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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    aetherialDawn's Avatar

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    Default [Exalted] AetherialDawn's Homebrew Work and Zenith Solution

    Hello everyone! I started up an attempt at Alchemical Colossus charms a while back, which never quite worked out as I wanted. I'm going to stick to the far easier realms of E5 and below charms, following perfectly normal rules and charmsets.
    You probably saw Zenith Solution in the title; just because I'm using rules that have actually been written doesn't mean I can't aim high. Besides, surpassing Social Combat as-it-is is not quite as hard...

    There are, of course, also other works.

    Without further ado, homebrew. I'll not be immediately reposting the Alchemical Colossus charms unless they're requested. I'll dig them up later.

    Solar Charms
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    Zenith
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    Performance
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    Gentle Radiance
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    Cost: - (1wp) Mins: Performance 3, Essence 1
    Type: Permanent
    Keywords: Social, Merged
    Duration: Permanent
    Prerequisite Charms: None
    The love of a Solar for creation is too wonderful to allow his glory to burn it. Even so, the gentlest beam of sunlight can be felt by any man, his soul responding to it.
    This charm permanently enhances all Natural Mental Influence attempts by the Solar. A target is not immunized to Natural Mental Influence from the Solar until he has spent 4 willpower resisting it during the scene. Using Unnatural Mental Influence, however, depends upon the burning glory of the sun, and those so burned find themselves unable to feel the gentler rays – each use of Unnatural Mental Influence on a target by one of the Solar's allies also counts as (willpower spent to resist + 1) willpower spent resisting Natural Mental Influence for the purposes of this charm, whether it was the Solar or another who attempted it. It counts as 1wp spent even if the target does not resist the Unnatural Mental Influence or spent no willpower points to do so.
    By paying 1wp, the Solar may increase the willpower required for immunization to 6 for a single target, so long as the Solar himself has not attempted Unnatural Mental Influence on that target. This is a focusing of the Solar’s will and not an effect on the target, and lasts one scene.
    Using Unnatural Mental Influence on a target who has spent more than 2wp resisting Natural Mental Influence allows the target to retroactively ‘re-spend’ the willpower beyond 2wp to resist Unnatural Mental Influence. Willpower lost to sources other than Natural Mental Influence never counts for this effect.
    In this way did the First Age become set in the ways of warping the mind rather than caring for it, for once they gave in and burned the souls of their subjects, love was lost to horrific glory, and their previous work was lost.

    Merged: Gentle Radiance (Presence), Gentle Radiance (Socialize)


    Sorcery
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    Terrestrial Circle of Emerald
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    Circlet of Diamond and Tears
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    15m, 1wp (5m committed)
    The casting of this spell is a dramatic action, lasting one hour. The sorcerer must have a circular glass trough a few inches wide and several feet in diameter, into which she pours a white jade vial full of her tears – of joy, sorrow, or just garlic – and stands in the center of. She speaks aloud the intimacy she wishes to protect in the language of the soul which only spirits submerged in Lethe can understand, and shining tears begin to fall from her eyes, formed of white essence. Once the trough is completely filled at the end of an hour, it shatters into essence and a circlet of diamond containing the original tears appears upon the sorcerer’s brow.
    So long as the essence is committed, the sorcerer has access to the following innate powers: the committed motes magically defend a single intimacy, chosen at the time of casting the spell. The sorcerer receives a pool of (Essence) temporary Willpower points, which can be spent only against Unnatural Mental Influence which opposes the chosen intimacy (That is to say, influence which would erode the intimacy, change it, or cause actions which would erode or change the intimacy. Forcing a person with an Intimacy of Love My Family to flee would not normally be able to spend the points against Illusion effects, until those Illusion effects somehow prevented her from expressing the intimacy.) Possession and Total Control effects are always considered to oppose any chosen intimacy for this spell. The temporary willpower points provided return at a rate of one per day regardless of circumstances. If the pool provided by this spell is full, the point provided is lost and does not enter any other pool.
    The physical circlet, however, is an even more powerful tool. It provides +3 charm dice to social rolls and binding or banishing rolls regarding Earth-aspected Elementals. It also serves as an Arcane link to the caster, although it imposes a penalty of (Essence) dice upon any dice pools using it for such a purpose unless it was freely given or taken during Calibration. More importantly, it allows the temporary Willpower points provided by the innate power to be spent against any Unnatural Mental Influence. Additionally, any Unnatural Mental Influence which opposes the chosen intimacy becomes Obvious to the sorcerer if it was not already so, and she also separately gains +3 MDV against such influence. Note that the Lunar Tell does not become Obvious due to this spell, and the MDV bonus does not apply against the Tell, even if it directly contradicts an intimacy (even one as specific as Finding Lunars.)
    Emerald Countermagic will suppress the abilities of the physical circlet for a single day. Any higher Countermagic requires this spell to be re-cast upon the physical circlet to reinstate its power, although only as a normal Terrestrial Circle Sorcery spell, not a dramatic action. The innate power provided by committed essence cannot be dispelled. If the essence is released, then the circlet remains and can be re-empowered as a normal Terrestrial Circle Sorcery spell, but the circlet otherwise functions only in its capacity as an Arcane Link. The original sorcerer may dissolve the circlet into grains of smooth glass by holding it and casting any Countermagic.
    In the Immaculate traditions, this spell is called the Circlet of Dreaming Pasiap. It is in fact connected to the element of Earth that Pasiap represents, but the Elemental Dragon has no particular relation to the spell beyond shared associations.

