Thus Spake Zargrabowski/Sorcery
From Exalted - Unofficial Wiki
[quote originally posted by Topher] Hey Geoff, since you're reading this thread - I'd love to hear the reasoning behind this particular design decision (ie, Sorcery is very handicapped in combat), since it seems so at odds with so much of the "source material." I'm sure you guys had a really good reason, but game design isn't my forte and I'm just not seeing it.[/quote]
I didn't want to do blasto sorcerers for a number of reasons.
First, remember it's not just Ninja Scroll the RPG, it's also a pulp fantasty revival game that happens to have anime parts. Tales From The Flat Earth was at least as important as any Asian epic, and 4 of the 5 Maidens map directly onto various gods from Pegana. I wanted to stay true to that. It's pulp sorcery; if you want power, summon a demon prince. If you're one of those people who goes "no, there is great power to be gained from consorting with dark powers but that's not for me" then you're making a moral sacrifice by not having Octavian beat their head in. That's actually a big deal and a major sacrifice, and not just some shit you say to make being good sound nice.
I don't think it's untrue to the game. The magic is almost a perfect fit for the Black Company books. Gandalf fights with Glamdring. When Zorayas comes to the court of the pretender-king, she comes in armor and with a guard of drin. While I'm sorry you can't just sit down and play a blasto mage, you also can't play a Norwegian helicopter pilot driven mad and encounter with The Thing. =)
Second, I sorta wanted to stay away from bolts and blasts in general, because I wanted to keep it from being superheroes in a fantasy setting or too Julian May. If there's an efficient direct damage effect, that's what people are going to use, so there really isn't one until you get into the power suits from the Shogunate era, which are very much their own thing.
Thirdly, it's just mechanically awkward. In addition, Charms are open to anyone. Even Dragon-Blooded can get Athletics, Dodge and Melee and be fully combat optimized. At what point in that situation does a sorcery system start to become duplication of effort? If sorcery becomes quick and easy, what is distinguishing it from higher-end Charms, and why would I learn them? If it doesn't have a casting time, it's just a Charm, and probably one that would have gotten way more attention than I wanted. With a casting time, it's /very/ hard to be competitive with an optimized Melee Solar without them basically pointing their finger and saying "abracadie".
Anyway, you get demons, you get Charms just like everyone else, and you get buff spells like the awesome Invulnerable Skin of Bronze. If you insist on playing a D&D "magic user" with no weapon skill beyond gesticulating wildly, you're going to have a problem, because your kung fu is weak and this is a kung fu movie.
Geoffrey C. Grabowski\\ Exalted Developer, WWGS\\ firstname.lastname@example.org