Exalted Redux:Design Notes

From RPGnet
Revision as of 10:50, 5 June 2005 by Mortaneus (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search
These are either explanation or possible future ideas

Character Creation


Unchanged from current rules.

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.



May use revised Ability list from RPG.net thread. http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=186021


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.

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



May incorporate Riddle of Steel style spiritual attributes at some future date.


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

This allows for greater character diversity.


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.

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.



Will require review.

XP Costs

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
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.


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
  • Gain the Level of the Stunt in points of temporary Essence Pool, that can be immediately committed as normal, but vanish immediately after the stunt completes. Effects of charms activated with these points fade with the points. (See Essence below for explanation of Essence Pools)
  • 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 below for explanation of Power Levels)


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

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

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

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

  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

  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.

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.