thing now gets a dice pool equal to the caster's Willpower to parry incoming attacks.
  • Whirlwind of Fate (S&S, 138): The roll that adds dice to later rolls is now Perception + Occult. Sidereals get a bonus of their Essence in dice to this roll.

I'll finish these spells later; Adult Swim is on! Yay!


I think Sorcery should use occult, but hell thats me (I get itchy in D&D when casters don't have Spellcraft and KN{Arcana}). I didn't personally agree with the conversions, but they were well thought and executed. anyway this comment was mostly to say you rock for being an adult swim addict (like myself). Issaru

I also hate it when sorcerers fail to have Occult. However, I don't think sorcerers should be forced to have Occult. I get itchy in D&D if sorcerers don't take those skills, but I generally approve of the fact that it's not required. My point here is that Occult should be incredibly useful, and a sorcerer without Occult should be kind of boned -- and they are, under my system, because they'll be unable to (a) effectively create new spells, (b) keep hold of a spell if they get wounded, (c) tell what other sorcerers are doing with their spells, etc. They'll also lack much of the knowledge which would be really useful for them, like exactly how best to deal with the demon they're summoning or how to address the elemental they've summoned without pissing it off. However, if someone is dumb enough to want to learn sorcery without understanding with they're doing, more power to them. I'll have more fun screwing them when the spell backfires.  :)
~ Shataina
PS: <grin> Adult Swim rules. I'm less with the comedy myself and more with the Cowboy Bebop - Witch Hunter Robin (edit: who changed this to "wolf hunter rain"? did you think I was talking about "wolf's rain"?) - InuYasha crowd, but some of those comedies have their gems.
Hmmm... so why did you remove Occult as assisting in things like demon/elemental banishing? If I wanted to use this system, I'd probably keep most spell rolls based on Occult, just to reflect that Occulty-types make better sorcerors. - szilard
Because it wasn't the most appropriate option. Should you be using Occult to aim? No. You should be using an aiming Ability, like Thrown. Should you be using Occult to howl? No, you should be using a howling Ability, like Performance. The same goes for every single other change I've made. I changed every roll into rolls that I consider more appropriate for using the spell.
Here's the difference between sorcery and the Occult Ability. Occult is understanding and perception of Essence. Sorcery is, plain and simple, bending reality to your will using your mind and sheer magical power. This is why Willpower and Essence are so important. Your understanding of the Occult has nothing to do with how good you are at bending reality to your will using sorcery. Therefore, the actual creation of these spell-effects is confined almost entirely to Willpower and Essence. (And once the effect has been called into reality, your use of the effect depends entirely on how good you are at utilizing that type of effect; hence, you can use your pure strength of will to call a horrifying razor-chain of ultimate damage into reality, but you have to know how to aim things in order to hit people with it.)
Now, your understanding of the Occult does help you figure out what a spell is doing, or how magic is working / works in general, or general occult knowledge like what a given spirit might like for breakfast based on its Essence-nature, or how to shield yourself from magic's backlash. This is why Occult still allows you to develop spells, determine what spells are doing, and control the backlash if you're hit while casting a spell.
Demon and elemental banishing could have been left at Occult, I admit. At least, I would far sooner leave Occult as the roll for banishing a demon than I would for aiming a flying razor-chain. However, I just don't feel that Occult is relevant when banishing a demon (or elemental). This probably has more to do with my own conception of the spell; you use pure will and power to call the demon, and in order to send it back, your will should serve you better than your knowledge. Because, in reality, all a summoning / banishment is is a contest of wills and magical power, and I think it's dumb to say that while power and will calls the demon into the world, power and will has nothing to do with forcing it back to Malfeas.
As I've pointed out before, Occulty-types do make better sorcerers. You may be able to make a sorcerer with no Occult under my system, but will they be able to develop new spells? No. Will they understand the wider effects of the spells they cast? No. Will they be able to figure out what to do if their force of will fails them and the spell-effects get out of control? No. In effect, a sorcerer with 0 Occult is like, "Hey, look, I can use this giant flamey bird to kill that guy just by concentrating!" whereas a sorcerer with higher Occult is more likely to be like, "I summon an elemental of flame that the spell binds into attacking that target. This will have X effect on the Essence of this area; this type of attack will be more useful against Y opponent, and entirely useless against Z opponent. If I want, I can redesign this spell to make it better in a certain way, or I can extrapolate from this spell in order to create a different spell entirely. And if I should be suddenly wounded while casting this spell, my ability to understand and perceive Essence will help me keep the fiery backlash from destroying us all. Furthermore, it's useful to note that if I use this spell here, it will offend the local Water spirits, so I guess I better not do it at all." Wouldn't 0-Occult boy have been glad if he'd known that?
~ Shataina
Oh! Well i get your reasons a lot better now! I like it! It gives you a way of making a character that is very powerful magically (like by birthright or some-such),and completly at the whims of his/her own power. I admit i'm still a little wary about using it myself, but like i said before "thats just me". Also there are a lot of literary examples of this in most of the books that are inspiration for Exalted ( one that comes instantly to mind is the Twins from "Wish Song of Shannara"). Once again nice job. Now with Demon summoning I do think you should get bonuses for Occult (know thy enemy), but I do agree with your point about it being Willpower and Essence being the main factors of demon summoning factors (again examples are found all over literature about the weak-willed mage summoning a demon they couldn't control). Unfortunately i didn't really catch on to the "flavor" of what you were trying to do until you wrote your reply. Sometimes i'm slow that way. - Issaru
PS: I love the "cheese" player hosing factor involved in this system.
PPS: I love the whole line-up on Adult Swim, but i admit the comedy is my fave cause i'm insane enough to have a hidden joke inside of everything i do (even the charms i post here on the Wiki).
You're not slow; it's my own fault for failing to make myself clear on the page itself.  :) Thanks for the points that helped me clarify it. I'll have to rewrite this page later. And thanks for the compliment. I've been considering implementing a rule that allows bonuses to performing sorcery based on an Occult roll if you have time to do a long-ass ritual beforehand, researching Essence effects, meditating on local Essence, preparing the Essence of the area, considering your own knowledge of possible effects, and such. Maybe something like you get to make an Intelligence + Occult roll, difficulty of [2 + the Circle of spell that you're preparing for], and then the number of successes you get adds dice to your sorcery roll. I'll think about it ... anyway, this would mean that if you prepare for the possibility of banishing the demon before you start casting the demon-summoning, then you'll be able to give yourself bonus dice if you do have to banish the demon. This would reward particularly careful demon-summoners, which I think is a good thing.
~ Shataina
PS: Heh. I'm glad you appreciate hosing cheese players as much as I do.
PPS: The comedy isn't bad; I guess I'm just more of a dramatic person so I relate better to the yummy teen angst of shows like Witch Hunter Robin. I think my favourite out of the comedies these days is the Venture Brothers ... especially the necromancer guy. He's hilarious.

