Thus Spake Zaraborgstrom/BladeOfTheBattleMaiden

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Is it Balanced

rebeccaborgstrom - 11/30/2003 16:27:15

Context is important.

Are your only combat Charms BotBM and Secrets of Future Strife? Then you've got a pretty good two-Charm combat survival system. That's pretty efficient, though please note that "no armor" is a big deal for people low on combat Charms.

If not, how many other Charms did you need to build your full combat strategy? Two-tree martial arts? Buying VBoS out towards Conclusion-Pursuing Approach? Or did you start plucking Charms from Dodge (or Performance) and Melee?

My balance criteria did not focus heavily on prereq depth. Please bear that in mind---"this Charm is poorly balanced for its prereq depth" needs a strong argument that that's the relevant criterion before it's meaningful.


rebeccaborgstrom - 11/30/2003 22:19:59

> dragonladyflame > Hmm. I'm reading your last post, Rebecca, as saying that MA charms are not supposed to be balanced by tier -- that is, that charms of the same tier aren't supposed to be measured against each other, and that power level is not meant to depend on how many charms come before a given charm. Please correct me if I'm wrong.


The answer to that is complex. :) GoldenH's answer reflects some of my own thoughts pretty well, but let me go into more depth.

The point of the tier system, as I see it, isn't to measure the power of individual Charms. It's to make Charm power in an Ability's application proportional to your investment in that application. (It's subtly different for Sidereals, and significantly different for Lunars, but that's the Solar baseline.)

Blade of the Battle Maiden is low on the tree because it's not really functional on its own. You have to buy more than BotBM to make it worthwhile. Otherwise, when you fight mooks, you have no armor and you *have* to use BotBM to survive. That's a lot of Essence and Willpower on a mook fight! And when you fight bosses, you have a high attack and block pool, but no soak---meaning that you're dumping the BotBM bonus mostly into surviving, and you don't have much in the way of tricks.

Let's say you have a Form, and some stuff for dealing with mooks, and BotBM. Rock on. But it doesn't matter at that point which you bought first: they're all Charms on the tier of 'Charms you have'.


rebeccaborgstrom - 12/01/2003 00:21:05

Yup! You can be an armored Sidereal martial artist pretty easily. Just not with Blade of the Battle Maiden, unless you practice a style with some kind of Whirlwind Armor-Removing Prana.

(Adopting the attitude and posture of a frantic lover, the Exalt can achieve swift dishabille. The character can reflexively shimmy out of any amount of armor, clothing, jewelry, and ornamentation, while remaining clad in such pieces thereof she desires. This Charm affects artifact armor and warstriders, can instantly disentangle the tightest corset, and can remove layers out of order, but it does not affect involuntarily-applied manacles, ropes, and similar bonds. Characters often appear mussed after invocations of this Charm.)

(What? It's something every serious martial artist needs. And you can always Combo it with Celestial Battle Outfit Generation Stance for a transformation sequence!)


rebeccaborgstrom - 12/02/2003 04:57:48

> dragonladyflame > Since Willpower generally comes back so fast in Exalted,

I suspect this is why you find the Charm a problem. Willpower isn't really plentiful in default-assumption Exalted. If you're running a game where Willpower isn't a meaningful brake, I recommend offhand making the Charm cost 5m + 3m/die.

> DS > Ergo, I would fully expect a Melee Charm that added up to Dexterity+Melee to every Melee action I make to cost 2 motes per die, 1 Willpower, And to require Melee 3 / Essence 1 on the extreme outside.

I'm puzzled by whether this hypothetical Melee Charm allows armor. I suspect that even if it does, your cost is too low. I'm not sure how to split the difference, though. Most of the ways I can think of are specific compromises you might not like. :)

Yes. If you're not worried about running out of dice adder cap, and you win initiative, split high persistent pools improve on extra actions with low pools. This is why Lunar Exalted are powerful rather than insanely nerfed. :)

> DS > Cause I distinctly recall the explanation as being 'Celestial Level Martial Arts are balanced as Solar, not Sidereal, Charms'.

I said something sort of like that on the forums, yes. The book uses a more IC explanation. :)

Basically, it's like this. Martial Arts have flaws. But their Charms shouldn't be intrinsically lamer than Solar Charms, or Solars with MA become stupid. I'm not specifically talking about efficiency, or prerequisites, or power, or whatever. I just mean that when you total up the advantages and disadvantages of Martial Arts vs. Melee, it's important that Solar Meleeists don't mock Solar Martial Artists until they cry and run home.

BotBM is about as mote-efficient as Excellent Strike if you add a lot of dice. But it restricts armor, and sucks if you just add a few dice.