    Talisman of Gale and Storm
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    15m, 1wp (5m committed)
    The casting of this spell is a dramatic action, lasting one hour. The sorcerer must have a delicate circle of glass carved with lace-like designs, nearly a foot in diameter. This glass is heated, and then carefully cooled with the sorcerer’s own breath over the one hour casting of the spell, filling the designs with blue essence. At the final moment, the glass suddenly shatters along the lines of the intricate design, and a talisman made of opaque, blue-gray crystal appears on the sorcerer’s neck.
    So long as the essence is committed, the sorcerer has access to the following innate power: At any time, the sorcerer may reflexively invoke all the benefits of the Minor Changes procedure at a cost of a single mote, once per action. Using other charms on the same action is possible, but carries a surcharge of 2m or 1wp for the action. Any changes made may last up to one hour per invocation, which can stack up to 25 hours into the future. If not taking other actions, Minor Changes may be invoked once per tick.
    The physical talisman, however, is an even more powerful tool. It provides +3 charm dice to social rolls and binding or banishing rolls regarding Air-aspected Elementals. It also serves as an Arcane link to the caster, although it imposes a penalty of (Essence) dice upon any dice pools using it for such a purpose unless it was freely given or taken during Calibration. More importantly, it allows the sorcerer to invoke all the benefits of the Transform Weather procedure at the cost of three motes as a Speed 5/DV -1 action. Using other charms on the same action is possible, but carries a surcharge of 6m or 1wp for the action. Finally, the sorcerer may invoke all the benefits of the Major Changes procedure at the cost of eight motes as a five-minute dramatic action. Using other charms without stopping the action carries a surcharge of 6m or 1wp for a single charm use, when possible at all. Any changes made may last up to one hour per invocation, and is stackable up to 25 hours into the future.
    Attacking with a lightning bolt or other reasonable phenomena must be invoked as an instant-duration Transform Weather. Generally, it will have the following statistics: Accuracy (Perception+Occult), Damage 8L, Range 300. The attack cannot be parried without the aid of stunts or charms, and is either Piercing or Rate 2, chosen at the time of the attack. Up to (Essence) motes may be spent to increase the raw damage by 2L per mote (these motes must be spent separately on multiple attacks in a flurry.)
    Emerald Countermagic will suppress the abilities of the physical talisman for a single day, but does not stop weather already in motion. Any higher Countermagic requires this spell to be re-cast upon the physical talisman to reinstate its power, although only as a normal Terrestrial Circle Sorcery spell, not a dramatic action, and will also cause the weather to return to the hands of the local elementals immediately, regardless of stacked invocations. The innate power provided by committed essence cannot be dispelled. If the essence is released, then the talisman remains and can be re-empowered as a normal Terrestrial Circle Sorcery spell, but the talisman otherwise functions only in its capacity as an Arcane Link. The original sorcerer may dissolve the talisman into grains of smooth glass by holding it and casting any Countermagic.
    In the Immaculate traditions, this spell is called the Talisman of Mela’s Breath. It is in fact connected to the element of Aire that Mela represents, but the Elemental Dragon has no particular relation to the spell beyond shared associations.


    Artifacts

    I promise that more is on the way. Gentle Radiance, however, is going to be one of the foundations of Social Combat That Works. Going to redesign Gentle Radiance once I have reasonable mechanics down. The system is so broke that everyone needs the love, not just Solars. I'm not sure I can fix it, but I hope I can at least do a little better.
    The goals I have in mind for this Zenith Solution are that Social Combat should be viable for conflict resolution... And, when it is not, it should be an important prelude to combat, with banter and reasons to do other than just Join Battle.
    One such thing will be NMI and UMI. The two will BOTH have a place, and will BOTH be part of social combat, for different concepts. No longer will your Creation-loving diplomat and your brutal evil overlord use the same social charms in the same way for the same reasons.
    I'm working on the details of this; I have some NMI down fairly well, I think...