You've done the conversion very nicely, but I still don't really like the idea of not using Occult, for probably the same reasons above... Even so, it's a nice option to have, so I'd probably say (If someone wanted to use these rules in a game of mine) that it's a 3pt merit: Natural Sorcerer, which lets you use these rules instead of occult. You would automatically favour sorcery (the casteless sort) if you took the merit, but wouldn't get any of the weirdness inherant in taking Brigid's Heir. Although you could do that too, if you were so inclined. Anyhow, I expounded my opinion here so anyone else can choose to use that option instead, if they also want the compromise.
-- Darloth

I actually considered allowing people to favour sorcery without taking Brigid's Heir, but in the end I discarded the idea because it seems too easy. Sorcery should be equally hard for everyone unless they're willing to make some sacrifices. Thanks for the input, though, maybe it'll be helpful for people -- though I do have to say that I think putting this system side-by-side with the old system in the same game would be a bad idea, not to mention pointless.
~ Shataina

I just have a little question for you, which I don't think was mentioned, but while Occult is amazingly useful as an ability with sorcery... without it, it's sort of weak comparatively in what it can do, in canon and even by some fan charms. It can 1) see spirits 2) see essence 3) hurt spirits 4) kill spirits and 5) ward off spirits oh, and at high essence (5+) there are two essence disrupters. I'm just wondering, since it does cut down the tree almost in half. ^_^ - haren

I don't see Occult as any less useful, Ability-wise, than, say, Survival or Craft or Ride (or Sail, for God's sake). They're all relatively specific Abilities that can go for entire games without coming into play. Don't forget that Occult is still useful for Thaumaturgy, too (I expect at some point I might try to do something about Thaumaturgy too, but it'll still be heavily dependent on Occult -- Thaumaturgy is everything Sorcery isn't, in that it actually depends on knowledge and skill). In terms of Charms, if someone feels limited by the canon charms, then I feel that that's the fault of their lack of imagination and not my rulings. ;) I guess it's also worth noting that I, personally, generally convert a number of Lore Charms into Occult Charms (e.g. the Dragon-Blooded elemental attack Charms).
~ Shataina
Nah, it's no big deal, I just think that trees should be sort of balanced and equally useful (specifically in their own fields and generally in game time) without having to force them. So, I just wondered if you saw it as a problem. ^_^ - haren
So ... are you saying that you honestly think that the Occult Charms are balanced against, say, the Sail Charms when Sorcery is included among the Occult Charms? I personally think that when Sorcery is an Occult Charm, Occult is a ludicrously overpowered Ability, Charm-wise. I'm not trying to be snide here, I'm just curious about your opinion.
~ Shataina
Goodness no, no snideness taken! ^_^ But, no I don't believe Occult and Sail balance out, but then again, I think Sail is a weak sister in general. On the other hand, I would honestly put Occult up against say Bureaucracy or Larceny. Sorcery is powerful, and it's amazingly diverse in what it can accomplish. But, that being said, I think there are also major weaknesses in it, that make it more equal (For me, that is.) Sorcery is a sort of science based on the static underlying nature of the world. It's worked before, so it'll work again. This doesn't really lend itself to stunting. Sure, maybe you can stunt to get a few dice, but it won't change the effect of the spell. On the other hand, I would allow you to... stretch or bend the effects of a charm with a stunt. They're a sort of innate wild magic that has a great synnergy with the "power of cool". Second, Sorcery is pretty much never subtle if you see it being woven. This is going to mark you as Exalted no matter how you spin it. Wow this got long. But, I hope that gives at least a look into my reasoning. - haren
Without Sorcery, I think Occult balances pretty well against Bureaucracy or Larceny. However, spells are so powerful that you usually don't need extra stunt dice (if the spell even involves a roll), and the built-in disadvantages of Sorcery only really hinder combat spells. In noncombat time, it usually doesn't matter if a spell costs 3 WP, 50 motes, takes 5 minutes to cast, and makes you light up like a Christmas tree, especially when the motes aren't committed. You just find a private spot to cast it, and then rest. --Toram
Honestly, I think Sorcery overpowers Occult Charm sets versus just about any Ability anyone's going to name (except maybe Martial Arts), especially if you start talking about non-Solar Charm sets. (Especially Sidereals! Honestly ... I mean, honestly.) In terms of differences between Sorcery and normal Charms, in my opinion, such differences strengthen my argument for Sorcery not being a Charm rather than weakening it. As for the weaknesses of sorcery, I agree with Toram. Sure, people will notice that you're an Exalt if you go flinging Flying Guillotines around in combat ... but for almost every non-combat spell I can think of, there's no real problem to using it as long as you make sure you're alone when you use it. And the "people noticing you're an Exalt" weakness doesn't even apply to two types of Exalted -- Dragon-Blooded (it only very rarely is a problem) and Sidereals (drop your Resplendent Destiny for it and no one remembers a thing).
~ Shataina

