From Exalted - Unofficial Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

I love excellencies. I adore them. They're the basic and fundamental aspect both of SecondEdition, and of Solars, that really tie things together. I'm sure I'll like them less when other splats come out with nearly identical ones (as really, with Solars getting die-adders, success-adders, and re-rollers, they've covered all the bases), and most likely with some of the other splats having cheaper versions of them. As an example, consider the Terrestrial First Excellency (page 324, Second Edition Core), which gives two dice per mote, and the Third Excellency, which lets them re-roll for only 3m, rather than four. Sidereals, while limited to small pools, also get a 3-mote re-roller, as well as a quite nice Essence Auspicious.

Thus, it seems we're already stuck in a situation where Solars, supposedly the be-all and end-all, actually have the least efficient Excellencies. Sure, they can help make up for it with slightly higher total pools, but that makes little sense - the point of a higher pool is to give them more raw power, and more stamina, not to simply put a 'ratio' on their charm usage. Similarly, they've got the highest max pools, but what good is the ability to add 10 extra dice if it'll cost 10 motes to do it, draining your pool pretty dang quickly?

So here we are. We're left with Solars, that while awesome, don't quite have it all. Infinite Masteries really help, but even then, you're prohibited from employing (Ability) Essence Flow when you're using a cost-reducer, such as Infinite Mastery. Which stinks. Similarly, you're prohibited from using Infinite Mastery with Essence Flow. They really covered that base, didn't they?

So it's obvious, being as it's written in both charms, that you not only can't use them together, but that you can't use anything like them together. Good from one standpoint, in that it prevents Solars from burning 20m, 1wp at the beginning of a combat, and for the rest of the scene, adding 10 dice to every single melee pool they've got. (Wait a minute, why is that good?) Bad from another standpoint, in that it prevents you from doing just what I've said. To me, allowing Solars to do that would really ensure that yes, once you've gotten those three charms, as well as Ability 5, Essence 4, you can pretty much lay down your true max die pool anytime you want, as often as you want, as long as you're willing to lay down 20m, 1wp. But the authors of Exalted seem to disagree. Given how easy it is to hit Essence 4 (easily done at character creation for 14 freebies) and Ability 5 (one point of flaw-like bonus freebie will give you the two you need to hit ability 5), you can theoretically start with that kind of power. Which is dangerous. Thus, what we really need (or at least what I propose) is an extension of Solar power, that isn't quite starting. Plus, I adore generic charms. So here goes.

One other thing to mention. While not allowing starting characters to hit this level of power quickly, there are a few other dangerous things to watch. You don't want characters only buying generic charms, as then the game gets a bit plain a bit fast - things like Hungry Tiger, Irresistable Salesman Spirit, and Phantom-Conjuring Performance all have their place in the game. If characters are putting 6+ charms into generics, there's little room for the more colorful ability-specific charms, which, to me, reduces the wonderful palette of the game. Thus, keeping the total number of generic charms I add is a key goal, as I don't want characters to be buying generic after generic. Hence, a lot of these will have prerequisites like "any 3 relevant generic charms", ensuring that the trees don't get too complex, or too high.

Charm Ideas

(Ability) Unstoppable

Cost: - 
Mins: (Ability) 4, Essence 3
Type: Permanent 
Keywords: None
Duration: N/A 
Prerequisite Charms: Any previous (Ability) Excellency 

Throughout the ages, the Solars have been known as Lawgivers. Not only unused to being under the heel of others, the Lawgivers are also unsuited to accepting the impositions of the world around them. Ignoring what would seem like obvious hindrances on their performance, the Lawgiver is able to ignore (Essence/2) points of penalty related to the appropriate (Ability), at all times, on all rolls. This difficulty reduction applies to both internal and external penalties, as the Solar triumphs over all. As such, an Essence 4 Solar might choose to ignore a single internal penalty, such as a single point of wound-related penalty, and a single point of external penalty, such as working without proper equipment, thus preventing both a one-die pool reduction, and a one-die difficulty increase. Other Celestials, who also have a similar charm available, are not so lucky, with Lunars able to ignore only internal penalties, and Sidereals able to ignore only external penalties. Terrestrials, with their limited Essences, have no equivalent to this charm.

