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Ideas Making an Unparriable High Essence Charm

After seeing the discussion between DariusSolluman and DaveFayram, I realized alot of people seem to have problems, in at least a theoretical sense, with HGD. How do you make an attack against someone who can parry any attack perfectly without just fighting a battle of attrition? One way is simple, you make an parriable, but unparriable attack. Let me clarify this statement, you make an attack that can be parried, but parrying doesn't help the situation. Just a few ideas to play with here. Maybe the physical attack is made so that the blade counts as part of the person being attacked (we're assuming high Essence versus lower Essence right now.) A regular lightning bolt might not count, or similar attacks, but there are plenty of attacks I can see crawling right over the blade and essence of HGD to strike at the person (and to counter, I can see Charms to make the blade inviolate versus attacks channeled through it or to affect it, a good way to fight Corrosive Parry also.) Another obvious, and not quite as high Essence path, is to make an attack that will go unnoticed until it's hit. HGD is great against attacks you see coming... all parries are, but if you don't see it, you can't parry it with HGD. Exhausted about now, and sick as can be, so I'm going to sleep but I'd love to see other people's opinions on it. - haren

I'm not sure I see your first option as working haren, since HGD can stop the full power of the Godspear, without presumeably blocking the entire area of the effect of the beam, it would appear to protect its user even from essence effects that would appear to flow out aound the blade. having said that I like the idea of an attack thats makes the user feel what his weapon would, since the HGD description definately implies the weapon feels something :) your secondary idea, about making an attack unpercievable, is how I would set about making a charm to get round HGD, since as was noted in the discussion, you have to percieve attacks to HGD them. of course something like a Suprise Anticipation combo woulf get about this, but then you just made them waste 4 m and 2 wp defending vs one attack. - Kraken P.S. hope you feel better soon haren :)

Oh, no, I'm not saying an area affect, I'm talking about an effect designed to "crawl up" the weapon itself. HGD is able to block those. I'm implying there may be a different sort of "hole". Not one that can't be stopped seperately, but one that is there. The person creating it though would have to understand the dynamics of HGD (or another similar defense). It's like saying... if I have an effect designed to attack a blade, and someone uses HGD to try and parry it, does the blade get protected? Nope. Think of it as the mystical equivalent to me holding a long metal pole up in a storm. Lightning won't hit me, but I'll still be just as dead. I'm just saying that it takes a higher Essence (4+) to make the right sort of "lightning" for this attack. - haren

I was using the godspear as example of a powerful attack that by all rights should seep around. I think that HGD does provide the 'insulation' against an effect channeled through the blade, even if the blade itself might be totally atomised/warped or whatever..which I've realised contradicts my previous statements on the matter so um meh. I'll be quiet now - Kraken

Well, I just think that you can make an attack specifically to get around it. Let's say we've got two Solars, one archer, one ISP. The ISP has a combo of SAM and HGD, making them pretty hard to hurt. They've clashed 9 times, and 9 times, ISP has won. The archer decides to make an attack where the effect is the same if they parry or not. So he challange ISP and launch the bolt. She goes HGD and smashes the light bolt, which shatters and yawns as... they cling to her blade and leap up towards her hand. Let's say she happens to have Adamant Skin Technique and uses it. What happens? She's scared, she doesn't dodge much and now her biggest defenses are useless (not really, but when you can't predict if a particular attack can be parried or not...) There is an Abyssal attack that also works too, Piercing Ghost Barb. There's no physical arrow to block until it has struck.

I know people will argue if HGD can block the immaterial, but it's Essence 3... There's alot of room for growth here without just making a multiuse HGD. Higher Essence isn't just more effecient versions of lower Charms, it's got alot of cool ideas. The things I've mentioned all can be blocked, even with a scene long Charm. There's always a flaw in a "perfect" defense for the hero to exploit to defeat the villan. They usually have to train to figure out the one attack that's needed specifically for it, but it does happen. Having HGD shouldn't be an invitation to stop developing defenses, that's just asking for someone with that unique attack to come along and kick you to all poles of Creation - haren

Actually, HGD is Essence 2. And Melee 4.