Hi there! I like the mechanics but not the general idea, mainly because of thematic changes in the specialities. If a Lunar becomes a Fire Mage, she may start to look like a Fire-Aspected Dragon-Blooded. Also, is sorcery the end? For instance, in order to quickly and magically self-heal, a Solar must be skilled like a practised medical doctor, which may not suit the Barbarian Tribe Leader. Though I see your problem, I suggest that there might be a simpler solution. Allow specialties to base charms from. So, Diriana could have Occult 0 (Fire Sorcery +3), allowing her to learn the proper charms and spells, but leaving her completely ignorant about demons. Granted, she must know some fundamentals before she can learn Celestial Circle Sorcery. Clebo

Medicine in Exalted is fundamentally different from what is generally accepted as medicine in our world. It's based around magic, not scientific principles, and makes more use out of a ward against disease than a scalpel. The barbarian tribal leader would have an intensive knowledge of hedge magic cures and home remedies, likely learned from his shaman (if he isn't one), and that kind of knowledge is really useful when you don't have a thaumaturge every half-mile. This knowledge also includes a detailed understanding of his own body and how it works, which strikes me as necessary if you're going to be directing precise restorative Essence flows. -- Will
Clebo, I'm afraid I don't understand how you can like the mechanics but not the idea. Why do you like the mechanics, then? As for Specialties working for Charm bases, if you're saying what I think you're saying, I already allow it -- under my houserules, a character can buy Flawlessly Impenetrable Disguise, for example, even if they have only 2 Larceny, as long as they have at least a +2 Specialty in Disguise. However, in terms of sorcery, I don't want sorcery to be a Charm or even similar to Charms, as I stated above under Justification, and even if I did, the point of this system is to detach it from Occult entirely. I don't see how allowing people to buy sorcery with an Occult Specialty will fix the problem of it being attached to Occult.
~ Shataina

First off, before we get started, let's just say that I've been silent as to a lot of the tinkering with parts of the system that seem to work fine, though I don't necessarily find them necessary, or even very beneficial--at least thematically. And this is the first Wiki I've ever actually wrote in. With Exalted, I've worried far less about the seeming power of the Occult and Martial Arts abilities than I am about exploits in poorly edited writing. People like to complain about how powerful the Occult and MA Abilities are, but let's pose a question. Who's more likely to win these duels--Solar Melee Specialist vs. Solar Martial Artist [both 200 XP] and Melee Specialist vs. Sorceror [both 200 XP]? While Martial Arts and Occult both have a breadth of powers available to them, they're not the domain of true munchkining. [For one, they could be seen as XP Sinks to a munchkin, as they require more effort and resources--experience points--to obtain the same level of combat effectiveness.]

I know that this is probably an arguement best left for other threads, but it's tangentially related to this subject, at the very least.

About Sorcery, specifically, your system for "Natural Sorcery" works fine in a custom or modded setting, but it's prety clear that Sorcery, in canon, isn't really 'natural magic.' Innate powers come in the form of Charms, with the only exception being Martial Arts Charms--which GCG, himself, has given special place in the setting because he's cool like that. Sorcery isn't really a natural extension of one's abilities as it is an expression of knowledge and skill. Which is where the Occult Ability comes in. Without Occult, one lacks the sheer expertise concerning Essence laws and patterns to lay one's will upon the Essence matrices of Creation [and beyond] through the extensively researched higher art of Sorcery. You yourself include a link between Sorcery and Occult, saying that Occult Sorcerors make ebtter Sorerors, and your setting mods are your business. However, that takes away some of the thematic "oomph" Sorcery has in the setting at large, as even the mighty Exalted requrie proper learning and understanding before they can even begin to touch upon the secrets of the Yozis. Uh, I mean Creation. *grins*

This may be an old and tired metaphor, but I'll call it the Matrix Analogy. Let's say that the Tapestry runs on a set of programming as designed by the Primordials and maintained by the Gods and [ostensibly] the Sidereals. A Natural Sorceror would be something of a Plot Device, and even the Matrix had only one person who could innately rewrite that virtual world's programming--Neo. [And even he needed training.] If a Natural Sorceror would exist in the Exalted setting, then that person would be a Plot Device of Neo-like proportions, skipping the Trials and the training to directly assert her will on the laws of Essence that define reality. Sorcery is seen by the Dragon-Blooded as "unnatural magic," Savant and Sorceror [I greatly respect Hyung Tae Kim's artwork and skill, so the popular moniker for this book--Savant and Slut--will rarely be seen in any references I make to S&S] states that Sorcery is impossible to acomplish without proper understanding and extensive training as to the Laws Of Essence. Thematically, it reinforces Sorcery's rather difficult-to-achieve place in the setting, and it links Occult Charms and Sorcery together with a common thread: Both represent a magical and practical extension of one's understanding of Essence for Essence's sake, not just to make your swords glowier or your steed faster. I'm not necessarily saying that your changes are bad for an Modified Setting, but it does lose quite a bit of dramatic effect and consistency when you take away the original setting's logic and explanations. [Though, farbeit from me to call Exalted "consistent."]

And that understanding of The Tapestry's Programming is what aims certain Spells. Though they look as though they should be controlled via Thrown, or Archery, or anything besides Ocult, that's overlooking the fact that jsut because someone can throw a football doesn't mean he's a good Hacker. And Occult is the Ability that Sorcerors use to manipulate the Laws of Essence, or "Hack" into the Tapestry. Just because Brigid might not be able to throw a chakram worth crap doesn't stop her from "programming" a Flying Guillotine to soar perfectly straight towards an Exalt's neck.