    Do you have recommendations? Complaints? Reasonable requests?

    The current idea for the Zenith Solution is to fix social combat without affecting the underlying mechanics; tools which I am considering include...
    - Social 'thaumaturgy' which become available to attempt for anyone with sufficient social abilities, just like Rank-0 Thaumaturgy. I might make Socialize the ability that opens up most of these, with only a few specific ones available to those with Performance, Presence, or Investigation without Socialize.
    - General Charms available to all essence wielders (Or more likely, a base version which gets some set of extra benefits depending on how the charm is taken. Solars would get something more along the lines of Gentle Radiance in terms of power - or perhaps something slightly greater if this is available to all - while Enlightened Heroic Mortals would get only a lesser, 'baseline' version.
    - And perhaps collecting some of the things I've found already in the rules that make social combat flow more easily.


    The lack of posts displeases me! Oh well. I'm still working on all this, don't worry.

    Well, on the Zenith Solution...
    Natural Social Attacks will fall into one of three categories; UMI modifies these three and adds two additional options.
    No Natural Mental Influence can compel behavior as an absolute (unless the person runs out of willpower, of course) but if roleplayed, will tend to hit harder. These Intimacies are as valid as your character's own - it is more likely that they will clash with your Virtues and other Intimacies, however, which will encourage acting despite or even against them.

    The three sorts of Intimacies social attacks can create and influence are:
    Emotion: An Emotion influences feelings and colors perspective; these emotions are generally strong, but can be quite subtle. Lust, Joy, Despair, Fear, Friendliness, Suspicion, Confusion; these are all examples of Emotions. Unless otherwise noted, an imposed Emotion inflicts a -1 internal penalty on all actions not in line with it, and a -3 internal penalty on all actions which contradict it.
    Compulsion: A Compulsion influences action and nonaction, whether specific or vague. Put down your sword, follow me, fight the guard, steal the apple; these are all examples of Compulsions. Unless otherwise noted, actions which do not contribute to an imposed Compulsion receive a -1 internal penalty, and actions which go against it receive a -3 internal penalty.
    Illusion: An Illusion influences belief and judgement of fact or fiction. Tepet Arada is trustworthy, Peleps Deled can help me, The Unconquered Sun is worthy of respect, the Scarlet Empress lives, the Scarlet Empress is dead, the Scarlet Empress is a penguin; these are all examples of Illusions (though with natural mental influence, the last will likely need stunting or charms to fit the 'reasonable' criteria.) Unless otherwise noted, an imposed Illusion gives a -1 internal penalty to all actions not in line with it, and a -3 internal penalty on all actions which contradict it. Some judgement may be required, more than with most Emotions, I'm afraid.

    By and large, most permanent intimacies will also fall under one of these three broad categories, although many may fall under more than one or may require a little discussion with the player to determine which one. If no agreement can be reached, then use Logos/Pathos/Ethos as a guideline for which ability may affect it, or else say that both Presence and Performance may affect it.

    SOCIAL ATTRIBUTES
    Charisma covers all uses of pathos, and some methods of using ethos - it covers force of personality and emotional appeal. A high-Charisma person conveys the truth with the clear force of their convictions, and lies by false appeals to emotion and browbeating.
    Manipulation covers all uses of logos, and some methods of using ethos - it covers skill with words and argument. A high-Manipulation person conveys the truth with well-reasoned and self-evident argument, and lies by clouding the issue in confusion that lesser speakers cannot unravel.
    Appearance is, regrettably, staying. I've considered long and hard the idea of replacing it, but I would rather avoid such a massive change as replacing an attribute entirely - especially given artifacts, even good artifacts, which rely upon Appearance being a semi-physical trait. However, I feel no such compulsion not to clarify what I think Appearance should be, and no such compulsion to maintain its current mechanical effects.
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    -Appearance is NOT a purely physical state. A person of moderate beauty may possess the skill of using it such that they trace a path of fiery love wherever they go. A person of great beauty may be so self-evidently cold or closed off that their beauty cannot touch another to sway them. A person may have a strange air that renders them unapproachable yet somehow sacred; a mystic prophet whose words carry great weight merely because of the person saying them is of this sort even if all you see is a dark-robed figure.
    -Yet, the attribute is swayed by physical appearances, as lowercase-a appearance is a tool used to create uppercase-A Appearance. Most mortals of Creation have an effective Appearance of 1-2. Most high-ranking patricians and Dynasts of the Realm can manage to operate at an effective Appearance of at least 2-4. This is not necessarily because they are somehow more beautiful because of their rank, but because they possess the means to capitalize on what beauty they do have.
    -Appearance adds to social soak and social damage; once an attack hits, it must overcome your soak in order to inflict its effect, or else it can be brushed off as superficially convincing but meaningless. It does this because it is a natural way of establishing status. Perhaps such a judgement is superficial, but many do so - and this also means that a King with Appearance 2 will still have greater social soak and damage than a Peasant with Appearance 4. The status is quite clear, and not singly dependent upon an Attribute.


