On What Essence 6+ Charms Ought to Be Like

.. no, sorry, let me rephrase there. Every E6+ Charm that has been written is terrible. I’m not saying that anything beyond 5 is automatically bad, just that every attempt so far to write one that isn’t has failed. – Aleph

This is basically a problem with the core game not having a high enough scope.

Essence 6+ Charms should not really be different in kind than Essence 1~5, but only in scope. They should emphasize you moving from individual heroism to being the source of power for entire civilizations. Make effects bigger not better.

So less “I hit for 52 dice of damage” and more “I hit the enemy city in the infrastructure. Say goodbye to your granaries.”

(in response to being asked if that meant esoteric things like Sidereal Martial Arts)

Not necessarily esoteric, but more expanded in scope to superhuman levels. Like, I meant it when I said a Essence 6+ melee charm should be able to basically destroy infrastructure. The key would be to make it clear that in small unit combat (ie, typical Circle vs Circle confrontations) the metagame doesn’t really change. But just expand that metagame out: a melee 7 character should be carving rivers, smashing down castles and so on.

Similar expansions should apply to other Abilities. Bureaucracy 6+ should not be fundamentally different than the previous five, but instead be more universally applicable. For example, you could have a Bureaucracy 7 Charm that allows you to designate someone as a Proxy in any organization that has loyalty to you. This Proxy would do stuff like allow you to maintain the effects of Bureaucracy Charms on the organization as long as the Proxy was still able to make decisions on your behalf even if you did something like go half way across Creation to participate in a behemoth hunt. This dramatically expands the scope of your options (ie, you can set up multiple Proxies to expand your reach) but not the type of your options (ie, you can only drop your standard Bureaucracy loadout on them, you don’t get “Even Faster Wheels”). It also maintains a point of failure, since it means that your Proxy could be assassinated or subverted or bypassed in some way requiring you to check in on them occasionally to make certain things are running efficiently.

This is how I figure the High First Age managed to do all its insane stuff. It wasn’t that Twilights had Craftsman Needs No Tools Super Haxx Ultimate Edition, its that Twilights could invest factory cathedrals with Enlightened Supply Chain Efficiency Prana which granted the benefits of the Charm to anyone in the workshop. High enough Essence Twilights could indoctrinate armies of mortals and put them into specially blessed factories and have them churning out mass produced artifacts. But the entire thing was predicated on the Solars being around to maintain mote commitments to all this stuff and periodically checking in to make certain somebody wasn’t using the factory to build Solar killing power armor (hint; Twilights got lazy) and then when the Solars were all dead and the Lunars withdrawn, the Dragonblooded literally did not have the magic to maintain the enchantments which sustained the High First Age.

And this applied to everything from manufacturing to medical care, education, trade, art and communication and travel and on and on.

The idea is to make it clear that the higher Essence the Solar gets, the more they become a lynchpin to an entire civilization. Less a Load-Bearing Boss and more a Civilization-Bearing Boss. You assassinate the queen of a Solar controlled nation, and all her good works begin to fail and fall apart.

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