Versatile (Ability) Mastery

Cost: - 
Mins: (Ability) 5, Essence 4
Type: Permanent 
Keywords: None
Duration: N/A 
Prerequisite Charms: Any two of the first three (Ability) Excellencies 

It is not the way of the Exalt to limit themselves. Already superceding traditional mortal limitations, what the Exalt's raw power cannot overcome, their skill can often find a way around. This charm permanently enhances the first three (Ability) Excellencies in such a fashion, allowing the Exalt to exploit the power of all of them as easily as she exploits the power of only one. Any time any of the first three (Ability) Excellencies are activated, the Solar may also spend motes to fuel the other two (Ability) Excellencies (that the character knows), as if they too had been activated, without regard to normal combo limitations or other preventions. As such, a character knowing all three excellencies would be able to spend 3 motes to activate the first excellency (buying three dice, and allowing this charm's effects to apply), and then another 2 motes to fuel the second excellency (buying one additional success). Upon the roll not going as well as desired, the character might then activate the third excellency for 4m, allowing them to re-roll the entire pool (including the additional success bought via the second excellency). Note that the character must still follow normal die-pool limits, and as such, may functionally only spend at most (Attribute+Ability) effective motes on any of the excellencies on a single roll. Note also that abilities and effects such as Infinite (Ability) Mastery treat this as a single charm-power usage, and thus, only provide a single 'dose' worth of mote reduction or other such benefit.

(Ability) Essence Mastery

Cost: - 
Mins: (Ability) 5, Essence 5
Type: Permanent 
Duration: N/A 
Prerequisite Charms: Infinite (Abiilty) Mastery, (Ability) Essence Flow 

If there can be anything said about the limitations of the Lawgivers, it is that they have none. Already having defeated the very things that defined Creation, given time, there is nothing they cannot accomplish. As they gain in age and experience, tasks that were once impossible not only become possible, but trivial. So it is with tasks, so it is with their own abilities. By learning this charm, the Lawgiver permanently enhances the capabilities of their Infinite (Abiilty) Mastery and (Ability) Essence Flow charms, allowing them to work in concert. As such, the Solar is able to reflexively, and without a charm usage, activate any of the first three (Ability) Excellencies, and receive the mote discount from Infinite (Ability) Mastery. Note that this explicity does not allow the discount from Infinite (Ability) Mastery to apply to any other non-charm usage of the excellencies, nor does it allow the non-charm usage of excellencies to benefit from any mote reduction other than Infinite (Ability) Mastery. Such wildly powerful essence flows are the purvue of only the truly superhuman, who have acheived higher still Essences, and learned yet more powerful techniques of channeling said essence.


One one hand, my crunch-brain says that these won't break the game - only make certain things easier. At the same time, there must be a reason that the writers explicitly prevent exactly what Infinite Flowing (Ability) Essence Mastery does, so I'd love to hear your opinions. -- GreenLantern

This makes sense, but I'd hesitate to call the first one an 'Excellency', unless you put its Ability and Essence requirements at 1. Excellencies are really floor-level understanding, which is why they serve as prerequisites for so many things. Also, "Infinite Flowing (Ability) Essence Mastery" is a bit clunky, name-wise -- how about "(Ability) Essence Surge"? --Ialdabaoth

I'll agree with you on both counts, actually. Calling one an Excellency is a bit of a lie, but I'm pretty bad at naming (obviously). I tried re-naming both. See if they're any better. -- GreenLantern
That does seem to feel a bit better. An Excellency version that cost 2 motes per penalty and worked on one Instant wouldn't be amiss, either. --Ialdabaoth
Possibly, but then you're doing, at best, 2m per penalty, which, at worst, is one die. Thus, it wouldn't be any better than the second excellency at externals, and wouldn't be any better than the first excellency at internals. Going with a flat, permanent, removal is hearkening back to the old ability 5, essence 3 charm once proposed by the developers that permanently reduced difficulty by 2. That's kindof what I'm going for here, as it allows you to make full use of your large Solar die pool, even though someone might be using a shield, or you might have poor tools, etc. -- GreenLantern

I like them and I thnk I am gonna use it but I worder what you mean by this phrase: "Note that this explicity does not allow the discount from Infinite (Ability) Mastery to apply to any other non-charm usage of the excellencies,"

what do you mean by there real such a situation....or am i missing something? --Azurelight

Well no, there's not such a situation that's easy to come up with, admittedly. Thing is, things like mote-reducers are so drastically powerful that if people come up with other tricks, it's a big deal. In particular, since there is precedent for non-charm-action usage and mote-reducers, you've got to be real careful. That's all. -- GreenLantern, who thinks he had a better reason than that, but can't remember it without more coffee