What Does Not Count for the Dice Cap

rebeccaborgstrom - 12/03/2003 17:18:03

> CrimsonSun > artifacts, hearthstones, specialties, equipment bonuses?

It's intended to cover magical enhancement. Artifacts, hearthstones, inspiration from others, other dice adder Charms, other weird Fair Folk or spirit effects, etc.

It's not intended to cover specialties and accuracy bonuses, even those for attuned daiklaves, unless you have to do extra magic to obtain them. (A daiklave might have mote-pumpable accuracy, for instance, and Sidereals have specialty-adding Charms. These count.)

Stunt dice break the rules, so it doesn't matter whether it covers them---you add them anyway.


rebeccaborgstrom - 12/03/2003 17:32:42

On second thought, that one bit is a bad ruling. In any case where a Charm or Artifact author chooses to pump 'accuracy' rather than dice, it's probably best to consider that a physical change, and stack it with BotBM. Apologies!

Rebecca typing fast before the thread dies. . . . and not making it.

Mote Efficiency

rebeccaborgstrom - 12/12/2003 04:45:47

> dragonladyflame > 5. Someone said that Blade of the Battle Maiden is as mote-efficient as Excellent Strike. I think it's self-evident that Blade becomes more mote-efficient than Excellent Strike as soon as the user has made 3 or more attacks with it turned on.

More precisely, the statement is roughly thus:

I assert that a reasonable mote efficiency measure for dice adders:

  • Assume Attribute 4;
  • Assume Ability 4;
  • Assume Willpower = 10 motes;
  • Assume that scene-length cost = 3x instant benefit cost;
  • Assume that doing both X and Y costs X + .5Y (where X is costlier).

Excellent Strike costs 8 motes to double your attack pool. Blade of the Battle Maiden costs 16m,2W. This is equivalent to 36 motes--- 24 to pump your attack pool for a scene, 24 to pump your parry for a scene, and a 12-mote discount because you have to buy both at once.

Where's the Martial-Arts-is-inefficient suckage? Mostly in the armor restriction, plus pumping parries should probably be cheaper than pumping attacks.


This isn't a balance argument. It's just a note on what I mean when I say that its mote efficiency is based on Excellent Strike. That's related to balance but doesn't define it---I think 4W, 1m/die would be less efficient than this Charm, but also more powerful.


rebeccaborgstrom - 12/12/2003 05:04:46

(Only 3x the cost for a scene-long?

Yah. Geoff was kind of clever here, really. You'd think a scene-long should cost *tons* more . . . but committed Essence is more precious than temporary Essence. So, only 3x.

Can Willpower always substitute for 10m?

Not always. The Essence cost is meaningful. A big cost of Willpower is: now you're managing two different pools. That's why 4W + 1m/die isn't a good cost for BotBM---it shifts the Charm cost back to 'managing one pool'. But, yah, a lot of the time I think it can. It's in Charm costs so that Charms *don't* cost start costing 36 motes at high levels.

Are you sure on these numbers?

Nah. It's a reconstruction I made when someone first asked, back when Sids came out. My computer was stolen in February and I lost the notes where I actually crunched the costs. These seem right, but might not be right in an actual peering.)

rebeccaborgstrom - 12/12/2003 15:12:34

> BrokenShade > Thanks, Rebecca! ^_^ I presume these formulae or the original formulae to which these are approximations :( were used fairly generally in Charm creation? Do you know if similar formulae were used in creating Charms for other Exalted types? (Neph, could you comment here?)


When I wrote most of the Charms, the mote costs tended to look like:

?, 1W
Lots, 1W
Cheap, 1W
?, 1W, 1 health level

When most of the Charms were done, I spent about three days doing a bunch of cross-referencing between Exalted, E:tL, E:tA, and E:tDB. (On the assumption that I could find rough rules for Lunar/DB/Abyssal vs. Solar, which wound up sorta true.) In a lot of cases, there was already a Charm that did a little more, a little less, or something like what I wanted to do, so I could pin costs to that.

I'll have to do this again when setting costs for Fair Folk stuff. (I don't know how much Fair Folk costs will even *resemble* Exalt costs, but I'm going to start by figuring out how much things would cost for Exalted.) I'll try to post what I work out early next year, when (a) I'll have worked it out, and (b) the player's guide has come out, as early information about its contents affected the Sidereal:Solar cost ratio.

I don't know if every Charm author has done this kind of thing. I was, in part, making up for not having enough chances to actually play Exalted. :/ People who've been in long-running games can probably skip a lot of this kind of thing. :) In a year or so, I'll have been in a long-running game, and may cut some corners myself.