Anywho, I have nothing to contribute here, save a counterpoint- some ways in which Perfection can grow. I added them to my Melee Charms some time ago, but they went lamentably unnoticieed. ;)\\ Charms/DariusSollumanSolarMelee\\ - DariusSolluman

HGD cannot be ignored, save by if you perform what is not technically an attack, or if you make a surprise attack. You might be able to directly target the weapon... it never says it protects the weapon, but I would not allow someone to be harmed with the attack that you describe.

perfect effects are perfect, and may not ever be trumphed. If SSE doesn't let you dodge it, then it can't be dodged, unless it's not applicable to be dodged. The perfection may never be overcome, however, you can find ways around it. However, I would probably not allow the effect you describe to occur.

Consider that this is the Solar's advantage; other celestials ought not to have as easy a time at it. Obviously by canon standards, "other celestials" means Lunars... but oh well. That's a problem with Exalted's rules, not with the theory and fact.

It's possible, however, that you might have a good idea, please write up a sample charm so that I might evlaulate it. A good, balanced alternative to killing people straight out is always nice. - GoldenH

What about an attack targetting the weapon? If such a charm existed, and I don't mean the various 'I get a successful parry and something bad happens to your weapon' charms, but an actual attack charm targetting the weapon. How would that interact with HGD?

Addition: Just noticed that DariusSolluman has a weapon attacking charm (that'll teach me to go replying before checking the relevant links). If that charm was upgraded, so that it could damage 5MM (to a reparable but unusable state or something like that), what would happen if that was parried with HGD? - Garden

I think that the weapon would probably be able to use HGD itself, since it is a physical attack on the weapon. It was already expressed as such if the solar's heart got ripped out by a sidereal using citrine poxes, so I think that the solar should want to use a stick or something else to parry this attack, upon recognizing the essence flare. or some such.

However I am unsure what would actually happen, it is a very iffy category. I would certainly allow a essence 3 version of HGD for the same price protect the weapon from destruction, no matter what it was; this would be a more perfect HGD though and since it is a cleaver idea on your part, i'd let you get away with it if the charm had a high enough cost (the one listed is too cheap, possibly a HL cost) - GoldenH

I agree about the cost, especially in regards to attacking 5MM, I'd have thought that would need a WP cost as well. - Garden

The penultimate Charm of one of my MA styles MartialArts/StaunchHeartStyle cannot be parried and has a weapon-shattering effect - one that even works on 5MM weapons, albeit at 5m+1WP per Artefact level of the weapon (it also has another bennie, but that's not germaine to the discussion). HGD will block it though, as per its Charm text. - Moxiane

Consider, before making a 'smash artifact weapon' Charm. Items of the Five Magical Materials have been exempted from being broken by the attacks of the Primordials. And while the Exalted are certainly collectively greater than the Primordials, they are individually lesser.

That said, a Charm that banishes a weapon Elsewhere without it's owner's consent... a Charm that 'sticks' Essence on the weapon to hinder it, without actually changing the original weapon (like adding a layer of foam around a sword), or... Remember, you have a speccific format to write a sonnet in. It ceases being a sonnet if you don't abide those rules. - DariusSolluman

I don't know if they are individually lesser, considering in cannon a single Night has killed a Yozi. It destroyed their weapon, but they did slit his throat.

Now, I do want to point out, I don't agree with destroying items of the 5MM (not without something really huge... it would have to be something on the level of Sorcery, but at a level greater than that of the Incarna, which is rumored in Bo3C.) Even then, I'm not much for it. I just think that HGD isn't the height of perfection, and I don't think it specifically (though was definately the starting point) gave the Solars a chance to kill the Primordials, it gave them time to get good enough to do it. I think there are tricky ways around HGD, just they do require thought and they require time. Solars approach perfection, but I just don't see the pinacle of perfection coming at Essence 2. - haren

Darius - can you write a sonnet though that is also a sutra? :) -- Senji

One major problem here is people assuming HGD is a parry. Mechanically, the Solar parries. That's not the actual effect though. HGD is specific in that it parries attacks that normally could not be parried. A big glob of acid or the godspear is a great example. Yes, it should go up the blade. Using HGD ensures that doesn't happen. HGD is a mind-blowingly powerful wall between you and the attack.

