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Martial Arts: The Casteless Ability

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You know, I actually really like this idea. I'll give something like it a playtest in ExMod, which ought to be more kung-fu than regular Exalted anyway. - Balthasar

Ditto ditto. Hm. I might actually try this out in my game- but where on the Character sheet to note Martial Arts...

The specialty lines! Must confer with playahs... - DariusSolluman

I was doing this for my Dragon-Fist\Exalted crossover that never really panned out. For the record, Dragon-Fist was a free game released by WotC that used what can best be described as D&D2.5 rules; it had some interesting mechanics, including a proto-Stunt system; Grabowski has mentioned the game on occasion, as it was kung-fu fantasy, through-and-through, and generally deserving of some note, as free releases go. MartialArts was, of course, a huge part of the setting, and of more value than just a standard ability. My solution doesn't work in canon, but I placed it alongside Essence, as a parallel measurement of power, and adjusted the prerequisites of the Charms I had kept or made for the setting between the two. Just thought it was an interesting footnote. ~Jabberwocky

So, would some of the pre-existing Charms be moved over to Tactics? The ability that just always seemed off is Performance. I mean, General of the All-Seeing Sun? Ideal Battle Knowledge Prana? Honestly always bugged me as Performance Charms anyway. I liked the idea anyway. - haren

*pokes haren*  

To see at least one guy's thoughts on a Tactics Ability, check out my mass combat system. The short answer was- I moved about four Charms from Presence and Performance over, but that's not counting the Castebooks. :) - DariusSolluman

I DMed Dragon-Fist for a few months. One of my most memorable times running a game, and it led to a 3-year followup D&D game. Good times. Personally, I've always thought that Exalted was more influenced by DF than it admits. Very few eunuch sorcerers, though.  :-D - Balthasar

I had a similar DF experience, with hopping vampires and a weird spider guy who talked like a fortune cookie. Awesome, awesome game. I like the idea of having MA be parallel to Essence in status terms - that means that other Charm trees can rely on MA prereqs, and we can devise Essence Charms as well, right? - FourWillowsWeeping, master of the parallel structure

What, ya'mean Charms based purely on Essence?

Ya'know, I'm actually kinda fond of that idea for Sorcerery- given it's description and similiarly universal nature... - DariusSolluman

I like this a lot. I think you could do a lot with this in an MA-intensive game; I posted at the WW boards that you could do this, setting up MA as an independent Trait like Essence, and then having MA Charms hang off of an Ability and MA instead of Essence and MA (CPoC, for example, hangs off Medicine like Ikselam wanted, VBoS depends on Melee, Mantis on Brawl, and so forth). That way, you can have masters of PAoC who aren't also sorceror-kings, etc. Sorcery depends on Essence alone. Really unusual Martial Arts don't need Ability requirements, but in general they are either spiritual Virtue-styles, or things like Five-Dragon that don't feed off of Abilities for any special effects. - FourWillowsWeeping

Damn you Willows! I told me group that the next Exalted campaign WOULDN'T be houseruled to hell and back :)

On the other hand, I like this as a solution MUCH better than anything else I've heard involving MA- merging with Brawl screws up the trees, etc.

So, that means, of the current canon styles-\\ Snake - Brawl\\ Tiger - Brawl\\ Mantis - Brawl\\ Ebon Shadow - Stealth\\ Five Dragon - ?\\ Air Dragon - Thrown (Stealth?)\\ Earth Dragon - Melee? Resistance?\\ Fire Dragon - Melee? Dodge?\\ Water Dragon - Brawl? Endurance?\\ Wood Dragon - Archery? Medecine? Occult?\\ Violet Bier of Sorrows - Melee? Brawl?\\ Prismatic Arrangement - Occult\\ Charcoal March - Brawl?\\ Citrine Poxes - Medecine\\

- DariusSolluman

DariusSolluman you are making this a LOT more difficult than it has to be. You like difficult don't you ;) -Trueform

Why limit it to one ability per Style? A lot of MA also crosses into Athletics. Wood Draogn is Occult/Medicine, Earth Dragon is Occult/Resistance/Melee. No reason to make it all one Ability if MA is something special. Personally, I'd say if MA was a non-ability, you would then have three requirements for MA Charms. MA, Essence and Ability. Unless you cap MA at Essence and increase its cost to something like Current x3 or 4.

The problem with a Charm requiring multiple Abilities is that you run into favored/not favored issues. Which costing do you use? Also, it gets MUCH harder to convert existing trees then. - DariusSolluman

Although not ideal, I'd say that if even one of the Abilities in use were unfavored, then the relevant Charms would also be. After all, Charms do operate on a strict prerequisite structure. - Balthasar

Mm. Which solves the former problem, and not the later. You've still got the issue of adding multiple new Ability pre-reqs, which could vary from Charm to Charm, without a regular way of converting them. - DariusSolluman

I have to admit, that does sound like a pain in the ass. But, que sera sera, I guess. - Balthasar

On limiting Styles to single Abilities - Here's a thought I had. The one Terrestrial style we have doesn't have any trademark effects, really; it isn't tied to an Ability at all, only MA and Essence. Celestial-rank styles are generally thematic, but they have a certain flexibility - they can have multiple Abilities. Like Lunar Charms, each Charm is favored or not, independently of the others, and you could, in theory, have a Charm with a high Ability req followed by a Charm with a higher MA req, but a lower req in a different Ability. As a result, Celestial styles require broad martial knowledge to use to their fullest extent. Sidereal-rank styles are restricted to a single Ability. This means that a Sidereal style requires very deep, specialized knowledge, but it also presupposes broad martial skill in the form of its prerequisite Celestial style. - FourWillowsWeeping

I think you're on to something, there. It certainly feels less arbitrary. - Balthasar

Another issue you run into with Five-Dragon and several other styles is that while they have no signature weapon, they are in fact compatable with weapons. There are only a few Five-Dragon Charms that are non-weapon-compatible. Snake, Tiger and probably Mantis are the same way. In fact, even WITH sig weapons, you have a lot of CHarms which can be used with OTHER weapons. I'd end up saying that it is possible to substitude Brawl and Melee in MA Charms if you prefer to learn them with or without weapons. This introduces the issue with those few Charms that do specifically say no non-signature weapons, but I'd say they're a special case in which you would have to have Brawl. Encourages diverity. - Telgar

I think Clebo was talking about a different taxonomy of MAs based on their weapon access; there are those that follow the Brawl paradigm of using just the general MA weapons set, those that are restricted, and those that have a 'signature' weapon with benefits. I'm not overjoyed with having a ninefold division of things here, but it's a useful observation, and since the trees aren't structurally distinct, we can just say that different MAs can select one of these options as appropriate. - FourWillowsWeeping

I liked the original idea of this page. MA has all of a sudden become a non standard ability with non standard charms. This should justify that it is treated different as a ability as well. -Trueform