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Saturday, 31 May 2014

Reading Weapons of the Gods, part 2

A shorther post this time.
In WotG, everything is about kung-fu fighting.
>>"Your kung-fu is weak, you should learn with us and give us your land"... which you can then rent back. Imposing the feodal relationships with kung-fu, the virtuous path.
(Not so different from reality, too. In fact, reality was often close to the corrupt path).
 >>The Guard of the Frontier stops Lao Tzu from leaving.
Lao Tzu assumes a stance and with a single strike breaks his armour.
"I mean, please, write down your teachings before leaving, or our ancestors would be unhappy!"
...Yeah, I've read a somewhat different account in the history of Taoism.
>> The First Emperor fights Han Feizi to give him an opportunity to prove the teachings of Legalism. The winner isn't who you might expect.
Best line in that fight, IMO? "I had to adapt this principle somewhat when applying it to the art of the sword!"-Han Feizi.

Buddhism is presented... well,actually, in a quite historical way, assuming we mean the time soon after Buddhist doctrine was introduced to China.

I definitely don't like how daoism is presented, including the anti-virtues stance. In fact, it would be better to have said "daoism redefines the virtues". But to say that if nobody is virtuous, people couldn't be corrupt and would have to behave...?
Yeah, the data about drug dealers dealing with each other doesn't support that:)!


Well, at least the game doesn't use the name "Legalism" for the Confucianism. Although it has as much reason to do that, given that Shen Zhou is a fantasy setting as much as Tianxia;).


Reading: Weapons of the Gods

So, I'm currently reading Weapons of the Gods by Bradd E. and Rebecca B.;). I'm probably a bit of a weird duck in this regard, as I started out with the Legends of the Wulin, which is the supposedly cleaned-up and updated version of the same.
So, I've been reading Weapons of the Gods. First impressions:
My, that's a gorgeous PDF! I'd bet it's a gorgeous book as well. I like the manhua art!
(For those not in the know, Korean manga comics are called Manhwa, and Chinese manga comics are called manhua. And in my contry, everything is called "comics" if it has pictures and speech and is telling a story).
Been considering a PoD option ever since... or contacting Brad E. to see whether he's still got any copies left. On the other hand, I really don't need extra books at home...
Ok, second impressions.
So far, I'm not seeing the cleaned-up part. Maybe it's because I've already read LotW and how things work is something I already know? Or maybe because I seldom have trouble understanding systems (being too bored with them to bother applying them is a thing, though).
Whatever. I edit texts as part of my work, I'm not going to go into work mode on this text.

What are the differences?
*Well, there are two possible skills to use for attack in WotG, while the new version makes you attack with the same skill, but separates it from your defence. In essence, they've both got 3 skills devoted to attack and defence, except in WotG you can attack with two of them and defend with any, and in LotG, two are strictly for defence and only the third attacks.
*The most conceptual difference is, skills in WotG give you a bigger dicepool, while skills in LotW give you bonuses to the static dicepool... but that's not a clean-up in my book. It just means numbers in LotW can get into the triple digits far more easily. But since it's an opposed roll either way, I wouldn't say it matters,given equal numbers of dice. Well, bonuses are more valuable in WotG, while their relative parity is assumed in LotW (and then you're competing for outlasting the enemy, removing his bonuses and gaining the Laaughs At/Fears, or to make a check where he hasn't got the needed bonuses, like opposed skills). WotG's approach works better for normal humans without cultivated Chi, though (probably, I haven't played it yet!)
*It's easier to combine weapons in WotG. Some weapons are giving you a bonus when used in similar pairs. Mismatched pairs are also possible, and probably more beneficial.
*Grappling is its own thing in WotG.
*Disarming and weapon-breaking is possible. It actually says in the rules that being able to fight unarmed as well is important, because it might well happen and is a thing in the source material.
*In a way, so far my impressions are that LotW is having a Fate influence. I'll see whether Discoveries are a thing in WotG when I get to the Secret Arts (currently reading the setting loresheets)... if there are no Discoveries, I'll be sure there's been a Fate influence.
Not that I mind Fate influences, of course. I just like to know where things are coming from.
*LotW's Loresheets are undeniably clearer and with more options. At least the ones for the major factions are...I find that to be a big improvement, yes. Note: in WotG a Loresheet is a subject you have studied, while in LotW it's something that is part of your CV (if you're disclosing it all).
*Deeds are tied to Virtues, but I like the WotG explanation of the Virtues better. OTOH, they aren't numerically rated.