This is why Occult is used for so many spells--those magics rely on an academic knowledge of how to alter how the system works on a fundamental level, not just how to take advantage of the system that already exists. [Again, Thrown Asassins tossing Fiery Solar Chakrams at Abyssals might take advantage of the laws of physics and their mundane ability--Thrown, which relies on pre-existing laws of physics--and "tweak" them just a little to get the right magickal effect, but a Sorceror's Flying Guillotine would go straight to the Tapestry's Essenceprogramming that defines what those physics really are!] Just because a non-Sorcerous observer might think someone's using Thrown to launch a bolt of death or Melee to swing that Spirit Sword doesn't mean the caster is actually relying the the same principles. And besides, if someoen chose to use Ocult for those spells you edited, then they can simply describe themselves stunting and affecting the programming of the Tapestry in fundamentally different ways from Innate Charms.

--For Example: If you don't like the idea of someone using Spirit Sword without Melee or Flying Guillotine without Thrown, then see the Occult-based Ability rolls as different not only mechanically, but also in execution. A Melee-based Character might swign a sword, but the Soreror might stand perfectly still adn exert his will upon an elaborate mandala-magic circle that focuses his will upon the Spirit Sword and telekinetically moves the sword to attack and defend as the Spell suggests. Or have the Sorceror guide the Guillotine through the air, closing his eyes and relying solely on his heightened awreness on the laws of Essence and the Tapestry to write and re-write the Essence paths upon which the ring of blades travels to find its prey. Not only does this preserve the original rules, this also lets you justify using Occult for all those seeming un-Occult Ability rolls. [Even messing with someone's Memory with a Spell can be justified thusly. After all, when you can force Essence to rewrite itself with your superior knowledge and mastery of Occult principles, even asbtract concepts become easier to mess with.

Anyhow, the entire reason I made such a long comment was because I was tired of reading modifications that were unneccessarily complex, presented as though they were, in some way, sueprior to the original rules [which need, at best, a better Editor, and that's it], or overlooked potential an unconventional but fully valid perspectives [Again, I still lament your choice to prevent a master reality-hacker (ie. Sorceror) from using his hacking skills to accomplish a feat instead of having playing by the system's rules Playing by the established laws of Essence is something that a swordsman or bowman might do. Knowing enough about those same Laws to meaningfully affect them to bring about a similar end is what a Sorceror would do.]

By the way, there's a game design purpose for all the Occult rolls in Sorcery. It's to prevent the Law of Multiplication of Ineptitude. The more areas of expertise you include [or require] the less competent cahracters become, overall. Frocing a Sorceror to take Melee or Thrown just forces them to re-route valuable EXP to other areas. And in a level-less system like White Wolf's ST system, every EXP counts.

-- Sennou Yukari

PS--Despire my constant complaints about unneccessary system edits, this was meant to be a counter-argument, not a refutation or decrying of 'heresy.' I just wanted to list reasons why I wouldn't be using this system and wanted to give you a Pro instead of Con perspective on the "Occult Ability For Spell Rolls" issue. PPS--The Thunder Wolf's Howl isn't an actual Howl, if you follow the Spell text. It's a sound generated by a concussive wind blast that's comparable to a D&D Fireball spell, and can be fired to create a concussive explosion at medium-long ranges. Performance has nothing to do with it. ^_^;

Personally, I fundumentally disagree with one aspect of this, "sorcery ... is a person forcing reality to conform to her will using only pure power and a method learned by rote."(The first paragraph under Sorcery vs Occult. I tried to shorten it without changing the meaning). To me, the descriptions in the core and other books seem to protray spell casting as a very complex, pesonal process. I view it as somewhat like Wyld Shaping, i.e. you are literally creating something. It if was a rote process done from memory, I wonder why so much concentration was necessary. I though it was you are literally warping reality, thus you have to spend some time familiarizing yourself with the local area before doing the manipulation. Hence, shaping time and concentration are required, as you are applying a general theory to a specific instance. Rote memorization, seems much less cool to me. Anyway, I was curious as to what was the basis for this opinion, as I don't see anything that supports it(nothing directly contradicts it either, although it does seem to imply that large amouns of knowlege are required to use sorcery).
I would agree that sorcery probably makes Occult the second most flexible abiltiy in the game (Martial Arts being first). I would echo the previous posters concern about using multiple abilitys making sorcery much, much weaker. To do what you want I would create a new ability that only covers spells, call it Sorcery or something. This ability is used in spell casting and sorcery charm requirements in place of Occult, but Occult retains the knowlege, lorey aspects of knowing about magic. (Sort of like the differnce between a certification and actual degree. The first teaches you how to do a specific thing, the second teaches you how+other info you need.). This gives the effect you mentioned, Sorcery ability allows you to cast spells, Occult allows you to make them, and know about using them. To me this makes Occult moderatly weak, (probably just above Sail and Ride), but not to bad. Additonaly, the "power" of Occult is linked to Exalt type. Solars get much more from it that dragon blooded, frex. -- FlowsLikeBits
I'd have to agree with Flows on the issue of how Shataina's portrayal of Sorcery and Occult, and yes, I'm the same person who typed the comment the fellow poster tabbed under. [Took me a while to realize what those wiki colons were.] Many people note that MA and Occult are, hands-down, the most versatile Abilities one has access to. I don't seem to mind that lack of balance as much as many other posters, and that's because I don't see much of a reason to change the mechanics. My sense of game-design aesthetics isn't as insulted as other peoples' are just by a bump in potential.
Both MA and Occult might have the most canon options available to them, but everyone besides Sidereals can make custom Charms for other trees. Custom Charms are hinted at as the source of all the First Age Solars' most frightening powers by the writers and developers themselves. Protection of Celestial Bliss, the almighty persistent HGD, was probably some FA Solar's favorite custom defense-spam. The established trees might look underwhelming compared to Martial Arts and Occult, but that's because the writers pay special attention to two Ability groups that were designed as overtly (and deceptively) versatile, apparently even more so than others. But while someone OOC might decide this was "unfair" and make a new system for Martial Arts or Sorcery to try to rectify this Completely Fictional Inequality, someone actually IC in the setting would do the custom-rules writers and WW game developers one better--make custom Charms for the oft-ignored trees and really surprise not only their opponents but also those OOC people who are more concerned about MA and Occult's apparent power-disparity. The only Exalts who are barred from this are Sidereals. Who, by the way, have only Martial Arts and Occult as their anchors for any kind of creative versatility at all--outside interesting Fate+Charm stunting.
For one, I've grown tired of seeing yet more complete revampings of system elements and more interested in seeing how one could justify how or why the current system is fine, if a little rough or in need of editing. Based on the cosmological setup of Sorcery and Occult I mentioned earlier, how would one use Occult and its use as "Mastery and knowledge of the Laws of Essence that define how the Tapestry--and Sorcery--interacts with itself" to justify Attribute+OCcult rolls for these spells.
Shataina's got plenty of rules changes for Spells to make them work in a way that mechanically reflects how more innate magics [Charms] that bring about similar effects would work, but I feel like I'm the only one pulling my old Mage:tA thinking cap and figuring out how Occult could justify Geyser-aiming, Howl-blasting, Guillotine-flying, Might-enhancing instead of saying "It's just wrong" and forcing them to rely on other, more "obviously correct" Abilities. Frankly, I think Occult rolls are as appropriate for Spell rolls as Melee, Performance, Thrown, Presence, and Athletics are for the rolls of their respective Charms. [Spells and Charms are, after all, fundamentally different within the setting. When you use Charms, your channelling your will and your Essence through your proficiency in a certain area. When you use Sorcery, you're relying on one specific area of proficiency: Knowledge of the Laws of Essence.] A bit of creativity with interpreting the cosmology of the setting can help not only justify those Occult Att+Ability Spell rolls, they can even think of neato-stunts, too!
Before I posted my Pro-Occult argument, who here honestly thought of using Occult's "knowledge of the laws of Essence" to manipulate those very same laws like a hacker would a computer system? Even when Sorcery was basically doing just that?
And when I say Laws, I do mean that in an open and abstract way. Maybe "Principles" would be more appropriate in the long run. But when I put it like the way I've been putting it, it compares them to the Laws of Physics, which is intentional. Sorcery is a science--whether one sees it in a modern post-Technocracy analytical fashion or in an Exalted Thaumaturgy-esque sort of fashion. And even science is magic--the Player's Guide seems to be making a few allusions to Mage-like cosmology, so my arguments about "Reality hackers" can't all be wrong. ^_^
[And if anyone nitpicks me on the words and terms I choose to use and ignores the points I'm trying to make, I'll toss my shoe at them. Nyo~.]
--Sennou Yukari

