Exalted Redux2:Characters

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Character Creation[edit]

Attributes[edit]

Unchanged from current rules.

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Have considered adopting the nWoD stat line, or possibly going over to a 6 stat system. Body & Speed, Manipulation & Charisma, Intellect & Wits. Still under consideration.
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Abilities[edit]

Unchanged.

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May use revised Ability list from RPG.net thread. [1]
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Specializations[edit]

Up to three dots worth are allowed per Ability. Each must be different, and do not stack. Effectively, the maximum bonus you can gain to any ability roll is 1 extra die.

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This helps to mitigate the giant die pools in standard rules, while retaining the flavor of specializations.
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Virtues[edit]

Unchanged.

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May incorporate Riddle of Steel style spiritual attributes at some future date.
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Willpower[edit]

Regain using the highest virtue you have, instead of specifically Conviction.

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This allows for greater character diversity.
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Health[edit]

Instead of the current staged health level system, incorporate a system similar to that in the nWoD. The base number of health levels possessed by named characters is 5 + Stamina. Mooks only have three levels (-1/-2/Incap).

Penalties accrue as follows:

4 undamaged levels left = -1 Light wound
2 undamaged levels left = -2 Heavy wound
1 undamaged level left = -5 Critical wound
0 undamaged levels left = Incapacitated

Healing times are unchanged from the published rules, based on the level of damage taken.

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This change decreases overall healing times, helps give a greater role to Stamina, and simplifies health tracking. Additionally, it gives a large buffer at the top end of the health chart for tracking damage, allowing for the GM to hurt the PCs somewhat, yet not cripple them right out the door.
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Merits/Flaws[edit]

Unchanged.

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Will require review.
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XP Costs[edit]

Experience costs are now standardized across all character types. The costs are as follows:

Attributes x4 new
Favored Attributes x3 new
Skills x2 new
Favored Skills x1 new
Charm 8
Favored Charm 6
Willpower x2 new
Spell 6
Spell with Occult Favored 4
Essence x10 new
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Unifying the experience chart simplifies tracking across the varying character types. True, it eliminates some of the huge advantage that Solars have with regards to buying essence, but I believe this fact is made up for elsewhere in these changes. This is yet another attempt to standardize the Exalted rules, and remove the ‘laundry-list’ syndrome that seems to permeate the system.
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Essence[edit]

Essence has completely changed in use and function. It is no longer a limited resource, but is instead a pool of power similar to the Multipower system under HERO, that can be re-allocated as the situation changes.

Each character (mortal and otherwise) has both a Permanent Essence rating, as per the current rules. Additionally, they possess an Essence Pool. This is no longer divided into Personal and Peripheral essence. Instead, it is a pool of commitable essence points. They are dynamically allocated in order to power charms and attune artifacts.

The size of this pool varies. The amount of Essence Pool available to a character is based on two factors. The first is dependent on their essence harnessing capabilities, defined by their type of being (solar, mortal, spirit, demon, etc). The second is their current ‘Power Level’.

Power Level[edit]

This rating is a variable value between 1 and their Permanent Essence. Anyone with a Permanent Essence higher than 1 is capable of raising and lowering their Power Level at will. In combat, you may increase or decrease your current Power Level by one step at the beginning of your action, though no lower than 1, and no higher than your Permanent Essence. Power Level represents how forcefully the being is drawing upon the essence of the world, which determines the overall amount of power they have available. It also determines Anima Flare for Exalts. For non-anima bearing beings, there are also noticeable affects, but these tend to be much more subtle.

Essence Pool[edit]

Essence is not ‘spent’, but is instead committed. Allocating Essence Pool to a charm commits that essence to the charm. The charm remains active until it is released, at which point the character immediately regains the use of that part of the pool. There is no ‘refresh time’. De-allocated essence pool is recovered immediately. Essence commitment is reflexive, meaning any charm possessed by a character can be brought online, even out of turn-order, assuming the character has enough Essence Pool remaining. While in combat rounds, committed Essence Pool can only be freed at the beginning of your action. When you do this, you may release any number of active charms, and de-attune artifacts if you so choose, in order to immediately regain the use of those committed points.

A character’s current total Essence Pool is as follows:

Type                                       Total Essence Pool
----                                       ------------------
Mortal                                     Power Level x 1
Half-blood/1st Circle Demon                Power Level x 2
Terrestrial Exalt                          Power Level x 3
Dragon King/Spirit/Fair Folk               Power Level x 4
Lunar or Sidereal Exalt/2nd Circle Demon   Power Level x 5
Solar or Abyssal Exalt                     Power Level x 7
3rd Circle Demon/Deathlord                 Power Level x 8
Incarna/Primordial                         Power Level x 10

Power Level Effects[edit]

Harnessing greater than normal levels of Essence shakes the fabric of creation. Non-exalts who harness essence create subtle effects on themselves and their environments at the lower levels of power, and much greater effects at the higher levels. Exalt sparks, however, harness and channel essence with a force unmatched by all but the mightiest beings. In exchange for this strength, the effects of their manipulation are much more visible, resulting in glowing caste marks and anima banners. Mortals, Half-bloods, Demons, Dragon Kings, Fair Folk, Spirits, and Incarna use the Essence Ripples chart to determine the level of the effects they create by raising their power level.

