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The 2nd edition core book, on pp. 251-252, seems to make it clear that reflexive supplemental charms can't be used while shaping sorcery or while casting a spell.

This hugely reduces the value of the Occult Excellencies, including the Abyssals' Ravening Maw of Occult. While there are things that those charms can be used for, their value is greatly reduced (and indeed other than spellcasting I can't think of a use for Ravening Maw of Occult).

So, first, am I reading the rules correctly? Second, are there ways around this? Third, realizing how subtle and far-reaching the Exalted rules balance tends to be, are there inobvious second-order effects that would arise if I allowed a PC to use Occult Excellencies in support of sorcery and necromancy actions?

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For those that are curious, the players and I feel that at this point (around 40 xp) we aren't seeing a huge imbalance between the Daybreak and the rest of the group. However, because I prefer to use the RAW where possible, I'm going to declare that the RAW are the way things work, and give the Daybreak an artifact that lets him skirt the edges of the rules in return for... I don't know... his soul or something. –  Jim Kiley Nov 18 '11 at 13:53

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Excellent question! To answer them in order:

1. Yes, you are reading the rules correctly

You're not allowed to use any reflexive or supplemental charms while using a shape sorcery action. Not even with a combo. Which is kindof depressing.

2. RAW, no, I can't think of any way to get around that limitation

Though, that doesn't mean it doesn't exist in something like Dreams of the First age, I just haven't heard of anything that lets you get around it. Now there are artifacts which can bump your roll when taking shape sorcery actions that are not charms.

Also taking a Specialty in Occult could potentially up the dice pool if you can make it apply (and you can take the same specialty three times)

3. There are a few things that will happen if you allow it

Firstly, summoning higher-level demons becomes easier, since if I recall correctly it is a contested roll of your Occult + Wits v. Willpower, where the demon gets a penalty based on motes spent. So, 2nd circle demon binding gets easier, and you have more demons running around if you allow that kind of thing. It'd also make spells which already do damage in the instajib zone (like Flying Guillotine, if you don't have a perfect defense) more accurate.

However

Sorcery tends to be a little underpowered anyway, so if you make sure they're not summoning tons of demons, allowing the Occult excellency will probably not be incredibly game breaking.

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+1 on the Dreams of the First Age mention in #2, is that a reference to the "solid" mechanics that came from the product? –  mirv120 Nov 15 '11 at 22:47
    
@mirv120, Yeah, that's what I was thinking of, and to be honest, I usually outlaw that particular book when I'm running Exalted... –  Cthos Nov 15 '11 at 23:51
    
@mirv120 You guys do know it's been erratad, right? So it's no longer horribly balanced. I'm pretty sure it also has nothing of this sort in it. –  sebsmith Nov 16 '11 at 0:30
    
@sebsmith Well aware but I didn't have a problem with it in the first place. Crunch isn't a big deal for me :D –  mirv120 Nov 16 '11 at 1:56
    
@sebsmith I'm not terribly familiar with it, since I didn't give it much of a chance, so I wasn't sure. If you'd like I'll edit your comment into the answer. –  Cthos Nov 16 '11 at 15:46

Yes, you are reading the rules correctly, one of the writers of the line specifically mentions the inability of excellencies to apply to sorcery on rpg.net here. This was part of the design decision to keep sorcery from being a combat platform which is elaborated on here, from the unofficial wiki.

Yes, there are way around this. For instance, the Alchemical Fourth Intelligence Augmentation, listed here on the official wiki, will raise your pool as long as you have it installed (but you have to be an eclipse or similar to have both it and Sorcery). Another way is the sorcery Whirlwind of Fate, which can be found here on the official wiki. You may also be able to create artifacts or hearthstones, balanced against other ability or attribute enhancing stones, which add to Occult, Intelligence, or Sorcery rolls.

Less Clear, I found the fan created pdf Hundredfold Facets of Enlightenment charm which allows this, Emerald Essence Assimilation, and it makes it an essence eight repurchase, you can see it here on the official wiki. Plague of Hats, the creator, charm's generally won't break your game, but many of the charms are also showing their age. Any change in this regards is likely to make Sorcery more effective in combat, and that's currently not what what the developers meant Sorcery to do. The ability to throw an extra ten dice on some effects would likely make them rather compelling options, and I'm not sure what that will do. It sounds like errata is planned for exalted's sorcery, so we don't know how this will play out.

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+1 for the Alchemicals answer, though you'd have to get ahold of an alchemical vat to get it installed. –  Cthos Nov 16 '11 at 16:00

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