Likewise, since we can stop things "not normally parryable", immaterial attacks and whatnot don't work. Attacks from dematerialized spirits using "Touch of the Real" don't work. NOTHING that is an attack can harm a Solar who uses this charm while armed. The weapon is the vulnerable point, so get to breaking it.

Want some support for this theory? What you're describing right now is Impeding the Flow. Substitute everything Haren said for Impeding the Flow and suddenly it all works fine. Impeding the Flow IS a parry, and as such is subject to the normal shortcomings of a parry.

So, it's not really a parry, it's a defense. Wave upon wave of power. Ya know. Good stuff. This is good for Solars and Abyssals, but bad for everyone else. Considering the books tell us the Solars and Abyssals are the most powerful, it sounds good to me.

As for breaking 5MM weapons, we know that it's doable. Hell, charms that the DB have access to can do it. And I seriously doubt HGD would provide special benefits in that scenario. HGD perfectly protects YOU, but even the original text suggests a sufficient attack will shatter a weapon. A version of Attunement Shattering Block which instead is an Attunement Shattering Strike sounds like a great way to make a Solar pay through the nose here, by the way. I dunno if that's thematically appropriate though.

Just remember, HGD is a perfect uber-defense that happens to kinda look like a parry. The similarity ends there though, since it explicitly stops things which otherwise couldn't be parried. No physical component needed. Only awareness.

-- DaveFayram

I think that in this instance, you are full of crap. Just because HGD can block the unblockable doesn't make it not a parry. If anything, it's the Platonic ideal of a parry.\\ _Ikselam

I suppose I'd feel a bit better if HGD felt more balanced against the other "perfect" defenses of Solars and Abyssals. A good example is Adamant Skin Technique. There's huge holes in that defense, and it requires just as many Charms, has higher requirements of Essence and relavant ability, and has a much higher cost (+2 motes, and a health level.) But, it protects against damage... that's all, if the attack happens to unmake you... too bad, you die. I understand why SSE won't save you versus undodgeables, but there are a huge number of effective "unsoakables". Sure, you need a weapon, but Melee can make sure you always have one. It's just I think there should be a similar weakness to HGD. It's not something any Exalt, or even many Solar/Abyssals will have, but I think it's very dramatic to let a player learn/create a charm to get around it, as long as it's not too unbalanced. - haren

One thing I would point out here is this. what you are basically saying when you say 'HGD is a perfect defence, it can stop anything, even immaterial stuff' is that there is no improving on an essence *2* charm. (well aside from more parries per charm use ala Protection of Celestial bliss (which is ess 6) or some of the combocharms suggested by DariusSolluman ), which I just dont think is right. yes HGD should be a damn good defence, it being solar and perfect and all, but as haren said, the other 2 charms (both of which have higher pre-req skills and in the case of adamant skin *much* higher charm pre-reqs) have holes big enough to fit a behemoth through...so why should HGD...an mel4/ess2 charm with 3 pre-reqs..be both superior *and* cheaper to use? - Kraken


Ikselam, think what you will. Impeding the Flow is the platonic parry. HGD is a parry, in that it counts mechanically as a parry. If it works (and 99.9% of the time, it will) then it counts as a parry. But you're saying "This is a parry that can parryable unparryable things." Logically, that's the union of a parry & !parry. It's not a parry, it can't be. While part of HGD is part of the effect scope of "parry", it goes way beyond that. A platonically idea parry is Impeding the Flow, which is a parry that cannot fail, but stays within the realm of "parry." I think that's sound enough to stand on.