Exalted and Deathlords use the Anima Banner chart instead.

Essence Ripples[edit]

  1. None
  2. Being appears strong and competent
  3. Being stands out to onlookers, drawing errant eyes, looks more colorful
  4. Being greatly stands out, seems larger than life, presence is felt, eyes gleam, Essence + Awareness roll for people in same room to notice
  5. Minor personal environmental effects, hair starts stand up, Essence + Awareness roll for people to feel something is happening nearby (50ft or so)
  6. Minor local environmental effects, room gets darker/lighter, clothing starts to billow, hair blows, loose items start to rattle nearby, Essence + Awareness roll for people within shouting distance (100 yds) to start to notice
  7. Medium local environmental effects, tables start to shake, people feel a force pushing/pulling from being, Essence+Awareness roll for beings within a mile or so can feel it
  8. Major local environmental effects, stuff starts to break, wind blows away from being making it hard to approach, being is hard to look at/look away from, Minor Regional weather effects, Essence+Awareness roll for beings in region to notice
  9. Catastrophic local environmental effects (Fist of the North Star), Major regional weather effects, Minor Direction weather effects, Essence + Awareness roll for anyone in direction to notice
  10. Local Unraveling of Creation, gates open, incorporeal spirits fall into creation, warping effects, space twists, time becomes uncertain, extreme environmental effects in region, catastrophic weather across entire Direction, Essence+Awareness roll to notice from other Directions/Yu-Shan/ Underworld/Malpheas


Anima Banners[edit]

  1. None
  2. Caste Mark Flares, glowing with the intensity of a torch.
  3. Anima sporadically flickers to life around the Exalt. Those Exalted types with damaging animas make it hard to touch the exalt, doing 3 dice of Lethal damage a round to those in contact.
  4. Anima roars to life around the exalt, creating a pillar of energy with the essence wielder at the heart. Those Exalted types with harmful animas start damaging their environments, doing 4 dice of Lethal Damage a round to anything or anyone within a yard of the Exalt.
  5. Anima expands outward into a cloud of cascading energy. Damaging animas inflict damage out to a radius of 5 yards, doing 5 dice of lethal damage a round.
  6. Unknown (GM discretion)
  7. Unknown (GM discretion)
  8. Unknown (GM discretion)
  9. Unknown (GM discretion)
  10. Unknown (GM discretion)

Note: Damage caused by Anima banners does not use ping damage rules. If your soak is equal to or higher than the damage, you take nothing.

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Essence notes: This is the second largest change to the current system in this document (the first being charms). While I see the value in the current resource-driven system, I decided that it led to undesired tactics. Players would either horde their essence (especially for fear of giving themselves away if anathema), or go for broke, burning themselves out, making long combats a chore if the fight didn’t end quickly.
I’ve always been a fan of the versatility and tactical flow created by Multipowers and Variable Power Pools in the HERO system. I tried to bring this over to Exalted. However, I also like encouraging players to hold back for dramatic value, and thus the Power Level system (stolen from DBZ, in truth). This gives the players more options in utilizing their power, while at the same time simplifying the whole thing, I feel. Tracking current anima banners, worrying about personal essence and peripheral essence, the frustration of running out….all of these and more led me to this system. I think it reflects a truer ideal of the power and rhythm of Exalted.
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Equipment[edit]

Weapons[edit]

Weapons now simply give a damage bonus that is added to the wielder’s Strength to calculate damage dice. Accuracy, parry, and rate have been removed. The damage bonus for a weapon is a 3 if the weapon is one-handed, 6 if it is two-handed. Artifact weapons gain an additional +3 to their damage bonus. If the weapon is of a magical material aligned to you, it gives an additional +1 Attack die and +1 Parry die when used.

Wielding two one-handed weapons gives one extra Attack and Parry die, to represent the additional attack options and better defensive coverage afforded by this fighting method. This is difficult to do properly, however, and so to get these bonuses, the character must have at least a 3 DEX and a 3 Melee/Martial Arts.

Ranged weapons suffer a +1 difficulty to attack rolls for each range increment past the first you are from the target. Range increments are 40’ for bows, 20’ for slings, 10’ for thrown weapons. Range increments are doubled for artifact ranged weapons. Slings do damage as per one-handed weapons. Thrown weapons do damage based on their handedness. Bows are two-handed weapons, but their wielder’s strength is treated as a 2. Artifact bows use their wielder’s Strength instead, in addition to the +3 for being an artifact.


