Revised Martial Arts Charms

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AT: My own suggestions are marked like this and haven't yet been okayed by the Storyteller. Anything not thus marked is taken from offline discussions with the Storyteller, and should be final barring mistakes on my part.


General Martial Arts

If a Style supports Form Weapons which aren't usable with the Martial Arts ability (e.g. a sword or bow) then a practitioner is able to use that weapon with the Martial Arts ability only when under the effects of a Charm of that Style. The Form allows such use for as long as it is active, but Instant or other Charm effects which apply to an attack or parry qualify as well.

AT: What about Charms from the Style (other than the Form) which don't directly apply to an attack or parry? E.g. would applying a Soak Enhancer with a non-instant duration allow for usage of the Form weapon during its duration?
BTS: The rules on this are pretty simple. The Martial Arts Ability covers unarmed attacks and attacks with certain weapons (those with the M tag). Each MA style says that Charms of that style treat attacks or parries with certain other weapons as unarmed. That makes those other weapons usable with the Martial Arts Ability. That's all that lets you use those weapons with the Martial Arts Ability. Now, most of what you do with the Martial Arts Ability is attacks or parries. Most Form Charms give you some benefit to those, even if it's just parrying lethal damage while unarmed without a stunt or doing lethal or bashing damage with your attacks. So those let you use your Form Weapons. Something like Blade of the Battle Maiden would also let you use your Form Weapons. When not using such Charms, you're covered by the ordinary rules. In other words, no, a Soak Enhancer probably doesn't let you use the Form Weapons.
AT: Right, I get that distinction for ordinary Charms, just wanted to confirm. I don't want to stray as you do into making the Form Charm only a
BTS: Imagine if this weren't the case. What Archer wouldn't learn one Charm of the Wood Dragon Style for the permanent damage bonus?

Violet Bier of Sorrows Style

See RevisingSiderealCharms.

Fire Dragon Style

AT: The signature weapons described for Fire Dragon Style sure sound like Hook Swords to me. Is there a reason they aren't stated as such? Perhaps because until Scroll of the Monk there weren't any stats for artifact Hook Swords? Or because the intent is explicitly to make them weapons only normally usable by Melee (which is Fire aspected)?

BTS: You've got me. There are separate Short Diklaive stats that have been around for a while; are you sure these aren't those?
AT: They refer to short daiklaves by name as the artifact version, and call the ordinary version short swords. However they also go out of their way to describe the "paired short swords, each curved to a claw-like point at the end" which sure sounds like Hook Swords to me.

Wood Dragon Style

Unbreakable Fascination Kata

Add the keyword Compulsion. This effect can be ignored for 2WP. This is Unnatural Mental Influence.

Enthralling Blow Attack

Add the keyword Compulsion. This effect can be ignored for 4WP. That cost drops by 1 WP per action to a minimum of 1. This is Unnatural Mental Influence.

Spirit-Rending Technique

AT: The high cost and very low amount of damage of this Charm suggests that by "level of damage" they probably don't mean pre-soak dice (they say "dice" explicitly in Soul Mastery). I'm guessing they mean health levels, or perhaps more precisely unsoakable (except with perfects) dice which always roll successes. BTS: This author knew what he was writing. He really does mean unsoakable health levels. He explicitly says "aggravated health level" in the second description of the damage.

Death-Pattern Sensing Attitude

AT: Is there really no initial cost when this Simple Charm is activated? I'm not complaining, but it's kinda odd, and opens questions of whether effects like AESS will detect it (I think they should).
BTS: And yet one Charm later he completely lost it. In first edition, this had an activation cost of 5m+1W, then an extra 1m per Dodge. But now Threshold Warding Stance grants ordinary Terrestrials a Dodge without most penalties for 1m. 5m+1W is way too much for that. Solars get Shadow Over Water, which is 2m + your Activation. What's worth committing to get a Scene Length like that? Let's call it 3m to activate this Charm, and your Activation once, and then you're fine. I could almost believe it's meant to be free.... almost.
AT: I think that sounds fine. Interestingly, saving the Charm Activation isn't even a bonus for Dragon Blooded, who can freely activate Reflexives. And this one requires a full action since it's Simple, which was maybe why it might've made sense to be free. Still, free Charms are weird, and this Charm isn't limited only to DBs.

Citrine Poxes of Contagion Style

AT: Comparing this Style to its 1st-Ed version (actually more-so CMoS, which I'm not going to do a detailes mechanics-analysis of yet) has revealed the sad way in which the 2nd-Ed author threw out much of the useful flavor, while not bothering to update in some cases where mehanic differences really merited changes. *sigh*

BTS: I quite agree. If it were possible for the other players to buy the 1e Sidereals book, I'd lean more heavily on it. As it is... we work with what we have.

Disjointed Essence Infectious Atemi

AT It's unclear whether the "use a simple Charm" and "use a Combo" options are or aren't required to fulfil the disease's purpose. If you do one of those things, do you have to use them to fulfil the disease's purpose, or do you get to ignore the effect if you use a Charm or Combo? I suggest the former.