Incedentally, I've decided Impeding the Flow should cost more. Originally I believed Rebecca's spiel about the 150% cost thing, but you're getting a lot more than 150% effect for the cost. It's very easy to listen to RSB, she's a very reasonable person, but this time I'm slowly beginning to see some problems.

As for Kraken, Melee is just that kinda skill. Maybe we'll see a solar charm tree revision that does it. I'd like to point out the Abyssals have pretty much the same charm, and in both contexts it's not particularly overpowering or ridiculous. There is also plenty of room for improvement. Even if you, like me, allow stunting on actions without rolls (I find it important, and many charms seem to be written with this assumption), HGD is simply draining in terms of willpower. The maximum number of times you could get to use it without a stunt or some kind of willpower boost is 10 times, and it's very hard to get it there. HGD is taxing, to an extreme. This is why SSE is so much more useful in the long run. Solars get lots of essence, and so long as you don't care about anima flare, SSE is going to be usable a lot more.

HGD explicitly states it can parry things not normally parryable. There is no argument about this, it's right there in black and white. Immaterial attacks are not normally parryable. Therefore, HGD can and does stop them. I'm confused as to why things like the Abyssal archery charm are expected to get around this. Even Nephilpal has suggested this is not true.

There is plenty of room for improvement on HGD. There is, of course, the increased quantity route that Protection of Celestial Bliss goes. There is also a route where you'd protect your weapon from harmful effects. There is also the possibility of HGD-ing whole area effects. These effects are theoretically stuntable, but having a charm that "just does it" is much better than a stunt in terms of reliability and scope. I even see routes where you'd have reflective perfect defenses, where the defense is to re-assign the target of the effect back at the attacker with a brilliantly angled parry.

Make no mistake, folks, "ideal" defense is actually fairly low on the Celestial power scale, and not even that far off the DB power scale (although those are unusual, like Safety Among Enemies).

-- DaveFayram

Well, except for the Errata referring to HGD being able to "parry almost any material attack" and all. That sorta hints immaterial attacks get through. - Telgar

I'm not sure that's strong enough to countermand the explicit statement in the text. I'm sure you could come up with some obscure scenario where it won't work. Really, we should ask GCG to give us one. Until then, we can't make much sense of that statement. -- DaveFayram

Well, this one is for everyone who believes HGD is a truly perfect defense, unable to be improved in any way to protect it's users (and partially in humor :)) A list of things that you can't parry normally, but... since you can parry even normally unparriable things... Rune of Singular Hate? How about a sneeze? Possession? Sunlight... A nasty comment (which is an attack... a verbal attack)? Astrology? How about the madness.. what if someone does something that works on a mental weakness, can I parry that? How about if someone does something on purpose that they know will "hurt" me, like something that might make me gain Limit, can I parry the Limit? Can I parry Resonnance? That's an attack on the spirit of Abyssals. Yes, a fair number of these are absurd, but that's the point. There's alot of things out there that can count as attacks that are immaterial and not normally parriable, but if you argue HGD can parry anything that's an attack, you may run into these. :) An attempt to lighten the discussion. - haren


haren, on the WW forums we had a big conversation about this, and we came up with the criterion that HGD stopped things which were attacks that would cause immediate physical harm. No parrying poison, astrology, madness, mental things, resonance, insults, possession. These things don't cause immediate physical harm.

You CAN parry sunlight, hold your sword up. No charm required. :)

As for Rune of Singular Hate, that's a very tough one. However, the thing is, we're trying to establish hard and fast mechanical rules for a subjective thing. I mean, someone mentioned a scenario in which a tree accidently falls over onto a character. Intuitively, he ought to be able to HGD the tree. However, it's not an attack, so suddenly we're saying he can't?