    SOCIAL ABILITIES
    Presence attacks focus on the specific, the definite, and the agreed-upon. They may inflict Compulsions based on convincing someone that a course of action is correct or a good idea, and Illusions of any reasonable sort. (Illusions include all alterations to beliefs of fact vs. fiction. It's a keyword, not a literal descriptor.) Presence is additionally capable of adjusting the targeting; a single person, a defined social combat unit, or 'everyone who hears the argument' are valid targets for a Presence attack, without even a stunt.
    Performance attacks focus on the general, the indefinite, and the uncertain. They may inflict Compulsions based on requests or granting enthusiasm for something, and Emotions of any reasonable sort. Performance always affects everyone around, barring unusual circumstances. Performance will, barring a stunt, always target everyone who hears the argument. Performance is additionally capable of contacting spirits as prayer, however, due to touching upon the indefinite and the general.

    Why do Presence and Performance have overlap?
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    You may notice that there is overlap between the two, and indeed that a clever and patient orator willing to use two social attacks when one would have done can achieve with one ability what the other specializes in. Especially with a stunt.
    This is not merely true but intended; it would be possible to differentiate the two more, but I don't believe that is a good idea. The two have a relationship more akin to Martial Arts and Melee, barring charms, than Melee and Archery. They do very similar things mechanically in very different ways - and once charms arrive, your choice becomes even more important. If you want more unusual abilities, read on.


    Investigation can make one specific sort of attack: It can create a Compulsion to answer a question. If this intimacy is successful, the target must immediately attempt to hide the information as a (Charisma or Manipulation)+(Socialize) roll, at a -3 internal penalty for contradicting the Compulsion, opposing the original Investigation attack's successes. If the target had an intimacy which the Compulsion contradicts, then they do not suffer the -3 internal penalty but must still attempt to hide the information. Asking such a question may take many forms; from several minutes of chatting on the topic or related ones to carefully observing the target's mannerisms before asking outright and watching for any tell-tale signs. The target need not blurt out the answer, but if they fail to conceal it then the questioner gets their answer nonetheless (Possibly a little vague, but always useful.) The compulsion is in all ways normal, but disappears after forcing its roll-off to conceal information. Obviously, one can also choose to simply give up the information freely, or even give it up to a question which doesn't have the skill of an Investigation attack behind it. Of course, then you can't be sure that the answer is true. The attacker is aware if they fail to receive information from a successful attack, but if they fail the attack then the defender will likely get +1-3 dice to an attempt to lie on the same subject, at least for one attack. For a botch, I recommend allowing the defender to make one such attempt reflexively.
    Integrity adds to Dodge MDV. It is a representation of internal confidence; Conviction may cover someone's zeal for their decisions, and the Virtue/Ability pair often are found together, but it is possible to be quite confident that they are right without being emotionally invested, or to be quite invested yet still plagued by intellectual doubts. It's pretty much identical to normal use.
    Socialize handles formalities and identifying connections between people. Unlike Investigation, it is primarily passive - though no more passive than, say, Stealth or Awareness is. Socialize allows one to spot the rising tension and stakes of conversation as easily as sharp eyes allow one to spot a hand creeping for a sword. Join Debate is thus Wits+Socialize, not Wits+Awareness. More on this later, when it's not 1 in the morning...
    Linguistics handles pre-constructed arguments and speechcraft. It is often more of an enhancement - or limiter - upon an existing ability than a Social Ability in its own right. It can also parry any social ability. More on this later, 1 in the morning, etc.
    Calligraphy is Craft (Air) and quite important for written Appearance; if your handwriting is a nigh-unreadable scrawl, then your argument's construction will need to be truly sublime to make up for it.