BTS: They are not. Part of the point is that victims will be tempted to use Charms so as not to fulfil the purpose. This drains their Essence pools and commits their Charms, making them vulnerable.

Perfect Reconstuction Method

AT: I'm confused by the XP cost of this Charm's stats. Is that just meant to indicate the XP spent by the target when healing permanent trait loss? Or is it intended that the Siderial spends 1 XP for every use of this Charm? The latter seems unnecessarily punative, and encourages the Charm to never be used. I'm personally against spending a permanent resource like XP to power magic, unless that magic is having a permanent effect it would normally make sense to buy with XP (like creating a Familar background with a Ride Charm).

BTS: No, the Siderial spends 1 XP for every use of this Charm. It is meant to be a Hail Mary, emergency use Charm. Otherwise it's a free way to heal all your bashing, 5L, Crippling effects, and be hunky dory in one turn---the Elder Sutra makes it free, and even the Student Sutra makes it a 3m+1W Charm. That may make it Not The Charm For You---but consider that you can pay for it with one 3-die Stunt. It is there so that you can rescue a character otherwise at Death's Door.
AT: Right, in which case it's a Hail Mary Charm only, used only at a major dramatic moment. It's not the miraculous healing power I'd like for my Doctor Siderial when he hits high-Essence. I need to find that elsewhere, which seems to be either Archery (I shoot you and you get better) or Wood Dragon Style. I find it odd that Spirit and Body Purification Touch (sibling charm to this one) is a "free" (in your words) full-heal for poison/disease/posession/curses, plus a power-transfer. I wouldn't have thought of that as inherently less abusive.

Inner Dragon Unbinding

AT: The question of the proper Step for this reflexive Charm leads to a bigger question. The first paragraph seesms to suggest the Charm can be used by the Siderial on others, while the second paragraph seems to apply to the Siderial himself. The 1st-Ed version clearly only applied to the sideral himself, so direct copying from there could explain the confusion. Seems like the Charm should either apply both effects to any target (in which case it's Step 1 when used on someone else, and should probably have the Touch keyword), or should be only used in defensive mode (in which case it's Step 2).

BTS: This should only work on the Siderial user himself. If you want to heal others, there's a nice Charm for it further up the tree. I actually suspect it ought to be Step 7. That makes it, like Adamant Skin Technique, excellent when your ordinary defenses have failed.
AT: Which direction do you think is "up" in a Charm tree? Is Perfect Reconstruction the other charm to which you refer? It does remove Crippling effects, though it doesn't have the other nice side-effects this one does. Or do you mean the "Curses" aspect of Spirit and Body Purification? Either way there's no direct mapping. I think this one is fine as self-only, mind you. Step 7 makes it more powerful than if it's Step 2.

Flare of Invulnerability Method

AT: The 2nd-Ed cost of "10m per action after activation" seems to suggest that there's no actual activation cost to this Charm. Weird, though could exist as a special case. The 1st-Ed version pretty clearly had a 10-mote activation cost. A reasonable compromise might be that the "must burn 10 motes" limitation applies on actions including the one on which the Charm is activated. Which means you'll end up throwing away 10 motes on it anyway, unless you have a Combo, or independant actions via CMoS with which to make use of those motes.

BTS: It works out to the same thing: yes, you must burn ten motes on that first action as well. You can call it a cost or not as you please.
AT: Oh, I'd missed the fact that this Charm is not Combo-OK. In that case the difference is usually going to be academic. Though if you have some other way of burning motes (e.g. to fuel an Artifact) then the difference would be relevant.

Citrine Poxes of Contagion Form

The name of this disease is "Iphimedeia" (otherwise the line in the sutra "from him the malady received its name" makes less sense - unless I'm misunderstanding it anyway). (Theme)
BTS: Sure.

AT: I'd also like to preserve the distinctive flare with symbol of the disease from 1st-Ed. Not just for the thematic effects, but because it clearly allows a knowledgeable opponent (maybe after an Occult, Medicine, or MA roll) to know what's about to happen and activate Immunity to Everything or somesuch.

BTS: Sure.

AT: 2nd-Ed simplified the non-damage affects of the disease somewhat, which may be for the best. However it also notably removed the ability of the Siderial to exempt allies from the effects (in 1st-Ed he could protect a number of allies equal to Essence). I'm not sure that's a good thing. Being willing to hurt everyone around you may be a good test of Conviction, and it's very appropriate for a Siderial as lone-NPC-villain, but in a Circle of PCs it's likely to just piss off the other PCs and end up with the Charm hardly being used.

