What about those "clever" Sidereals who find extraordinarily broad applications for their WSAV, Rebecca?
Dr. Moran replied:
I'm puzzled. The breadth of WSAV is fixed. When you hit a breadth inappropriate for a specialty, which I will reasonably extrapolate to "for any ability to which you'll apply this", it's not even legal. Up until that, yes, it's clever.
Melee 5 (In Combat +3)\ Socialize 5 (Not Painted Green +3)\ Ride 5 (When Mounted +3)\ Or:
Martial Arts 5 (Formalized Action +3)
"Using Martial Arts is always a formalized action."
Which is identical to:
Martial Arts 5 (Martial Arts +3)
You can allow this if you want. :) Personally, I'm not going to let players apply a specialty to every roll unless they go out of their way to apply the relevant circumstances to every roll. I can see heavily formalized *use* of martial arts, with careful stunt crafting, that gets it on most rolls, but not:
"I do that Jackie Chan thing with the ladder." "Okay. That's a formalized action. Your TN is 4."
Much depends, admittedly, on how many of the NPCs in your game like to paint people green, and how often. :)
I see where you're coming from, Rebecca, but… hhm… well, I guess it's my own inherent problem with the nature of "the breadth of a specialty." I mean, the thing is that "swords" is a perfectly reasonable Melee specialty and "dance" is a perfectly reasonable Performance specialty (both from the core). I've also often seen "when unarmored" mentioned on forums as a pretty standard Dodge specialty. On that logic, I'd be willing to believe "Water Dragon Style" as an MA specialty and "When in DBT Form" as a Lunar specialty for pretty much any ability the Lunar chose to take it with.
Dr. Moran replied:
The limit on specialties is not "it must be applicable at most X% of the time". Rather, they're limited by "it must be applicable to at most X% of the potential of the relevant Abilities." Where X is sort of up to the Storyteller's tolerance. You can act to minimize your need for the rest of that potential. That's why it's called a specialty: it makes you a specialist.
"When unarmored" is kind of an unusual case. How much potential it gives up depends on the character. _That's okay._ But that doesn't mean that, as a specialty, it's equally valid for the girl with starmetal superheavy plate and Melee Charms out the yin-yang and the fae martial artist whose skin boils away (doing 1L a turn) if she wears anything but unenchanted silk.
Or, in other words, it is just plain silly to say, "Ah, if I choose my specialty cleverly enough, it functions as a generality!"
Eclipses and World-Shaping Artistic Vision
For reference, my philosophy is: Eclipses are gross, but it's their right to be gross. Nerfing them wasn't my job. Most Sidereal Charms are available to them, not because Sidereal Charms aren't weird and Sidereal but because Eclipses actually have the anima power described in the book-they can learn weird Charms of other types. It doesn't make the powers "closer" to Solar abilities than Lunar Charms are. It just means that more of their Charms are … just Charms, rather than a combination of "intrinsic power + Charm".
One way to read a lot of Lunar Charm restrictions is: "This Charm only works if the user is naturally protean. Fortunately, Lunars are."
Similarly, the Sidereal Charm restrictions are: "This Charm only works if the user is the Maidens' servant. Fortunately, Sidereals are."
On the one hand, it would have been nice to block Eclipse WSAV. And on the other, I didn't really want to block Eclipse Mark of Exaltation. But, contrary to some peoples' suspicions, disempowering Solars wasn't the goal. So, Eclipses get the Charms that they should logically get-the ones that are fundamentally essence manipulation techniques, even if they manipulate fate in ways that four castes of Solars can't. And they don't get the ones that rely on being one of the Maidens' servants, unless they sell the Maiden herself on it. (I had a third alternative-deliberately making more of the Charms rely on Sidereal nature. But, scary as it is, WSAV is no DBT, and none of the other Charms are even close; and I reasoned that Solar Storytellers who found WSAV uncomfortable would just restrict it to the specific Vision that the Sidereal teacher had.)
The Scope of Target Number Reduction
Soak is not rolled in Exalted. :)
Most TN-reducing Charms specifically state what they affect. Some of them do affect damage or "all dice pools" (including damage) towards the desired end.
Worth particular note: WSAV doesn't affect damage rolls — it affects TNs for actions that the character takes.