    {table=head]Attacker Uses|Defender May Use
    Presence|Presence or Linguistics
    Performance|Performance or Linguistics
    Investigation|Socialize or Linguistics[/table]
    Note that with a a stunt and a willing ST, you can parry any sort of attack with any appropriate ability. This table is for when you aren't stunting, although you should be stunting anyway.


    Basic Social Combat
    First, at the beginning of each scene mark down the temporary willpower points everyone starts with. This is their 'Starting Willpower' and is an important value.

    This covers social combat where the attacker is making the attempt, but not, for example, staking his life on the outcome. It costs the attacker nothing to make a Basic Social Attack. A defender who is struck will develop an intimacy which lasts the length of the scene, based on the attack. A defender who is struck by an attack which contradicts one of his virtues at 3+ may burn a virtue channel to reject the attack - if the virtue is rated at 1 or 2 they may still attempt a roll, and if they gain one success they may burn a virtue channel to reject the attack.

    A defender who is struck - even if they use a virtue channel to negate the intimacy - will lose 1wp, although they cannot be forced to less than 2wp below their Starting Willpower.

    Only two scene-length intimacies can be maintained on a target; imposing more will tend to shift someone's perspective to confusion, suspicion, or frustration. (The exact effects are up to the ST; if there is no choice that the ST wishes to make on the matter, I recommend replacing one or both temporary intimacies with Emotion: Confusion/Suspicion/Frustration/Whatever.)

    Attempting an attack contrary to a current intimacy faces the normal penalties, and if successful will only temporarily negate the Intimacy, but not apply the contradictory one. The intimacy cannot be moved further than this with Basic Social Combat, even with multiple attempts.

    What is this?
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    Essentially, Basic Social Combat is Natural Mental Influence as it currently is, except that you cannot spend WP to negate an attack; you'd need to have an appropriate virtue channel to burn, and you lose the willpower if the attack hits whether or not you reject it. Willpower loss is more like a wound penalty in social combat than it is a health track; your Intimacies, perhaps your Virtue Channels, information, NPC behavior, and most importantly your character's behavior - these are the health track of Social Combat.

    Don't forget those lovely internal penalties. An Emotion of "Fear me!" will impose -3 dice on all your foes if it hits... An Exalt or spirit with even 1 in Valor might burn a willpower point to automatically succeed on the roll to burn a virtue channel if they suspect immediate combat, but then they've spent 2wp and their lone Valor channel resisting it.

    Spirits, with their massive temporary willpower pools, are still more resistant to being harmed by social combat - but they still suffer the important Intimacy effects.


    Coming Soon: Serious Social Combat, and UMI (Hint: The two effects UMI has that NMI does not are Total Control and direct Willpower Drain.)
    Last edited by aetherialDawn; 2012-01-19 at 01:39 AM.
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    Sufficiently advanced paranoia is indistinguishable from complacency.

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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Tavar's Avatar

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    Default Re: [Exalted] AetherialDawn's Homebrew Work and Zenith Solution

    Couple comments:

    The Lack of posts can probably be attributed to 3 things. Firstly, the name is misleading. The Dawn Solution is so named because it applies to the Dawn caste of Solars, not because it's a fix for combat in general. Using a name that more expresses what you are doing might help get more responses. Secondly, the lack of posts is likely because the thread has fallen back in the page ranking. Remember, edits don't bump the page, so there's been about a month since you posted this thread and your last edit, and I seem to remember much less about social combat last time I checked this thread. Finally, these boards don't have a large, rule-savy exalted presence, which is what you need for something like this. I would suggest cross-posting onto the official White Wolf Exalted forums, or perhaps RPG.net(though the latter one I'm not familiar with).

    You mention Social Soak, but never go into detail.

    The chart...I don't like it. Why the division between what can block what?

    The fact that the ST gets to decide player responses is a bad, bad, bad mechanic. Unless you're under mind control by an NPC, that shouldn't be happening.

    Also, I'm not sure why you're making Natural Mental Influence harder to resist. Especially since, in your example, it's taking a minimum of 2 wp to resist: one to use a virtue channel, and one because you always lose one. I think this simply exacerbates the canon situation(where the appropriate response to someone rolling join debate is to roll join battle and kill the guy).

    Also, it seems to have removed quite a bit from normal social combat: eroding intimacies/motivations, building intimacies, that section seems gone.
    He fears his fate too much, and his reward is small, who will not put it to the touch, to win or lose it all.
    -James Graham, 1st Marquess of Montrose
    Satomi by Elagune

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