We'll see about my impressions as I finish the game.

Friday, 30 May 2014

The Great Exalted XP Debate

I'm following the Great Exalted XP debate over on RPG.net. It's still going...strong isn't the word. It's going boring. Yeah, that's the word, boring.

Why? Well, let me sum the debate for you and save you reading 800+ posts on the Great Purple.
Group A: "The linear BP costs in chargen, combined with quadratic XP costs for advancement leads to different XP costs depending on whether you buy your skills in the order A, B, C or in order B, A, C. Therefore, it makes sense to either pass to using Build Points instead of XP, or to use templates that have the same XP values, at least for skills." (1)
Group B, including the developers: "That's not an issue, because being an Exalted is hard. Therefore, if you want to act in the normal order, it should be hard to you as well!" (2)
Group A: "But it would still be hard if it wasn't screwing over anyone that doesn't master the chargen minigame,and rewarding the system mastery disproportionately!" (3)
Group B: "But it doesn't feel hard! And it should! Just max out skills and attributes and buy for the minimum XP needed." (4)
Group A: "Ok, just state that clearly in the book in order not to screw over new players?" (5)
Group B: "And raise a controversial topic that might lead to discussions? No way in Malfeas we're doing that!" (6)
Group A: "You do realise you're screwing other people for playing to their concept? We're just going to houserule it. But that's the Rule Zero Fallacy, so it doesn't fix the game you're selling, just our playtime experience. Also known as "keeping it together on spit and baling wire". The whole damned point of Exalted 3e was we shouldn't need to houserule so much...and we're having to start before the damned game is out!" (7)
Group B: "You're just mean and that's why we're keeping all the info about the game under lid!" (8)
Now pick a random statement and an answer and read it again. And again.
You can also randomise it. Since more than one person is discussing on both sides, sometimes the answers don't reply exactly to the point before them (and that's what the quote function is about). Now throw 800-900 d8 and you're done!

Here you go. I just saved you reading the whole mastodont of a thread.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Two Internal Styles for LotW


Burning Meteor Palm
That’s a style that attacks with the practitioner’s palms being engulfed by flames. As such, it is not usable if your weapon isn’t Unarmed, or at least including Unarmed.
Unlike Fire Sutra, there are almost no open eruptions of Flame. The flames engulf and protect the body, focus on the palms to deal damage, or speed your moves like dancing flames. 1. Scorching Palm
Your palm is hot! Any enemy should beware of being struck by your fiery assault!
Use a Burn attack with a +5 bonus as a Minor action on the attack roll.
2. Raging fire palm
Your flame is hot like a raging fire, a ball of flame hanging right in front of it!
Use a Burn attack with a +10 bonus as a Minor action on the attack roll.
2. Flame-propelled meteor fist!
The fire within transforms to ash at the moment of impact, making your fist as strong as a mace! Any enemy that doesn’t avoid it, is bound to be sorry.
Add the Massive tag to your strike, subject to the usual restrictions. Even if you have another technique improving your Unarmed, you can’t exchange Unarmed to combine the two tags.
2. Flames protect the heart/h
The flame burning in your centers bursts forth from your skin, making your enemy step aside. Even though you might have moved just a little, in the end the strike is averted, and the enemy learns that playing with fire is risky!
The attack of any enemy attacking from the same zone Fears your defence and cannot Laugh at it. If you also boost it for 2 Chi, it suffers a -5 penalty.
2.Whips of ash follow the prey
A prehensile whip of hot ash extends from your palm, changing direction as to chase a fleeing enemy!
Add the Flexible tag to your strike, subject to the usual restrictions. Even if you have another technique improving your Unarmed, you can’t exchange Unarmed to combine the two tags.

