You can tell that Wyld-Shaping Technique is a big deal from the fact that it takes up enough space for ten regular charms. Traditionally it’s been an important part of the setting, and a potential way for your characters to grab some territory of their own – possibly very powerful territory. It’s expensive and difficult, with some potentially great payoff.
It’s also a hazardous charm to use. You need to fight off Fair Folk, behemoths, and more while using it. Bring friends.
If you intend to use this charm near the beginning of the game, here’s how to do it. Set Intelligence to 5, Lore to 5, and take Lore Supernal with a specialty in “The Wyld”. Also, get some friends with enormous swords. Then take the following charms:
- Harmonious Academic Methodology. Prereq. Thanks to your Lore specialty, get +Essence in non-charm successes for Lore rolls involving the Wyld, such as Wyld-Shaping.
- Bottomless Wellspring Approach. Prereq.
- Lore-Inducing Concentration. Prereq.
- Truth-Rendering Gaze. Prereq.
- Wyld-Dispelling Prana. Prereq.
- Chaos-Repelling Pattern. Prereq.
- Order-Affirming Blow. Prereq.
- And finally, Wyld-Shaping Technique itself
You will also really, really want:
- Wyld-Cauldron Mastery. +Essence successes on each roll.
- Wyld-Forging Focus. Start on phase 2.
- Demiurgic Suspiration. Refunds you essence after successful shaping, which helps fuel your Excellencies.
- Heaven-Turning Calculations. +Essence non-charm dice on Wyld Shaping. Also on sorcery.
…and that leaves you with three charms left. Choose defensively. One should probably be sorcery, because you already get a bonus to it and because you’re seriously going to need the defense from Invulnerable Skin of Bronze. You can take Wyld-Called Weapon, but you can probably afford to wait a little while. You’ll likely have a few sessions of play before you get a chance to use Wyld-Shaping Technique in the first place.
With all of this and a one-point stunt, you get a starting dice pool of 14 + 2 successes, with one die and one success as non-charm. If you can crank your Excellency into this, you can get another 8 dice, for a total of 22 + 2 successes. The question is, can you actually afford that much essence?
The answer is, strangely enough, probably yes. There’s no indication of how long a “phase” of Wyld-Shaping takes, beyond the minute of mental effort. It’s clear that phases aren’t intended to be immediately consecutive. The charm implies that you could get into a fight in the middle of each phase. Plus, if you couldn’t regenerate essence, the cost would be prohibitive – even an Essence 5 Solar would have trouble getting past phase 5. Presumably your character uses the charm, fights a few Fair Folk, recuperates, and repeats. The only real limitation on the length of time you can spend on it seems to be your ability to handle terrible creatures from beyond Creation, and your ability to stay awake (no getting incapacitated).
Since there are no rules about staying awake, we’ll assume here that you can’t spend more than 24 hours – which means no Willpower recovery. Perhaps a single point from an intimacy like “I sure do love Wyld-Shaping Technique,” or more from “I sure do love getting ambushed by the Fair Folk.” That’s sort of a bad idea for an intimacy, though. Maybe “I love when my circle-mates keep me from getting murdered by a behemoth” would work better. In any case, we’re assuming no willpower expenditure.
If you rest for two hours between phases (presumably with your allies protecting you from the Wyld and its creatures), you have more than enough to throw a full Lore excellency at your Wyld-Shaping roll on every phase. Heck, if you use the demon masseur you summoned with the sorcery I told you to take, maybe the Wyld will be relaxing enough that you can regenerate in just one hour. Probably not.
Now… how many phases should you attempt? There’s an XP cost, a rising risk of failure, increasing rewards, and effects that aren’t always easy to weigh. How can you decide?
To the spreadsheet! Follow this link to a Google Drive spreadsheet, or this link for the version you can copy into your own drive.
Let me explain the columns:
- “Phase Success” is your odds of succeeding on that one phase.
- “Cumulative Success” is your chance of succeeding on every phase up to and including that one – for instance, your chance of successfully making it through phase 6 is about 77%.
- “Mote” gives the total mote cost, including the refund from Demiurgic Suspiration and the 10 motes you get back from resting for two hours.
- “XP Cost” is the straight cost from using the charm.
- “XP Overhead” is the average cost of failure – the XP you lose for pushing your luck to a certain stage, adjusted by the chance of failure. As you can see, it’s not so bad until phase 7.
- “General” and “Specific” land areas are in square miles, with the radius of such an area also listed in miles. The assumption is that you’re not spending excess successes on area, since that gets you a really weak return.
- There are also columns for the type of demesnes you can expect without spending excess successes, the amount of resources you could conjure up, and level of artifact you could get with Wyld-Called Weapon.
There’s no column for magical materials because it’s not worthwhile to conjure them up. Beyond the vagueness of the phrase “and so on” in that paragraph of the book, phase four will let you start calling up artifacts. That’s what most people would want magical materials for in the first place. Pick up Wyld-Called Weapon, shape yourself a bitchin’ magical airship, and fly around the world looking for magical materials with that instead.
What phase would I shoot for? Phase 6. It’s reliable enough to risk, the mote cost is within reach given a little extra rest (or Essence-Lending Technique from a friend), and the payoff is enormous. If you take Wyld-Called Weapon, you can pull a level N/A artifact from the Wyld. For 18 XP – well, 22 or so counting the average risk of failure – that’s pretty damn good. An island 54 miles across, with a major demesne on it, is also pretty great. After this point, the odds of failure increase to the point where you need to be higher-Essence to make the rewards worth the risk. Getting your hands on Sevenfold Savant Mantle and Power Beyond Reason will help you take on a additional phases as well.
So that’s Wyld-Shaping Technique. You need to buy a lot of charms to get it to work, so make the most of it. Camp out on the edge of the Wyld. Make some raksha enemies. Craft that all-jade warstrider you’ve always wanted.
Tomorrow: nothing scheduled. I’m in that phase where I’m working on new characters, so posts will be sporadic until Slumber’s Grasp is complete.
Ooh, that’s what I’m naming my fist-shaped goremaul now. Slumber’s Grasp. Yup.