BTS: The complicated Virtue interactions were neat, but amounted to a giant You're Screwed for anyone fighting the Sidereal. This is at least circumventable... but it does make Citrine Poxes a very specialized Style. It's good for its defensive Charms. It's good for solo fighters. It's much less good for people on teams, or who will be fighting within 50-100 yards of others. We should either add in the old effects all together, or leave them all out. Have a preference?
AT: I'm not sure why you see it as all-or-nothing? THe ability to shield your comrades at the top of the old charm description seems pretty separable from all the Virtue-related stuff at the bottom. Also, I think the current effects are a pretty giant "You're Screwed" as they are. I'm actually not sure either is worse. The new effect is basically the result of one set of choices on the old effect (choose not to dance, succeed at your Temperance roll). The other options which used to exist don't anymore. In particular, choosing to dance is your full action, not a single die-action you can flurry. But Charcoal March of Spiders is a heck of a "You're Screwed" too, just in a different way.
tmack: Please don't beat up the other PCs. I don't think we have a healing character, and wound penalties are horrible. Also, I'm not sure exactly what the effects of this disease are, but given that it's named for a nymph who was in love with her grandfather and successfully impregnated herself with seawater as some sort of proxy for him, I don't think Nameless Crow would appreciate your giving it to him. More seriously, it's a pain to work out exactly where people are standing in combat to avoid area-effect effects. If there's a way of shielding the party from splash damage with your charm, I will be happier in-character and combat will be less of a headache for me out of character.
AT:: What Thomas said - I'd rather not be forced to screw my comrades. Note that I do plan to be a party healer, though you don't get to heal HLs without Essence 4 and a lot of prereqs. Anyone who has this Form also has the pre-requisite charm which will cure the disease.

AT: New/separate question. If someone stays within the area, do they need to resist the disease only once, or does the ongoing effect mean they have to resist it repeatedly? E.g. can a Solar avoid this with a single use of Seven Shadow, or does he need one for each of the Siderial's actions? Or if someone uses a Reflexive charm to buy enough successes on the Sta+Res roll to resist, do they need to keep doing so, or are they done?

It's a separate attack every time. I know first edition made that clear; second may not. On your action the cloud individually attacks each person within it, except you. Solars do have the Immunity To Everything Technique, which grants them immunity for the scene. As to the exception issue: what about a follow-on Charm, or a "At 1 more Essence than you needed to learn this Charm, you can exempt a number of people equal to your Essence" statement? That preserves the danger but lets you get out of it with more experience. Brian Sniffen 09:23, 24 March 2008 (PDT)
AT: I don't think the constant-attack nature was clear even in 1e, but it seems reasonable for an ongoing AOE.
AT: I don't think the exclusion at Essence 6 only deals with the player-level issue which Thomas brought up here or in email. Screwing over innocent bystanders and lackeys is one thing. Being forced to screw over the other PCs ends up being rude. If you don't like the ability to freelly exclude (Essence) allies as in 1e, how about excluding that many at an additional cost? Probably 1-2m each, otherwise it gets prohibitively expensive on top of the 15m+1W the Charm already costs.
I'm not going to add house-rules that significantly enhance the utility of an effect based on misleading statements like that. It is not about being forced to screw over other PCs. It is about being forced to be careful where you point your WMD. Part of the deal with Disease Style is that the Form is tricky to use when fighting with allies. Your plans can't include forming a front with your buddies; you have to send the Pariah around the back to come in solo, and everybody else wants to be very careful that they don't go near him. And then it's up to him what he does about that. If you don't want the Pariah theming, learn a different MA Style. This is one of the places where I generally approve of what the 2e authors did. Brian Sniffen 23:46, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Charcoal March of Spiders

Unnatural Many-Step Stride

You can only toggle your material state at the beginning of your turn. It isn't a Charm activation. This does mean you don't have a 1-mote dodge-by-becoming-immaterial.

  • AT: I definitely wasn't expecting this to be a reflexive dodge, though I can see how that's a possible interpretation of "between actions". My interpretation of "between actions" was that you can choose to dematerialize at the end of your action (effectively Step 10), and you re-materialize again at the start of your next action. The 1E version was definitely not "between actions", but instead you dematerialized from the start of your action to the start of your next one. There are advantages and disadvantages of both versions. My interpretation of the 2E versino allows you to intersperse material attacks with periods of safety, but it also allows an opponent to Guard so as to act in your tick and hit you while you're material. Ideally I'd want both options, but I'll settle for one.

You disquiet and discomfort your allies, who are invited to stunt retching, turning away, averting their eyes, etc. It only forces Valor rolls from those you are fighting.

  • AT: That's nicer to allies than I'd been expecting, given your ruling on Citrine Poxes of Contagion. Not that I suppose I should complain. I'd guess that the effect could be stunted around by refusing to look at me (Medusa-style), though if an opponent does that they probably take blindness penalties to hit me, and all my attacks become unexpected. Also, I think "lose her action" should be read as "her action becomes Inactive".

tmack: According to the charm's flavortext, the Stride is so disconcerting because the martial artist walks on air with the weird contortions of a spider. So we're freaking out because the spider is moving like...a spider. Granted, it's a spider walking on air, but I don't see why that's any freakier than punching someone through a mirror, dissolving into five black shards, or sticking a non-existent sword into someone and eating his memories. Willing suspension of disbelief is called for, I suppose.

  • AT: Definitely a kludge, yes, which I wouldn't worry about. It's a nifty supernatural effect with a rough hand-wave of an excuse.
    • tmack: Of course I'm not worrying about it.
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