Really, what we need to do is say, "HGD Parrys Most Everything" and leave it at that. I am very convinced that you don't need a physical component to use HGD. That Abyssal archery charm seems like intuitively it really ought to be parryable by HGD. By the same token, I don't think Rune of Singular Hate should be. How to resolve this? The Aegis of saying, "It's underspecified, so we need to make judgement calls."

People are worried about making HGD too strong, but it's also very important not to make it too weak. Defense is stronger than offense in Exalted, and if we weaken all the defenses because we can't see an immediate way past them, then we're changing that balance. Quite honestly, I have NO PROBLEM with a character being physically invincible if they bulk up for defense. Imagine a Solar with 5 dex, 5 melee and 5 dodge. Layer on 5FBS and FLB, now hold your charm action for HGD. How do you kill someone like that? Surprise them? Exalted's surprise rules are so ridiculously easy for characters to defeat that that hardly matters.

As long as the Exalt in question has a weapon and has willpower and essence, it's pretty much impossible to kill them. This is part of the Exalted power curve, and indeed a necessary one! How did anyone every face Primordials and win? We're told that they all did it around the essence 2-6 level, because they were all so new at the time. That means some of the charms in use, in fact the majority of them, are in our book.

I'm just worried that everyone is so desperate to lower the power of the penultimate defenses we have in our books because they "can't be that powerful," or they have a pet charm that they don't like seeing beaten. There is a lot of that on the forums. For instance, many people seem to feel that Adamant Skin shouldn't work on Rune of Singular Hate. I can't think of a single reason why it can't. The best explanation I've heard is, "It's Solar Circle Sorcery!" or, "It doesn't cause health level damage, just attribute damage." \\ Not very compelling, if you ask me.

I hope this explains my position on this subject a bit better. It's really important that we try and figure out the designer's intent in these issues, because that intent is the core that the game's balance is based around.

-- DaveFayram

The thing is that the game designers did disagree with you on Adamant Skin. A quote, "Of specific note is Adamant Skin Technique. Adamant Skin Technique protects against damage as in “12L”, not damage as in “any negative effect”. If someone hits you with an attack that decreases your attributes or makes your soul fall off, Adamant Skin Technique won’t help there. There probably is a Solar charm in the Essence 6-7 region that absolutely prevents any negative effects whatsoever from an attack, but Adamant Skin Technique isn’t it."

My biggest problem is that sometimes the Charms seem to change, arbitrarily. Willpower lets one Charm do this, but another has huge holes. Melee is the new "black". It goes with everything. It kills stuff, it defends. It's the toolbox Ability.

I just believe that we need to keep things on a level. I do think that most physical attacks should be blocked, but there should be holes. The Solars of the First Age died very very quickly, even those with alot of Melee (seemingly). Far too fast for HGD to have been very effective, and they didn't use that much, they showed different defenses. HGD protects against 98-99% of attacks, but it's going to have weaknesses. Just an opinion. :) - haren

To some extent, I agree that HGD is a goober defense. I'd like it better if it were Essence 3. However, it does have one extremely limiting factor, and that is its Willpower cost. Sure, you can mitigate that by getting lots of 2- or 3-die stunts, but if you're doing 2-die stunts often enough that you can use HGD a lot, you're either on an incredible roll or else your ST is too generous. \\ _Ikselam

The games I'm in tend to have a whole lot of 2-die stunts. Very rarely will someone do an action without bothering to stunt it, especially in combat. So getting the WP back isn't as hard as it seems. - Telgar

I'd also like to point out Adamant Skin Technique again. It takes a Willpower too... and a health level, which is harder to regain still... and 2 more motes, but that's not much. So we still have an inequality between to "perfect" defenses. - haren

Haren, where is that quote from? -- DaveFayram

Dave: It is from the "Applicability of Perfection" section in the errata.\\ Telgar: I'm of the school of thought that says that it's impossible to get a stunt on every action. Especially stunts bigger than one die. In part, it's because I think stunts should be special -- if you do it all the time, it stops being special. Another factor in my opinion is that I think regaining Willpower should be nontrivial. \\ _Ikselam


Ikselam, Stunts are special, but they should fall where they fall. The reason Telgar's games tend to have lots of stunts happen is because they're online, and people tend to write more descriptively than they talk when playing RPG games. Don't ask me why, I dunno. I've just noticed it.