Point to consider: "once you've gotten those three charms, as well as Ability 5, Essence 4, you can pretty much lay down your true max die pool anytime you want, as often as you want, as long as you're willing to lay down 20m, 1wp." Why would I wait until Ab5/Ess4 when I can do the same thing for only one more WP at Martial Arts 3, Essence 2? - Hapushet, who no longer finds Violet Bier funny

Oh wait, it only works for Martial Arts. There goes your point. --Schrodinger
Yeah, and these only work for one Ability also. Since you can buy these for Martial Arts, there is still a good point. On top of that... doesn't BotBM work for Melee as well as MA? I could be wrong with that last point, since I have blocked VBoS from my mind because all the preform charms are so badly broken, or, more truthfully, badly-PLACED, since they should be postform, and around 5/4. -_-
-- Darloth
While you do have a point, BotBM also only does attack rolls and parry DV, to be precise. With the charms above, you can add it to anything you want - Perception+Ability rolls, charm-activation things (such as "roll Dex+Melee at a difficulty of 5 to destroy artifact weapons"), etc. Plus, you get the choice of dice or autosuccesses, or re-rolls. There is a lot of room for these to be better than BotBM, but I do see your point. -- GreenLantern, not saying much, but providing some distinction

GL, you have some intriguing things here. However, I'd remind you for consideration that Ability 5, Essence 5 is within the scope of flaws-inclusive character creation, since Solars can take up to 10 points of flaws (it would only take 8). On the other hand, Essence 6 is outside the scope of most games. This presents quite the conundrum. Over at my SolarMulti/IanPrice page, I just went ahead and made an Essence 6 charm to remove the cost reduction/non-charm incompatibility from both. 'Tis my thought that Solars up to Essence 5 are supposed to rely on Combos to display their power fully. If you use Infinite (Ability) Mastery, having an Excellency in your Combo doesn't up your Essence use - that right there is powerful. Pop out Infinite Mastery for both Melee and Dodge, and you can have a potent combo with two excellencies, two perfect defenses (to cover both your potential Flaws of Invulnerability - I like pairing Conviction and Compassion myself), and, oh, Hungry Tiger Technique. That'd cost you about 14xp, and what else are you spending it on once you've reached Essence 5 and aren't 100 years old yet? The only thing you'd have to spend in an action you use the Combo is 1m and 1wp, with the Excellencies paid for in advance. - IanPrice

One of the problems with ignoring penalties is that DVs are now implicitly external penalties - as such, any charm that does this also gains a defense-penetrating ability that to some extent trumps defensive charms (except perfects) since you're ignoring the penalty, not imposing one to their DV. The worst offender is There Is No Wind, but anything does it. What is your opinion on this please GL?
-- Darloth quotes pg 148, bold text, step five, for justification that DV is an external penalty

Darloth - just noticed your post. I start by asking a 'why' again. Why is it a bad thing that you can ignore DV as a penalty (even a few points of it) with attacks? I'm guessing it's because you can easily get a 3-4 point DV ignoring permanent, which is like walking around with 4 autosuccesses all the time, making defending against you amazingly difficult, unless the opponent has some sort of Dodge equivalent. If this is a problem, I see two or three simple mechanical solutions. One is to simply point out that the ignorance of penalties doesn't apply to the application of an opponent's DV as a defense. Boom. Fixed. You can still ignore wound penalties, environmental penalties, and all those other things that the charm was really meant to ignore. You can also point out that in contested situations, the penalties ignorable max out not at your (Essence) but instead the difference between your (Essence) and that of the cause of the penalty. Thus, you can best the environment easily (Essence 0) but when fighting high-essence opponents, such as Abyssals, you can't ignore many of the points of their penalties. This is mechanically a bit harder, as it requires thinking about the situation, and applying common sense. Thus, a Solar with Essence 5, versus an Essence 3 opponent, could ignore 2 points of his opponent's DV, and 3 points of environmental difficulty or wound penalties, etc. This makes higher essence more valuable, and can be selected based on the flavor of your game. I've personally never played a game above Essence 5, as we always held firm to the age requirement. How are we doing so far? -- GL
I think part of the problem is the Defense vs Offense rule that they have when resolving equal effects. Also, think on this... what happens when you get solars of equal ability/essence with that charm staring at each other. It's not just Solars are better than other exalts, but you need to see what happens when Solars go up against each other. And a cheap, easy to get perm-effect that nukes DVs (or part of it)... I'm leery of such effects. ~ Haku who has seen the sickening effects of an Essence 5+ game as an ST.