I obviously did not make myself clear enough at the top of this page. I am aware that there are differing opinions as to what sorcery "is"; that is, please, feel free to disagree with me that "sorcery ... is a person forcing reality to conform to her will using only pure power and a method learned by rote." However, if you disagree, these rules will be of less use to you, because that is the definition I am using and will continue to use. In other words, it is an ideal that I started from because I like it, not an interpretation I feel the need to defend.

Sennou, I do not have time to respond to all of your comments right now, and it seems to me that a lot of them are basically irrelevant to this. Perhaps you should start a Discussion, or your own page. Really, it's not that I don't want useful input -- but how much use is it to me for you to say things like "I fundamentally disagree with you about how sorcery ought to work, and therefore you should change your system"?

I'll see if I can do a more specific response sometime this week.
~ Shataina

Good point. Though, the problem is that I haven't figured out how to do that, yet. Still practicing. >_> However, in lieu of that, I'd like to know how you'd justify Sorcery as exists in canon now, as opposed to justify your modified version of the system. Barring the canon explanations of Sorcery--much of which is, admittedly, vague and require some bit of inference--your Mod Setting rules work, albeit with a fairly large Ability-requirement spread. It's established that I'm in the Pro-Occult group, yes, but I can see where you prefer that a Sorceror would need non-Occult Abilities to accomplish certain Sorcerous feats. However, if a player of yours could justify using Occult and only Occult as the Ability for her Sorcery system and rolls as per the Sorcerous paradigm I described above [Even giving up the long-ritual success buildup option you left open] would you agree to let her do it? [I was somewhat taken aback when you outright denied its applicability in direct rolls in favor for Abilities that were most visually relevant--which is the whole issue that had me all itchy to comment in the first place.] Since I'm not sure concerning my ability to make my own page quite just yet [Sandbox practice be damned, I'm just a moron in general -_-; ], I was forced to take up Comment space for tangentially related messages, and I apologize.
I suppose a more productive and less space-using way to resovle the issues I had would be to make a Discussions page and have us go at it? Sorry if you took offense, or if I seemed like a redundant windbag.
[Again, I'm new at this Wiki business. It took me a whole screen's worth of text for me to realize that this wasn't the place for this sort of comment. >_<. And I was so happy that one of my friends noticed my comment and mentioned reading it earlier today! Gah! But I'm glad that there's at least a place for me to voice my concerns in general.]
Bah. I realized that I'm babbling again, but I'll leave the above text alone so people can see the Stream of Consciousness that is my internet posting thought process.
--Sennou Yukari
Heh. I, too, apologize, for I fear that I came across as overly harsh in my post-fixing-the-Errata-page self-righteous officiousness. I need to get over that. Anyway, it isn't a huge deal if you have tangential discussions here -- I mean, I'm not really offended except at your repeated implications that if I was thinking harder, I'd have a different opinion -- but most tangential discussions do better in the Discussions arena than they ever do on personal pages. This is particularly true because people who read comments on this page is a rather smaller subset of wiki-users than people who could / would contribute to a discussion on sorcery and meta-sorcery. (Incidentally, if you're still confused about how to start your own Discussion, then the steps I would suggest are these: (1) Go to the Discussions page. (2) Edit in a subpage link with a brief but descriptive name, e.g., "<nowikiShataina/HowToWorkSorcery</nowiki>". (3) Save, then click on the yellow question mark next to what you wrote in. (4) You will be directed to a new page. Write up your basic arguments and questions, then save it -- don't forget to put a quick synopsis in the "Summary" text box located right above the "Save" button.) (Also, if you are still generally confused about the wiki, QuickStartGuide, TextFormattingRules and BestPractices are good pages to start with, in case you've missed them.)