If people stunt every action, they get the stunt every action. If their actions are constantly original and inclusive of the environment, then they should constantly be getting willpower back. Otherwise, you're penalizing your players for trying to hotdog for stunts. Hotdogging for stunts may be obvious, but it's not a bad thing, because it makes players describe things more.

In a game full of incredibly good players with a razor-sharp GM, every action could be a stunt, and I don't see that as a bad thing, do you? It would certainly be fun to listen to.

-- DaveFayram

If the players are that good, they probably do that stuff anyway. My view of stunts is that you should rarely get them for doing stuff you were going to do anyway. If there's no effort, there's no stunt; it's a "virtue is its own reward" situation. There's especially no stunt if complacency is involved. No one should be allowed to just coast along due to their superior linguistic talents, or their encyclopedic knowledge of kung-fu movies.

I recognize the fact that a variety of "stunt philosophies" exist. I have never been an adherent of the school of "stunt everything"; I think it compromises some of the game's basic mechanical systems. Even though I'm not a mechanist by any stretch of the imagination, I believe this is a matter which needs to be taken into account.\\ _Ikselam


I'm confused by this viewpoint. Stunting to +1 is just describing something well. So, if we were to not explicitly allow frequent stunts, players with good descriptive talents will get +1 back all the time. This at most gives 1 mote of essence a turn, since you cannot stunt more than once per turn (this particular rule is rather implicit, stunt bonuses apply to all actions and you cannot layer stunts). This is a mechanical incentive to describe your moves in unique ways. Its impact on the system is minimal, and the benefits are more pshycological ("I stunted, woohoo, I look awesome") than mechanical ("Wow... I spent one less mote... ... Great."). I see no reason why these could not happen often.

For stunts which include good use of the environment, you can get a +2 on all rolls, and the option of 2 essence or a willpower back. Note this need not be using the environment to attack, or even to gain a real advantage. It means the environment is cleverly included in the stunt (the corebook has an example of this). This method of stunting is naturally more difficult, since including the environment in a snappy and interesting way takes more effort. This isn't as much about your amazingly linguistic skill, or your lexicon of kung fu, but on your sense of cinema. Cinematic moxy is important to the game, so rewarding it, even consistently, doesn't really seem unreasonable. As for the mechanical benefits, they are more significant. A +1 willpower every turn could be quite good.

However, nothing in the rules text suggests any special level of reverence for this stunt, other than that it needs to be original. Thusly, your first wall-leap-into-sword-thrust-while-shouting-"TETSUOOOO!" might be +2 material, but if you try it again and again, it won't work. By their very nature, +2 stunts are self-limiting. There is only so much one can do in any environment. Making the best of what you have is what +2 stunt rewards are all about. The mechanical impact in terms of dice is larger than a +1, but still not terribly huge.

The +3 stunt level seems to be assigned significance equal to what you are describing. +3 stunts are "jaw-droppers", give a significant dice advantage, can offer 3m or 1w per turn, and in general also have second level effects.

In my "stunt philosophy" (if you can call it that), I let +1s be common, +2s tend to be easy to lead off with but people rapidly run out of ideas, and +3s only happen once in a blue moon. I've seen a total of 4 happen in my Exalted career, and each time they did a lot more than just add +3 to a roll.

I'm wondering how you ended up assigning significance to stunt levels beyond what the book suggested. Any thoughts on this?

-- DaveFayram

Try reading the section on Stunts and the impossible, or stunts as life insurance. That should probably give you a good idea. Stunts should be used primarily when success is not garunteed, and is risky. I personally think that the more difficult the stunt is the more bonus it should be worth - I mean, sure, that's cool, but it's diff 8, so, uh, here's a +3, hope you succeed.