3. Hanging flame sleeves
The flames surge upwards to your shoulders and linger there, hanging like red-hot sleeves that repulse or burn any weapon. Thus they allow your hands to cover a much broader area!
You receive a +10 Block round-long
3. Burning Fist Shatters The Ice
Your flaming palm shatters the
Use a Burn attack with a +15 bonus as a Minor action on the attack roll. If it provokes a Rippling roll, you get a +5 to the results of it.
3. Dancing Fire Burns Everything
The practitioner allows themselves to follow the dance of the fire, gliding across the battlefield to strike at everything in reach.
Your attack is an Area Attack. Additionally, if you have decided to Cover Ground and reach another zone or zones, everyone in the zones you’re passing is subject to your Area attack.
4. Volcano fists burn the heart
The fire covers your fists like molten lava, making it impossible to withstand their touch.
Use a Burn attack with a +20 bonus as a Minor action on the attack roll. If it provokes a Rippling roll, you get a +10 to the results of it.
4.Fire Drives The Cannon Ball
Your attack is as fast as a cannon’s ball, hitting explosively and leaving no room for defence.
You have a +20 Strike. If your attack hits, it inflicts an additional Ripple.
5. Sparkling Meteor Palm Turns The Heart To Ashes
The palm is engulfed by fire, flying like a meteor through the air.
Use a Burn attack with a +25 bonus as a Minor action on the attack roll. If it provokes a Rippling roll, you get a +15 to the results of it. Additionally:
You get a +10 Strike.
OR
This attack can even hurt spirits and immaterial beings that cannot be dealt with by a normal weapon.
Still haven't decided which one...

Dark Palm of Seth
That’s a Corrupt style that attacks with the practitioner’s palms being the primary tool for delivering dark energies. As such, it is not usable if your weapon isn’t Unarmed, or at least including Unarmed.
Some say it’s the dark variant of Burning Meteor Palm. BMP stylists often take offence at this.
Others say BMP was derived by this style, and BMP stylists often start flaming the bearers of such ideas if they express them within hearing – and therefore scorching – range of them.
1.  Cursed Palm
Energies Man Was Not Meant To Use fill your attack, turning it into an energy-draining strike!
If your attack hits, it inflicts a Curse instead.
2. Jump of the hopping vampire
Your palm flies first, forcing the enemy to defend, while you avoid the weapons pointed at you
You have a +5 to Speed and +5 to Finesse.
2. Paralysing touch of the undead
Enemies touched by your strike feel it hard to move.
Make a Finesse Disrupt Marvel based on touching your enemy. You can stack up to two of these marvels on the enemy’s Strike, and their effects combine. It cannot target Toughness.
2. Who can hurt evil?
The master of pain hurts others, it's not his style to get hurt!
The attack of any enemy attacking from the same zone Fears your defence and cannot Laugh at it. If you also boost it for 2 Chi, it suffers a -5 penalty. You can only boost it up to twice, no matter your rank.
2.Mind-Dissolving Presence
When the dead come for them, even the bravest soul knows fear. The dead, on their side, know no fear.
You Laugh At the defence of the enemy and cannot Fear it, and he Fears your attack.
3.Unescapable Death
The corrupt energy makes you hurry to hurt the enemy, changing its direction in order not to allow escape.
Add the Flexible tag to your strike, subject to the usual restrictions. If you extend your attack in another zone, you must use your Strike result as an unannounced Covering Ground result. If it’s not enough to Cover Ground to the enemy, your attack fails. However, if you’re in combat with another enemy and his initiative was higher than yours, he can roll his Lake only for the purposes of stopping your movement.
3. Negative energy fills the space
Wherever the enemy turns, there's a cursed palm coming. Avoiding one is no guarantee of avoiding the other.
You have a Secondary attack
3. Dancing Fire Runs Before The Storm
The practitioner allows themselves to follow the dance of the fire, gliding across the battlefield to strike at everything in reach.
+10 Round-long to Footwork
4. Mastery of the hidden
The corrupt yin energy of this style don't make you invisible, but it's nearly so fire covers your fists like molten lava, making it impossible to withstand their touch.
You get a +10 to Stealth and the enemy gets -5 to Break your Waves
4.Murderous Intent
Your attack is as vicious as the charge of a demon lord.
You have a +20 Strike. If your attack hits, it inflicts an additional Ripple.
5. Just a touch of bad luck
The corruption is strong in this one! It can even change the will of Heavens - at least for a moment. Sometimes, a moment is all it takes.
In an opposed roll, your enemy has to re-roll his entire lake.