Dragon Blooded Combat Competency

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LefferDP
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Occult (Sorcery)

Shake N' Bake (8) - Fire (/ Air), Light Armor
Spoiler
Requires: Occult 3, High Intelligence, Good Perception

Occult (5) - Hidden Secrets Whisper, Spirit-Detecting Mirror Technique, Spirit-Grounding Shout, Spirit-Chaining Strike,
                     Terrestrial Circle Sorcery (Control Spell: Flight of the Brilliant Raptor)
Dodge (3) - Threshold Warding Stance, Flickering Candle Meditation, Hopping Firecracker Evasion
Merit - (Pact with an Ifrit Lord) The Burning Name

Uses: Your Occult charms help your team deal with spirits. The Burning Name lets you make attacks with (Intelligence + Occult), which is fun. Use Hopping Firecracker Evasion to stay out of range of melee enemies. When you have built up your withering, dump a  Flight of the Brilliant Raptor on them. Consider taking the Merit Suzerain of Endless Flame.

Progression: At Essence 3 you want to pick up Dragon-Sorcerer Puissance to gain 3 sorcerous motes when you shape sorcery for Flight of the Brilliant Raptor. You can always grab additional Fire Charms like Ember-Amid-Smoke Misdirection and Unassailable Body of Fire.

Air (2) - Five Winds Rainment, Light-as-Clouds Method. If you want a bit more Defensive investment here, you can use Light-as-Clouds Method to keep your distance even more. Five Winds Raiment provides a bit more protection when shaping spells Definitely take the Unburnt Majesty merit if you aren't Fire aspected since you can expect it to spread.


I think we're nearing the end of the builds here.

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Performance

Three String Samurai (5+) 
Spoiler
Requires: Performance 5, High Wits

Performance (4) - Audience-Enthusing Display, Talented Improvisation, Sanxian-Charming Fingers, Vibrating Strings Defense,
Melee (1) - Stoking Bonfire Style

Use: This build assume you're going to mostly going to be using social actions during combat. However you have one neat trick in that you can use Vibrating Strings Defense to clash enemies, enhancing it with a full excellency, double 9s, and rerolling (Essence) non-1 failures. Works great against enemies with high Defense. Melee is there for defense and when you want to make the occasional attack.

Progression: So the base Charms are a little deceptive here. You really need the Essence 3 Charms Three String Sword Prana and Battle Anthem of Ten Thousand Dragons to pull this together. If you activate the Battle Anthem at the start, you're providing an extra withering damage to everything any other allies deals.  Three String Sword Prana is your source of decisive attacks, hopefully giving you a larger dice pool than your dexterity + melee.
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Basics

Minimal Investment

Melee and Brawl
Melee and Brawl provide the best return on investments if you just want defense and offense since you can parry with them. Melee is more flexible once you get out of the initial charms and gives more variety in artifacts. You basically just want the initial 3 investment + a relevant specialty and the excellency. I would strongly suggest some Athletics + Excellency to allow you to reach ranged opponents.
  • Brawl 3 + Specialty, Become the Hammer
  • Melee 3 + Specialty, Stoking Bonfire Style
  • (Recommended) Athletics 3, Effortlessly Rising Flame
Thrown and Archery
Thrown and Archery require Dodge to give you defense, but otherwise your demands are similar. Thrown using weapons such as daggers can use Melee for defense instead if desired, but I think Dodge is usually more generally useful. If you're going Thrown, make sure you use a sling or an artifact weapon that will return to your hand, otherwise you need another Charm.
  • Thrown 3 + Specialty, Seeking Throw Technique
  • Archery 3 + Specialty,  Unobstructed Hunter‘s Aim, (Firewands) Harvest of the Hunter, Boughs of Burning Autumn
  • Dodge 3 + Specialty, Threshold Warding Stance

Suggested Helpful Charms

Few of the sample builds include these charms as they're very useful but not mandatory. However I would strongly recommend them as supplemental methods of increasing combat ability.

Resistance Charms
Almost every build will take an Ox-Body. It makes it difficult for enemies to one shot you when they build up a little Initiative. Impervious Skin of Stone is also good, assuming you haven't completely dumped Stamina.
  • Ox-Body Technique
  • (Decent Stamina) Impervious Skin of Stone
Elsewhere Charms
Being able to have your weapons an armor anywhere is very useful. You get to avoid the penalty for flurrying drawing your weapon and just always have these items available. Archers are in a weird position because no equivalent archery charm exists. Resistance requires more expenditure since it's gated behind an extra charm you may not use if you aren't a mixed build or Wood aura.
  • (Melee) Elemental Sheath, (Thrown) Invisibly Hidden Chakram Method
  • (Resistance) Supple Viridian Scales, Elemental Aegis
Join Battle Booster
When you join battle, you'll generally want to start with as much Initiative as possible. Precision Observation Method as the Awareness Excellency can help with that. Characters with the Socialize excellency can instead rely on Wary Yellow Dog Attitude, though that only works if you're not being ambushed and have some time to talk.
  • Precision Observation Method
  • Wary Yellow Dog Attitude
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Martial Arts
Martial arts can be a great way for a secondary combatant to go. They let you spend your role XP on increasing your combat effectiveness, letting you spend your normal XP on charms for whatever primary goals you have. Dragon Blood specifically tend to benefit from the non Immaculate Martial Arts because they have no effect on their Aura states, potentially letting them worry less about that aspect.

No matter which Martial Art you go into, make sure you take the Brawl excellency Become the Hammer to enable you to boost your attack and Parry. The Athletics Excellency or further charms will also help with rushes for most martial artists. Consider checking out the Helpful Charms section above for other charms that might be useful.

