PDQ/Exalted Conversion

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This page contains my progress on an Exalted 2nd Edition to PDQ conversion. It's here to help with future progress on the project and to serve as a reference for the game which I'm currently running here.

This conversion attempts to emulate the spirit of the Exalted setting as strongly as possible, but I am not striving to keep the mechanics similar. There are no virtues/Willpower for instance, except as Qualities, and while many charms can be directly converted some will have no meaning whatsoever in the PDQ system. This conversion also assumes you have a fair amount of familiarity with the Exalted system, as well as having read the PDQ core rules.

High Powered PDQ[edit]

The first step in the conversion was the modification of the PDQ system to suit a high powered game, with a large number of qualities and thus a very high potential bonus. The 'High Powered PDQ' system is identical to normal PDQ except that it uses a 3d6 roll instead of 2d6 to determine sucess and failure, and has 7 Quality Ranks instead of the normal 5.

Quality Ranks[edit]

Unlike normal PDQ, there are two Ranks above Master [+6], they are Elite [+8] and Epic [+10]. They are functionally identical to the lower ranks, except they are more difficult to raise with XP and have limits on attaining them (this is true only for the Exalted conversion, because of charm mechanics unique to the system. In a normal PDQ game they should be treated just like normal Qualities).

Target Numbers[edit]

Because of the new dice scheme, and the increased Quality Ranks, there is a new Target Number scale for High Powered PDQ.

All TN's are increased by 4 (poor becomes 9, Average becomes 11, and so on). Elite and Epic have their own target numbers as well, for truly incredible or impossible feats, they are 19 and 21.

New Rules[edit]

There are a few new rules related to the Exalted setting:

Failure Ranks and Qualities: Normally, damage from mostly "nonlethal" sources (such as fists, sacks of potatoes, falling down a hill) take the form of Failure Ranks, which may be resisted with qualities related to innate toughness, durability or endurance (such as Good [+2] Tough Guy, or Expert [+4] Iron Body Training). However, mortals may not use these qualities to resist attacks or hazards which would inflict Damage Ranks (such as being stabbed with a sword or spear, falling off a cliff, being burned with fire), although qualities based on actual body armor may defend normally. Exalts do not suffer this restriction, and may resist all forms of damage with their own, innate toughness Qualities. Some animals and many supernatural creatures (such as wyld mutants and spirits) may resist damage like an Exalt. Note that these qualities may not be downshifted to absorb damage, by either mortals or Exalts.

Recovery Scenes: When exploring Shadowlands, ancient solar tombs, or fleeing from the Wyld Hunt characters may be considered in a constant state of danger. At the end of a conflict scene they recover 1d6 (plus the MOD of any Healing-based Qualities) Damage Ranks and all Failure Ranks. Spending a whole scene resting, tending wounds, and otherwise recuperating allows the recovery of another 1d6 (+MOD). The exact duration of the recovery scene depends on the situation and the form of the damage, for physical damage it usually is several hours of medical treatment, a full night's sleep, or similar. On the other hand damage inflicted on a person's reputation through rumormongering or outright slander may take weeks or months to recover. If there is no immediate danger in the foreseeable future all damage and failure ranks are recovered. If the source of damage still persists (such as a poison or environmental hazard) then no recovery is possible until it is eliminated.

Multi-Attacks: When attacking more than one target (or making multiple attacks against a single target) the character's rolls are downshifted twice for every attack beyond the first. (So a Master [+6] Swordsman attempting to attack 2 men at once rolls at just +2, likewise if he wanted to attack a single opponent 3 times he would make three separate rolls at a +2 bonus). Each separate attack must be modified by charms individually, so if a Master [+6] Swordsman uses a Solar Excelelncy for 9 motes to add +6 to his roll it would only apply to the first roll unless he spent an additional 9 motes for each separate attack (which still counts as only one charm use).

Stunts: Being Badass is the same basic concept as stunting. Normally being Badass grants an upshift and allows the character to recover 1 mote of essence. Truly exceptional and inspired stunts can net at most two upshifts and the recovery of 3 motes of essence or 1 damage rank or 1d6 failure ranks.

Power Attacks: Power attacks are exceptionally damaging or deadly attack Qualities which inflict far more damage than normal. On a sucessful attack roll the victim of a power attack recieves additional damage ranks equal to the Quality's MOD. Power Attacks are typically only available as Artifacts or through the use of Charms, although some supernatural entities might have natural power attack qualities, as well as exceptionally large animals.

Armor-Like Qualities: These qualities allow the character to downshift them in order to absorb damage from an attack, as well as being used for defense. When downshifted, the armor-like quality will absorb up to twice it's current MOD in damage ranks from a single attack. These Qualities are normally only available through artifacts, charms or the innate supernatural powers of some spirits and other entities.

