< AmIBrokeOrNot | Crunch

When to use this system

This does not fully replace the regular Exalted rules. Depending on the desired magnification, the Storyteller may opt to use the conventional rules at any time. Discuss why the choice is being made. Work for consensus on what resolution mechanism to use. Make sure everybody is having fun.

This system should only be used when it can add to the drama of a scene. Either players should be invested in the outcome, or at least interested in the degree of that outcome. This rules set is meant to provide a mid-level between the gritty detail of the regular rules and the open flexibility of freeform play-by-consensus.

How to use this system

All the normal Exalted rules for the basic use of dice continue to apply: each "roll" consists of some number of 10-sided dice (dice pools), every die that comes up 7 and higher is a success, 10s count for two successes (other than for Extras and totally mundane mortals), and any roll with no successes and any number of 1s is a botch.

The standard Exalted resource system is modified in the following ways:
Essence=Permanent Essencex3
Willpower=Permanent Willpower
Virtue Channels=No longer tracked
Health Levels=Permanent Essence+6 (Extras have 3)
There are three situations where a roll may be called for: a Test, a Contest and a Conflict.
  • In a Test, the Storyteller assigns a phantom Essence rating to the problem, and a difficulty based on how hard it should be for a character with that Essence rating to resolve the problem. Then a single roll is made, attempting to meet or exceed the difficulty. This method is generally used to resolve situations where the character is struggling against the environment, solving a puzzle, or otherwise trying to resolve or overcome some problem or thing, but not someone. The Storyteller may also call for an extended Test, in which the player takes more than one action (and thus more than one Stunt and more than one roll) to solve the problem, each time adding any new successes towards the (presumably higher) difficulty.
  • In a Contest, two characters (or two groups, see rules for working in concert below) are working at cross purposes. A foot race, dance competition, and a battle-of-wills during a demon summoning would all be examples of this type of situation. The two characters roll, with the higher outcome the winner. Again, the process may also be extended over multiple actions, with final victory based either on total net successes or most wins collected.
  • A Conflict is a more complex version of a Contest, and it is the primary way of resolving combat, both physical and social. One-on-one combat is basically a series of alternating Contests, but in each such exchange there must be a designated attacker and defender. Parties in a Conflict each get one offensive and one defensive action. When a Conflict breaks out, determine Initiative under the normal rules. Each character may attack on their turn, and use their defensive action when called for by an attack from someone else. When the attacker wins a roll-off in physical combat, the defender takes damage equal to the net successes plus the Essence Differential. In Social combat, the unsuccessful defender suffers the same amount of Obligation. When the defender wins, they suffer no negative results; particularly in the case of extraordinarily successful defenses, the defender may receive some leeway in describing the result, and perhaps inflicting some non-mechanical embarrassment or disadvantage on the attacker.
Determining Dice Pools

The Dice Pool formula is: ([Base Capability+Essence Differential]xStunt Multiplier)+Willpower/Virtue Channel/Essence Expenditure Bonus

Base Capability: Determine which Attribute category the character's action is based on (physical, social, or mental). There are two types of capability that characters can have for the particular application of an Attribute category: Favored, and Disadvantaged. Favored rolls have a base pool of 5, Disadvantaged rolls have a base pool of 2.

Mortal and low-Essence characters may be Disadvantaged in one or more category. Mid-to-high Essence characters are versatile enough that all their rolls are always assumed to be Favored - they should have at least one area of strength in each of the three Attribute categories, and in most cases will find a way to leverage that strength for the matter at hand. Exceptions to this occur when a narrow approach is demanded by the plot, or a player chooses to put their character at a Disadvantage (generally for the purposes of a Stunt), or in the case of surprise (see below).

Essence Differential: Subtract the opposing character's Essence from the acting character's own. Add that value to the Base Capability.

Stunt Multiplier: Capability+Essence Differential is multiplied by the value of the action's Stunt. When acting without a Stunt, a character either pays a surcharge of 1 temporary Essence, or acts at 1/2 permanent Essence for that roll. Level-1 Stunts obviously do not modify the number of dice rolled, but do provide the other benefits of Stunting (see below).

Essence and Willpower Modifiers: After the Stunt multiplier is applied, so long as it is 1 or greater, Essence and Willpower may be spent to benefit the roll. Characters may spend an amount of Essence on an action equal to (permanent Essence). Each point spent adds three dice to the roll. Characters may spend an amount of Willpower on an action equal to (1/2 permanent Essence), rounded up. Each point spent adds one automatic success or no more than one Virtue Channel. A Virtue Channel adds a number of dice equal to the Virtue used.

Further Details

Stunting Benefits

A Stunt returns 1 Essence for every level, or 1 Willpower for every 2 levels.

Essence Differential Benefits

In addition to the effects of Essence Differential on dice pools and the outcomes of Conflicts, a character with greater Essence than her opponents enjoys another major advantage. Her actions (both defensive and offensive conflict rolls, and contest rolls) can effect several other characters. Only one roll is made, but that roll may then be used against a number of other characters equal to their Essence Differential in Magnitude. So, for instance, an Essence 5 character could defend simultaneously against up to 10 Essence 4 characters, or an Essence 3 character could launch a social attack against as many as 75 Essence 1 characters.

Special Cases

Acting In Concert

Characters facing higher Essence opponents are at a major (though not insurmountable) disadvantage. They may overcome this by acting together (or, they may simply use their collective strength to overpower weaker adversaries). A group may act in concert for any Contest, and any offensive Conflict roll (they still must always defend separately). One player in the group frames the main stunt for the collective action (this might involve describing something the whole group does, but it can also be framed as something the character does alone), while the others assist with supporting stunts (which do not result in dice rolls). The group adds its Magnitude to the Essence of the character leading the main action, as well as dice equal to the total value of the supporting Stunts.


Attempting surprise is generally a physical or social challenge to a mental defense. Surprised characters are Disadvantaged on their next roll. Characters cannot be effectively surprised by those with lower Essence ratings.

The Edge

This system is meant to encapsulate all of the charms, equipment, powers and resources that characters accrue as they gain in Essence. However, in certain circumstances, either because of some exceptional artifact, or unique experience, or some other sort of plot-device, the Storyteller may decide that a character has an advantage in a situation that the numbers don't quite bare out. In this case, the character may be given The Edge, increasing their effective Essence by one for the purpose of whatever dice pools the Storyteller deems appropriate.

Optional rule: an action that involves Sorcery or Necromancy adds 1 to the max Willpower and 3 to the max Essence that may be spent to modify the roll.

Things that make stunts cool:

  • Choosing a sub-optimal approach to the problem.
  • Elective injury.
  • Losing or destroying something of value.
  • A surprise or revelation.

Page last modified on March 16, 2011, at 12:35 PM