Now I'll try to address your questions, starting with the last first. I do not approve of having Occult be the only sorcerous Ability; as I said, it overpowers Occult. Thus, I would not allow a player who came up with some sort of justification for such a path to do so. Your point about a Solar Melee-ist defeating a Solar Occultist is irrelevant to how powerful canon-sorcery is: (1) Solars are not the only people who get sorcery -- in fact, almost everyone gets some form of sorcery. Thus, Solar power scale should not be the only balance consideration. (2) Sorcery is generally useful for all 25 Abilities. Saying that a specialized Ability-user could defeat a sorcerer is therefore missing the point. Yes, a Solar swordswoman would beat the hell out of a Solar sorceress ... but the Solar swordswoman is out of tricks if you take away her sword, whereas the Solar sorceress can almost flawlessly hide herself, change herself into a flight of birds, kill someone with a razor chain from 500 yards (long before the swordswoman would get to her, incidentally), etc, etc, etc, and that's all just at the Terrestrial Circle. You say that sorcerers "only" have a breadth of powers available to them; this is exactly the problem; someone with high Occult should not be able to ignore the other 24 Abilities simply because they have high Occult -- that is, high Occult should not subsume other, irrelevant Abilities. Furthermore, I disagree that sorcery is not the "domain of true munchkining"; according to the canonical rules, your 200-XP sorcerer could have Solar Circle Sorcery, which means he could have a spell that, say, destroyed absolutely everything organic for hundreds of years for miles. Again, however, as I've said before, if you honestly think sorcery is not very powerful, you are playing in very different games from mine, and we will probably never agree.

I'm going to ignore all your points about natural sorcery, because I think I've made it clear that my conception of sorcery is more something I prefer from my own fantasy background etc than something I'm interested in justifying from a canonical perspective. And I, incidentally, totally disagree that the setting loses any dramatic effect and consistency at all.

Yes, I do consider these modifications superior to the original rules. :P If you're tired of reading my stuff, don't. I say these things only to make the point extremely clear that there's no need to be snippy about someone's houserules; if you actually intend to give feedback, I advise that you make your point as neutrally as possible. As for my unnecessary complexity, if you can think of a way to both separate sorcery from the normal Charm sets and have the spells manipulated without Occult that's simpler than this, then please feel free to detail it. Oh, and trust me, you don't need to lecture me on game design.

Re: Thunder Wolf's Howl. If I recall correctly (and I might not), the spell text actually says that the sorcerer opens his mouth and howls to do this. I interpret this as the sorcerer modifying his shouting ability rather than the wind.

FlowsLikeBits, I thought about making a Sorcery-type stat when I first made up this system, but ended up deciding that it would only be another name for what Essence and Willpower already do. I tried to cover people being good at certain kinds of spells as spells with the whole sorcerous Specialty thing.

Again, Sennou, about the only way you annoyed me here was with your implications that if only I were thinking, I'd agree with you. Yes, I thought about sorcery's manipulation of the laws of Essence being like a hacker in a computer system. Amazingly, I can think of ways to justify a system and yet still think the system should be different! You're free to take the approach that "instead of changing the system we should find reasons to leave it the way it is!" -- lots of people do. I prefer the approach of trying to understand the system, and then changing it if I still don't like it.
~ Shataina
As far as I could tell, the general approach of your spell changes was to substitute Essence for Occult in cases where the value was a paramenter, and some other ability for Occult in skill rolls. I think this would have two general results. (This entire thought ignores summoning, which you already dealt with and is a whole different kettle of things that look kinda like fish, only more so.)
1) Spells affected by the first change get weaker, as usually Occult >= Essence
2) The second change makes most affected spells not very useful, as if you have the ability, you can get charms for it, which are way better than a spell. This make something like Flying Guilletine a thrown charm that cost to much, takes to long and can't be comboed. Even with the +Essence successes, just using a basic die adder would usually give you a better chance to hit and cost less Essence & WP. By my count, you need the following abilites to be a Sorcerer, in addition to Occult: Melee, Thrown, Archer, Brawl or MA, Larceny, Performance, Sail. (I supposes if you allowed the usage of charms for the relevent abiltiy on sorcery rolls, this work, but there seems to be some weirdness invovled.)
Specialties don't really help here, as getting a favored ability from 1->5 costs 2+1+3+5+7=17, while 5 specialties cost 3x5=15 and you probably can't get a specialty in "using sorcery"(Honestly, I don't see to many specialties, other than "Battle Magic", that encompass a reasonable number of spells). This is why a dedicated ability for using sorcery would be helpful. To do the computer analogy, it would be your ability to use what you created with sorcery. Occult is programming, sorcery ability is your general computer literacy. Visually, this makes more sense to me, as I'm not sure why thrown is relevent to guiding summoned bee's to their target. (Mechanicly, you need a roll, so there can be a defence roll, so you use the sorcerers ability to create the bee's in the first place)
Sorcery gives you alot of flexiblity overall, but very, very little within each area. This tends to skew people toward spells that don't require a roll, which may not be what you want. Generally, sorcery is like having a bunch of weird, not very flexible tools that are difficult to apply to a given problem. (I've heard Sidereals are like this also.) Generally, this seems balanced; it be easier to fix spells that step on other abilities to much ("Disquise of the New Face", and even then, you can do lots more with Larceny).
Thunder Wolfs Howl: Neither version(Bo3C or S&S) mentions the sorcerer howling, which is probably good, as the sound can originate fairly far from her.
I am curious about the whole "Sorcery as rote memorization thing.", I had always got the opposite impression. I'm just wondering weather you have a different interpretation, like the memorization idea better or I just missed something.
FlowsLikeBits, rambles way to much
You are not taking what I said in the context of the system on this page. "Sorcerous Specialty" is a specific mechanic that I defined right up there under "Buying Sorcery", subsection "Specialties". It has nothing to do with normal Specialties. Re: the Essence thing, yes, Essence does tend to be lower than Occult, but the only real difference is maximum two dice here, so I don't think I'm underpowering anything significantly. Re: the Ability spread thing, most spell-created things are way more useful than most Charm-created things. Flying Guillotine is more useful than just the +Essence in successes thing -- it does base 18 lethal damage. That's better than most strong men with grand daiklaves; there isn't a thrown weapon anywhere that does that kind of damage; I guess you could invent one, but it'd be a pretty decent-level Artifact. As for "Abilities to be a sorcerer", that's just not true -- you'd need all those Abilities if you were a sorcerer with all the spells in the book, but as I've said before, the aim of this system is partially to make sorcery less generalized, so the fact that sorcerers will be taking fewer vastly different generalized spells suits me just fine.