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I changed this for two reasons. One, I didn’t like having to reference weapon tables. Secondly, I felt that the bonuses given by weapons were too great, and wound up outshining the capability of the characters. Characters should be the stars of the fight, not the tools they wield. Additionally, this removes a source of extra attack dice, mitigating the ‘buckets-of-dice’ Exalted is known for.
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Armor[edit]

Armor gives a bonus to soak, against all three types of damage (bashing, lethal, aggravated). Armor also gives a mobility penalty that is applied to all Dexterity based actions as a difficulty penalty, except for Attacks and Parries.

Regular Armor has a 1 point mobility penalty, and gives 3 soak. Heavy armor has a 2 point mobility penalty, and gives 6 soak. Superheavy gives a 4 point mobility penalty, and gives a 9 soak. Artifact versions of armor give an additional +3 soak. Armor of a magical material aligned to the character reduces the mobility penalty by 1 (minimum 0).


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Again, I am trying to get rid of the need for charts, as well as balance the armor types with the weapon types.
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Shields[edit]

Shields give extra Defense successes as long as you’re aware of the attack, 1 for regular shields, 2 for artifact shields. These successes are automatic, and do have to be accompanied by a defense action.

Hearthstones[edit]

Hearthstones must be set into an attuned artifact to gain any benefits from them. An artifact with a hearthstone set into it has no attunement cost, as the hearthstone provides the power. The unique special abilities of hearthstones are unchanged. Level 4 and 5 hearthstones also provide extra Essence Pool, 1 point for level 4 stones, and 2 points for level 5 stones. This is treated as extra available committable essence, and is unaffected by Power Level. You may only gain the benefits from a number of hearthstones equal to your Permanant Essence at one time.


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My reasons for this change are twofold. First, the restrictions on number of hearthstones, and requiring them to be set in artifacts both increases the value of artifacts, and deals with problems created by overabundance of hearthstones in high-end games. This adds some tactical decision making to hearthstone use. Second, I needed to bring hearthstone use into line with the new essence system. Providing extra essence from all hearthstones was too much, so I opted for that benefit to only apply to the really powerful stones. The elimination of attunement cost still makes the lower end stones desirable.
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Artifacts[edit]

Artifacts can be wielded when not attuned, but provide no artifact benefits when used this way. Attuning an artifact requires a commitment of 1 point of Essence Pool, and 10 minutes of concentration. This Essence Commitment can be released, as normal, but doing so immediately de-attunes the artifact, and it must be re-attuned to regain the benefits. Any ongoing effects from the artifact immediately end when the attunement is severed. An artifact with a hearthstone set within it requires no committed essence to attune, only the 10 minutes of concentration. The attunement can still be severed at will.

Attuning an artifact with a hearthstone also attunes the hearthstone, granting it’s benefits in addition to those of the artifact. Hearthstones can only be attuned to a wielder in this way. Hearthstones without an artifact to channel their energy grant no benefit.

The Hearthstone Bracer Artifact proves +1 die to the Dodge Skill while attuned, in addition to having a hearthstone slot.

Some artifact levels have been adjusted, to match the changes to weapons and armor, as follows:

  1. Regular Armor
  2. One-handed Weapon, Shield
  3. Heavy Armor
  4. Two-handed Weapon
  5. Superheavy Armor


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These changes help balance artifact use among PCs, cutting down on the D&D-esque problem of characters practically dripping in magic items. At the same time, the Essence Commitment cost is much harder to bear under the new Essence Pool system, so making all artifacts have an attunement cost of 1 mitigates some of this problem, as well as lending simplicity. Allowing hearthstones to remove this cost increases the utility of hearthstones, and also limits the number of ‘free-artifacts’ because of the Permanent Essence limit on Hearthstone use.
On another note, the level of a two-handed weapon artifact has been increased for a simple reason. Using the above chart, the three major Melee fighting styles now require 4 points of artifacts to be fully equipped. 1h Weapon + Shield costs 4 dots, 1h Weapon x 2 costs 4 dots, and a two-handed weapon costs 4 dots, leading to a pleasing balance.
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Stunts[edit]

Stunts are still rated in levels, from 1 to 3, according to the normal scale. The benefits they provide are as follows:

  • Gain the level of the stunt in extra dice to any action undertaken in the course of the stunt
  • Regain 1 point of temporary willpower for a level 2 stunt, 2 points for a level 3
  • May immediately increase (not decrease) your Power Level by a number of steps equal to the level of the stunt, up to the normal limit of Permanent Essence. This is in addition to the one-step Power Level shift you get at the start of your action. (See Essence for explanation of Power Levels)