Creating an Exalted Character[edit]

These are the rules for creating different types of characters within the Exalted universe. The primary focus is the Celestial Exalts.

Basic Exalted Abilities[edit]

Because of their supernatural nature all Exalts share some basic abilities:

  • All Exalts are long lived. Dragon-blooded may live for centuries and Celestials for millenia.
  • Exalts add their Exalted Quality to all Healing rolls and to any rolls made to resist mundane poison or disease.
  • Durable: Because of their innate toughness and might Exalted may resist damage with Qualities based on personal toughness and durability, unlike mortals. Note that this just applies its bonus to the roll; it is not an armor-like quality. (see below for a full explanation)
  • Exalted are never treated as Extras.
  • Exalted have a starting Essence rating of 2 and possess Essence pools. Mortals have an Essence rating of 1 and usually only possess Essence pools if they have the Awakened Essence Quality at Good [+2] Rank or higher. In such a case they have a single essence pool equal to Essence + MOD of Awakened Essence Quality + MOD of Willpower type qualities.

Character Creation Steps[edit]

These are the same for all Exalts except as noted.

1) Pick your name, appearance, homeland, and any other background information you feel your character needs.

2) Select Caste/Aspect. Exalts recieve a Good [+2] Caste/Aspect Quality of the appropraite type. The Caste Quality may be improved with bonus XP recieved at character creation, but not with Quality Points, and it is never considered Favored. God-Blooded recieve an Average [0] quality appropraite to their type (such as Average [0] Ghost Blooded) while mortals do not recieve any additional Quality.

3)Select a Pursuit: Your Pursuit is some general aspect of your character which they excel at. Everyone gets one pursuit. If a Quality falls under a Pursuit then it works as though it were Favored (obviously two Favorings don't overlap). Example Pursuits: Traveling, Martial Arts Studies, Voracious Reading, etc.

4) Select Motivation. If the character suceeds at something which makes significant progress towards completing her motivation she gains 1 XP and may choose to regain either motes equal to twice her Essence rating, or regain 1d6 Damage Ranks (or twice that many Failure Ranks).

5) Select Qualities. Starting characters recieve 18 points to invest in Qualities. At least 6 of these points must be invested in Caste-or-Pursuit-favored Qualities. In addition, each character must select a single Poor [-2] Weakness. For heroic mortals, it is generally suggested that they be granted 4 to 6 additional Quality points to make up for their lack of supernatural ability.

6)Determine Great Curse. All Exalts suffer under the great curse to a degree (although Solars have it the worst). Give your individual manifestation of the curse a name, choose what trigger 'sets you off' and what happens when your limit is reached. Whenever your trigger condition is met you must make a roll (TN determined by the intensity of the trigger) penalized by your Curse Weakness. If you fail you gain 1 point towards your Limit break. once you reach 10 your Limit is reached and the curse takes hold. Mortals do not suffer from the Great Curse.

7) Calculate Motes. For Solars this is (Essence x 3) + MOD of 'Will' based Qualities +4 for their Personal pool. (Essence x6) + MOD of 'Will' Type Qualities + Caste Quality+6. For Lunars this is (Essencex2) + 2xMOD of 'Will' based Qualities +2 for their Personal pool. (Essence x4) + 3xMOD of 'Will' Type Qualities + Caste Quality+4. Sidereals use Essence x2 +MOD of Will Qualities +2 for personal and Essence x 5 + MOD of Will Qualities + 2xMOD of Type Quality for peripheral.

8)Select Charms. Solars recieve 10 charms and must place at least 4 in Favored Qualities. Lunars may select up to 8 charms and knacks but must select at least one Knack, and two charms from favored Qualities.

9)Select 1 'Special Move'. A special move is a focused enhancement to a Quality. For instance, an Expert [+4] Blademaster might have the special move 'Double-Handed Slash!'. When the Special Move applies the Quality recieves an Upshift. Characters may have only 3 special moves at one time, although an old move may be replaced with a new one.

10) Each character recieves 12 XP which may be spent to further customize the character, or it may be saved for later. See the end for XP costs.


The solars have the same 'base' abilities detailed in Exalted (lighting their caste mark or anima banner, telling the time of day), except that these abilities may be used at will so long as the Solars have at least 1 mote of essence available. Further information on the Solars can be found here


Lunars, like solars, may activate their anima and Tell based abilities without cost so long as they have at least one mote remaining.

All Lunars must select a Tell, some kind of identifying mark which may be noticable, to some degree or another, whatever shape they may take. When in their natural form noticing a Lunar's Tell is extremely difficult (TN 19), but it's easier when they're in other forms (TN 15). Their tell also becomes much more obvious when using peripheral essence.