I stand corrected on the Thunder Wolf's Howl thing, although I'll probably end up leaving it the way it is -- I like the idea of a sorcerer changing her vocal chords. Not trying to be stubborn here, just saying. Re: the memorization thing, one of the problems with sorcery in canon is that they really don't address stuff like that. But yes, I generally like the memorization thing better, partially because it fits with my fantasy-stereotypical conception of sorcery and partially because it's another thing to differentiate sorcery from Charms, which I see as instinctive.
~ Shataina
Sorry, my bad on the Specialties, re-read it. Did you actually mean they're treated like an attribute? Youch, unless you have one specialty that covers all your spells(which I suppose is the point. More flavor beyond Sorcery ), and even then...
I always pictured Sorcery more like craft myself, but you build the spell, then use it. But ther're all custom. And to do so you have to tussle with Essence, and heaven help you if you get disturbed while doing it.
Assuming Essence 3, we also converting the +Essence successes to dice on the attack roll
Flying Guillotine is the highest damage spell, also thrown/archer ability tend to do damage through multiple attacks, rather than a single hgh damage atack, but anyway, your spending 10 motes +1 will power to do 18L+successes(Per+Occult + 6), or keeping costs the same,
I could combo Fiery Arrow Attack, Wise Arrow and Dazzeling Flare Attack, spend 10 motes an 1 wp to str+(9+4) + successes(Dex+Archery+6)
(That's 9 for the 3xEssence damage for Fiery Arrow & Dazzeling Flare. This costs 5 motes. We spend the remaining 5 on wise arrow).
We're almost the same, the second didn't take an extra turn and is way more flexible(we can split pools, etc). One could also do ALOT more damage by using something like Rain of Feathery Death. It's probably even easier using Cascade of Cutting Terror. No to mention the additional flexibility of being able to split actions or use Extra Action Charms. Honestly, I'm not good at twinking, so it's probably pretty easy to do better than that.
Yeah, it has a high base damage, but you can't combo it or split, you don't have much to aid your to hit roll and it take an extra turn. Not to mention the vulnuerabily to countermagic. It's basicly usefull againts opponents with high soak, but poor defence.
Assuming a spell cost 8 XP, for 9 I could buy an unfavored ability from 0-3. Get a bow, and you'd probably still be more usefull in battle even without charms, due to the added options(you can probably do more than 9L per turn).
Sorcery is better at killing gobs of extras than charms, but that's kinda it's niche really. None of it's really a threat to serious opponents.
Most spells are already pretty easy to defend against(die adder charms will give you more dice than the +Essence generally), this just makes it
esier. It won't matter much vs extra's, and serious opponents weren't really in danger in the first place.
-FlowsLikeBits, ...don't seem stubborn to me, but whatever...
Keep in mind that Extra Action Charms are hard to combo, and that you can't split your dice pool while comboing (I think, I haven't played a character with any combos in a long time). Anyway, whatever. Charms are awesome. Sorcery is awesome. I tend to think sorcery is overly awesome, and as I've said multiple times, the real issue here is how it ends up subsuming other abilities and being too useful to ignore, not the |337 power. So if you don't care about that, you're not going to care about this system. Finis.
~ Shataina
Sorry about that, I'm bad at explaining. I was wondering why you thought sorcery ends up subsuming other abilities? One could argue that there are a few open-ended spells, but why not fix them, vs change everything? It does seem to be very flexibly, in that you can compliment many concepts with sorcery, but it doesn't seem to really replace any ability. Most sorcery spells are really, really specialized, compared to charms; while you can find spells to help with most thngs, it's not clear this is better than adding a differnt complimentary ability, or further focus in the main area. Sorcery seems to try to produce certain effects that are difficult for charms(i.e. very external to the charachter), but it does so with a particular set of restrictions and drawbacks. I'm curious about the opinion that it subsumes other abilites. --FlowsLikeBits
Well, you got me there. And the tone of my posts tend to be derived largely from my Stream-of-Consciousness approach to writing impromptu. I'm leaving the offending statements on to provide context for this. <_<;
But I'm still of the opinion that a starting Solar could render Total Annihilation useless with a single HGD. I agree with FlowsLikeBits that Sorcery isn't the domain of the really power-trumping opponents. Yes, it can reduce a battallion of elite troops to a bloody/evaporated mess, but chances are that they're the least of a Solar's worries. [Dragonbloods? Well, with the proper collection of Artifacts and a good sense of how to make the best use of the powers they have, they can hold their own against said battalion, as well.]
Sorcery has been comparable to High Fantasy "high magic" that goes above and beyond simple spell-slot counting and instant gratification, and into the realm of the time-consuming and [mostly] awe-inspiring. However, in Exalted, one's ability to munchkin winds up equating not to "How many troops can I kill?" but "How can I MacGyver the mechanics to possibly take out The First and Forsaken Lion with a PC group of Dragonblooded Exalted, a coat rack, and a stick of gum?" I know it's not the most conducive attitude towards creating a believable character, but it is a useful way to playtest various options.
That 200-xp Adamant Circle Sorceror could try to "Gaia's Rebuke" the 200-xp Solar swordsman to remove the plausibility of an HGD-defense, but any Solar with that much xp would have more than one Perfect Defense [for applicabilty reasons, and that's a lotta xp for just one tree] and could Adamant Skin Concentration the damage away, or use Seven Shadow Evasion [it's entirely plausible to jump off the block of land before the flying-then-crushing begins]. Heck, all of the Adamant Circle damage spells pale in comparison to the effectiveness of Solar [or even Sidereal] defenses. And the Willpower cost is horrifyingly prohibitive [3 Willpower spent in the attack, only to be batted away by a 1 Willpower defense], not to mention the tactical vulnerabilities involved for the duration of the casting. Terrestrial Circle, against Dragon-Blooded, becomes less intimidating when the 300-xp Immaculate Monk decides to take the fight right to the 300-xp Mnemon's-Favorite-Great-Granddaughter's face while she's in the middle of the first casting turn [Close-range weapons have Speed bonuses, which Sorcery and Ranged weapons lack, giving a clear tactical advantage for abort-forcing, especially since DB's sorely lack powerful persistents].
Tactically, Sorcery tends to be Artillery designed to take out lower-powered enemies. And when that Adamant Sorceror decides to Essence Invert a DB and manages to succeed, he's still used up 3 Will and 4 turns to take out one Dragon-Blood. Just like how a Snake Style Master that manages to kill one Dragon-Blooded officer piloting a warstrider with his "Armor-Piercing + Essence Venom" Combo and a lucky roll, he's still used up 3 Willpower [almsot a third of his full pool of access, maybe even more if his Willpower isn't maxed out like a good munchkin!] for something that wasn't even guaranteed to succeed in the first place. Motes are relatively easy to come by and can be burned on the battlefield with a little less finesse and not cost you the battle, but Willpower costs are a whole 'nother league.
If one really wanted to focus less on mechanical twinking and percieved play balance, one could simply decide not to play a munchkin-game and focus more on plausible and interesting characters, rendering the concerns of over-powered Occult and Martial Arts abilities moot. If Occult and Martial Arts really look imbalancing or jsut offensive to one's sense of game-design aesthetics, then one ould always just say, "I won't make a Sorceror, I'll make a general know-it-all with thsoe Elemental Bolt Charms and a good set of Linguistics" or "I won't make a Martial Artist, I'll be the guy who holds the other guy's arms while my buddies clobber him--then we take the Anathema's Daiklave, wallet, and shoes before running like all-get-out."
But even if one actually did decide to munchkin, those abilities are more diversions and EXP-sinks than the "secret backdoor for game domination" that munchkins are always looking for. If one wanted to make a thermonuclear explosion centered around the story's villain, then Adamant Sorcery might be the way to go--but chances are the villain of the story will walk out of the smoky crater unscathed and you'll now be 3 Willpower short, while he's only down one. Not to mention that Martial Arts don't have the sort of reliable Persistents and Perfects that natural Charm lists do--but methinks that one of the Writers already handled that in their Quotes.
And I'm glad I'm not the only one who at least considered Sorcery as reality-hacking. ^_^; ~Sennou Yukari, can just be called "Yukari," too, you know?
I still think you should start a Discussion, Yukari. I have no patience with conversations like this; I've already had them too many times. I may actually respond to what you've said here at this point, but, to make it as clear as possible since I have evidently failed to do so so far, I am not interested in the sorts of things you evidently want to talk about (meta-sorcery, ways to ignore the issues with the current system, etc) and I'd prefer it if you moved it -- not because it offends me, but because if it's on my page, I end up feeling obligated to pay attention and respond to it. I mean, as repeatedly noted, it's pretty obvious we're coming from radically different places here (for example, so-called "XP sinks" are not a problem I even feel the need to address), so all this overall sorcery balance talk is basically a waste of time. Oh, and one side note: focusing on plausible and interesting characters is not mutually exclusive with trying to fix the system; I consider that a highly annoying and patronizing misconception; as I said, working around the system and working within the system is all very well, but it's not an argument against working on the extreme cases.
~ Shataina