Immaculate Martial Arts
If you are going to go into Martial Arts, you will generally benefit from going into one of the Immaculate Martial Arts first. They tend to be fairly self contained and enable you to expend your Aura to remove the Terrestrial tag from other Martial Arts, which can be extremely useful. You will absolutely want to stay in Aura for the Martial Art you choose during combat because a lot of their power comes from that. You probably want to invest the 5 charms at character creation to reach the form for whatever martial art you pursue.

Air Dragon Style - Despite having Evasion in the form, you can just rely on your Martial Arts Parry for the most part. If you do go into Dodge, you want to eventually go 4 deep for Light-as-Clouds Method. Probably doesn't need Athletics to rush due to having a ranged option.
Earth Dragon Style - Pretty solid overall with lots of Smash opportunities. Pairs well with a companion using the Stay Put! Thrown build due to Stillness-of-Stone Atemi's ability to inflict mobility penalties.
Fire Dragon Style - Probably the weakest style on its own. It mostly focuses on keeping Initiative high and sapping enemy Initiative, which means you probably don't want to use decisive attacks and will have a harder time recovering from your own Initiative loss. Consider taking Melee or other Martial Arts' defensive charms to help out the lack in Fire Dragon.
Water Dragon Style - Usually makes heavy use of Full Defense. Combos weirdly well with  Dragon-Scale Shield if you pick it up from Melee since the Water form triggers extra onslaught when you defend while at Full Defense.
Wood Dragon Style - Mixes well with Archery, but is pretty strong on its own. A decent Perception helps your bread and butter withering attack Charm Eyes of the Wood Dragon deal good damage. 


I think anything further on martial arts is getting more into being its own post of "What Martial Arts Do Dragon Blooded use well?"
 
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LefferDP
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Am I missing anything? I think this is almost ready to compile into a single article now.

Do the spoilers add anything or do they detract from the experience?
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LefferDP
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Alright, I've reworked the first post into something closer to an article format.
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This all looks great! I've retagged it for you with the article tag, and if we ever get enough articles to make their own place for them I'll make sure this makes it's way over. I don't think you're missing anything glaring short of going through every ability-aura combo possible. I've been a little out of commission the last few days but want to get back and give some more in depth feedback for you when I can
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I'm glad you've done all this research and compiled it together. Thanks!
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LefferDP
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Oh, hey there. You probably thought I was done.

I did too, but there's apparently some Wood Dragon stuff I missed. Admittedly this list wasn't ever supposed to be exhaustive, but the Wood Aspect charms really do have pretty strong options for one or two charms in a fair number of combat specialties. Brawl and Thrown specifically I figured could use some notes about the Wood aspect use.

Wood Dragon Claw Brawl (7) - Wood, Heavy Armor [Heavy]
Spoiler

Requires: Brawl 3, Strength > Dexterity, High Stamina (enough to cap your Brawl + Strength), Wood Dragon Claw spell.

Brawl (5) - Become the Hammer, Water Dragon‘s Coils, Inescapable Whirlpool Hold, Oaken Thew Exertion, Entangling Roots Embrace
Resistance (1) - Impervious Skin of Stone​
Athletics (1) - Effortlessly Rising Flame

Use: Did you want your Dragon Blood sorcerer to use Wood Dragon Claw and have a combat style based around that? Well, Brawl can do it pretty well. You'll be a beefcake of a sorcerer, but that should be fun. The mote and round expenditure between summoning the claws and getting the grapple going are a little on the high side.

You do your typical activation of Water Dragon‘s Coils + Inescapable Whirlpool Hold, but activate Oaken Thew Exertion to get full excellency + 1 non-charm success. (You NEED to have enough Stamina >= Brawl or the cost is prohibitive) Entangling Roots Embrace supplements all your effort into getting a firm grasp by granting you an Initiative at the end of each round you maintain the grapple, helping you win the Initiative race.  

Bramble Hell Torment from the Wood Dragon claws are REALLY EXPENSIVE at lower Essences for the damage output, but is definitely worthwhile once you hit 4+. Living Thorn Transformation gives you some flexibility for weapon tags. Smashing is always a good one to allow you to knock enemies prone, but Reaching to get at mounted combats, Flexible to get around full defense users, and Balanced when you're facing massive soak can be good.

Progression:  You may want to pick up Supple Viridian Scales from Resistance to make movement easier. Body of Deadly Thorns is great, but requires investing in Dexterity as well since it's a Simple action you would take instead of Water Dragon‘s Coils. Hanging Tree Technique is also a pretty nice AoE grapple method, but also has the limitation of being its own Simple action. 
Last edited by LefferDP on Wed Jul 13, 2022 1:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Venom Thorn (5) - Wood, Light Armor [Medium]
Spoiler

Requires: Thrown 4, Dodge 1+, an Artifact Thrown weapon.

Thrown (4) - Seeking Throw, Invisibly Hidden Chakram Method, Elusive Zephyr Strike, Venom Thorn Attack
Dodge (1) - Threshold Warding Stance

Use: Venom Thorn Attack is the star of the show here, letting you apply poisons to otherwise unpoisonable weapons like chakram or skycutters. You're expecting most of your combat power to come from whatever weapon you're using in this setup.

I can't help but feel like this would combo pretty well with White Veil Style, despite that being a melee poison delivery system and this being Thrown. The defensive charms, at least, would work well together, as well as the Signature Charm.

Progression:  You will eventually want Hundred Thorns Blossom if you have a high Guile and Manipulation. It's basically a free decisive, which is pretty fantastic, especially for someone who spams them far too much like you.
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