In addition, each Lunar also selects a Spirit Form. a specific animal form which is the Lunar's second true form. The spirit form acts like a bonus Special Move for the Lunar which applies when using the Form Quality for that animal.

More information on Lunar Castes and shapeshifting is here.


Sidereals are still very much in their planning stage and not nearly complete. For now the only certain aspect is their Excellency. For every six motes they spend Sidereals may reroll one die from the quality roll. This is limited by their Essence. At Essence 1-3 they may only reroll a single dice. At Essence 4-6 they may reroll up to 2 dice. At Essence 7-9 they may reroll 3. At Essence 10 they may reroll 4 (rerolling all dice and choosing one additional die to reroll). They always take the best roll. For every dice rerolled they also recieve an upshift to the roll.


Dragon-blooded are also very incomplete. Their Excellency is much like a miniature of the Solar Excellency except it costs 2 motes per upshift and may grant a bonus no greater than the MOD of the quality plus any applicable special moves. However, for each dragon-blood cooperating on the attack the potential bonus increases by one. (so if 4 dragonblood are performing a coordinated attack, and the main attacker had an Expert [+4] Quality, then he could spend as much as 10 motes for a +10 bonus (or 12 for +12 if his special move applies) in addition to the bonuses granted by the coordinated attack).


All Charms are 'attached' to specific Qualities and should be related to the Quality in question (although Sidereals recieve quite a lot of leeway in this regard). Like Qualities charms are a do-it-yourself process, determining the exact benefits of the charm is between you and the GM, but many do not need precise definition.

In PDQ Exalted the mote cost of some charms (such as the Excellency Charms) can be quite a bit higher due to differences in the rules, while others are less potent and are cheaper. In general the cost for a charm should be decided between you and the GM.

So far, several charms have been converted or created and can be found here.

In turn-by-turn combat, characters may use a number of charms per round equal to their essence, but may only use one per action or reaction (except in combos).

In situations where a 'round' is a longer period of time multiple charms might be used each round or even each action, with GM's approval.

Combos inflict one Failure Rank on the user due to the intense focus and effort required to pull them off.

Essence recovers at the rate of 2 motes per hour of rest, or 3 motes per hour of complete relaxation.

Artifacts and Manses[edit]

Artifacts and Manses have special rules.

Artifacts are Qualities which represent the ownership of one or more powerful magical items. In order to use an Artifact it must be attuned, which means it must be purchased as a Quality and the owner must commit motes of essence to power the artifact. If the owner of the artifact cannot or will not purchase the artifact as a Quality the attunement is only temporary and flawed, the user must commit twice as many motes to the artifact and the attunement will only last for one scene.

The attunement cost depends on the power of the artifact but the standard cost is 1/2 the MOD of the artifact. The Five Magical Materials exist but the differences between them are not significant enough to warrant different rules in PDQ.

Artifact Powers: Many artifacts grant abilities that are otherwise impossible for humans (such as flight) or the constant effects of charms. The higher the artifact's rating the more power it usually has. Artifact weapons are usually, but not always, Power Attack qualities along with one or two other features. Artifact Armor is usually Armor-Like.

Manses and hearthstones: If a character selects ownership of a Manse as a quality then he gains several benefits. First, he has access to the Manse itself, while within the manse his essence regeneration is multiplied by the MOD of the Manse (so a Master [+6] Manse grants 18 motes per hour while in complete relaxation). Even if the owner is exerting himself the manse provides regeneration equal to MOD every hour. In addition the Manse produces a Hearthstone which, when worn next to the skin or socketed into an attuned artifact adds the Manse's MOD to the owner's essence regeneration. If the owner is exerting himself then the recovery is 1/2 MOD per hour. If the owner does not already have an artifact, the Manse Quality provides a minor artifact with 0 attunement cost which has no purpose beyond containing the hearthstone. In addition, most hearthstones provide minor additional benefits related to the aspect of the manse (note, these benefits should be minor, hearthstones like the stone of invulnerability, simply don't exist normally or should be bought as a seperate artifact).


The rules for purchasing new abilities in game and during character creation is the same. The reduced cost is for Favored Qualities and Charms. Raising Qualities to Elite requires at least Essence 4 or decades of dedicated training (the only way most mortals may attain it). Raising Qualities to Epic requires at least Essence 6 or bestowment by a higher force (such as through the charms of a god or exalt).

Improvement                                          Cost
-----------                                          ----
Increase Essence by 1                                7 XP plus Current Essence
Purchase a New Charm                                 6/5
Purchase or Change a Special Move                    3/2
Purchase a new Quality at Good [+2]                  6/5
Raise a Quality one Rank (until Master)              4/3
Raise a Quality one Rank (above master)              8/7
Create a combo                                       2+1/charm