Damn, that's a lot of commenting. Anyway, here's my thought: Having to pick favored Occult to be a Sorceror isn't a big deal. Its just one favored ability out of 10. The bigger issue is that Sorcery is a huge XP sink, and that buying Essence to 3 during chargen is a big chunk of bonus points. If you want to see more Sorcerors, I'd let the PCs start with Essence 3 and open up the Sorcery background from the Outcaste book. What you've got here is cool, but I don't think it will get the results you may be looking for.

(I wrote this next bit, then realized it was unnecessarily long winded. But its still sort of interesting, so here goes:) I've spent a lot of time looking at different system's approach to game balance. What you're suggesting is very similiar to what D&D does. Every character is going to have to fight, so every class gets some combat abilities. They create things like the Bard, so even if your concept is "socialite fop" you're not bored during the fight scenes. Exalted takes the opposite approach. Even the socialite fop guy can fight, cuz its so cheap for a Solar to learn how to fight. It doesn't matter that Dexterity is way, way better than the other attributes, because you have a lot of attribue dots and its easy to justify almost any Exalt as having Dex 4. Having to buy up your Dex and a favored combat ability is factored into character creation. If it wern't necessary, you'd have to tone down Solars a bit. I think the same goes for a character in a very high XP game - favor martial arts or favor occult. In a lower XP game, there's plenty of other stuff to spend XP on so its not as much of an issue. -MeiRen