Exalted Third Edition
Chapter One: The Exalted
All of our favorite exalt types are described here. It doesn't sound like they made any thematic changes to any of them. Based on the mechanical changes to Solars later in the book, however, I am optimistic that the other exalts will see mechanics that fit their fluff. There are two new Exalt types: Liminal and Exigents. To me, the Liminals seem like a mix of Frankenstein's Monster and Van Helsing. The Exigents are exalted made by lessor gods with the help of the Unconquered Sun. The Exigents are by their nature extremely variable.
Tony Agreed with Dan K above. At first read I wasn't too impressed with the Liminals, kind felt like the just wanted another exalt type, but I do think they add to the setting. Just not sure I love how it was done. I think the Exigents are great, extremely variable in style and power. Really like the addition of the Exigents though.
Chapter Two: The Age of Sorrows
The setting chapter. For the most part, things seem the same. If anything, artifacts seem rarer and infrastructure more crumbled. The goods and elementals seem more mettlesome with every small god demanding tribute. Travelers are attacked by Dogs of the Unbroken Earth unless a god of the road is paid before the trip. Fields are unproductive unless the field gods are bribed. Of course in areas controlled by the Immaculate Order, the gods and elementals are kept in order. Whether these things are changes in fluff or just the way we play, I'm not sure.
Nice mix of favorite locations and cool new ones.
Tony Liked all the new locations, thought the setting chapter could have been about twice as long. Maybe I'm just spoiled by having whole chapters for each city in previous editions.
Overall agree with the setting changes Dan mentioned above, not sure these are really changes - I think just a combination of better emphasis on their part and our style of play generally not capturing this aspect.
Chapter Three: Character Creation
Unsurprisingly, Castes remain mostly the same. Attributes are 8/6/4. All the same abilities. Martial Arts is now a component of brawl, but also it's own skill. There are now 8 caste skills and you pick 5 of them. Then you also get 5 favorites. Finally you pick one of your caste abilities to be your supernal abilities. Your supernal ability treats your essence as 5 when buying charms. 28 dots and four specialties. Merits are a combo of traditional merits and backgrounds. 10 points. Charms come with a free excellency if you buy any one charm for that ability, and you start with 15 (excluding those free excellencies). At least four intimacies to start out with, no upper limit. At least one Defining, one major, one positive, and one negative. Intimacies are the central component of the social system. They are used to both manipulate someone into action as well as to prevent people from doing so. You also have a limit trigger of your choose. 15 Bonus Points. Default Willpower is 5. Standard health levels. Personal Essence of 13 (Essence X 3 + 10). Peripheral Essence of 33 (Essence X 7 + 26).
Tony Each style of martial arts is it's own skill, which is interesting and maybe experience heavy. (There are several mechanics in the book that I felt were experience demanding.) Also, to clarify on excellencies - you get an excellency in all 10 of your favor abilities - as well as any ability in which you purchase a charm.
Overall, I like the Merit and Flaw system as it adds depth to the characters. However, unless DB's get significantly more point I feel like it would be tough to play a Background heavy character. (Maybe not cause they're still 1 bonus point, but it feels tougher.)
Intimacies are a big improvement on how they work with the social system.
Starting solars feel much more powerful than they were previously, which I think is a good thing.
Chapter Four: Traits
Traits are more similar than not with the previous editions. There are three ways to get limit. Once per scene when acting against a major intimacy, once per scene when acting against a defining intimacy, and when the conditions of your custom limit trigger are met. At ten points, you limit break. The ST decides on a virtue flaw the fits the character and situation. In relation to social influence, it is treated as a defining intimacy. Temp willpower is set equal to your permanent willpower, either that makes you gain or lose points. Most of the attributes and abilities are the same. I will touch on some of the changes. You now have to take a separate craft skill for each type of crafting you do. [I.E. Craft (Weapon Crafting) 4, Craft (Gem Cutting) 2] Craft (Artifact) is needed for crafting artifacts and Craft (Geomancy) for manses. STs are encouraged to be flexible with mundane projects (letting someone with weapon crafting shoe a shoe a horse at an increased difficulty). Linguistics dots do not give new languages. That is covered in merits. Martial arts is separated from Brawl. It requires on dot in Brawl and a four dot merit. Martial Arts is seperated like Craft [I.E. Martial Arts (Snake Style) 5, Martial Arts (Tiger Style) 3].
Merits are a combination of backgrounds and traditional merits. There are a number of small changes to the backgrounds that I'm not going to go over. There are also flaws but you get nothing mechanical from them.
Willpower starts at 5 and goes up by spending bonus points and/or experience points on it. Willpower points can be spent to add one automatic success before making the roll (max one). Increase a static value by one, before the roll (max 1). Rejecting certain kinds of social influence and powering certain charms. A nights rest restores a point of willpower up to your permanent willpower rating. Gain one willpower if you undergo significant hardship or sacrifice upholding a major or defining intimacy. This method can take you above your permanent willpower rating. Achieving a major story or character goal rewards 1 to 3 willpower, which can take you above your permanent willpower. Two point stunts grant 1 WP and three points stunts grant 2 WP, these can go above your permanent willpower. Additionally, your willpower is reset to equal to your permanent willpower by limit break. At the start of a new story, willpower is set to perm willpower if it is lower.
Intimacies are divided into two categories: Ties and Principles. Ties are to people places and things [Mother (Son's Devotion), Hometown (Nostalgic love), The Immaculate order (hatred)]. Principles are beliefs and codes (Honesty is my watchword. I believe everyone looks out for number one. The Immaculate Order is the one true religion.). Both types can be either positive or negative. In addition, there are three levels of intimacies: Minor, Major, and Defining. Intimacies can be gained at the minor level or strengthened by one level by social influence by other characters. Whenever the player feels it is appropriate, the player can ask the ST if he can gain a new intimacy or strength an existing one at the end of a scene. In extraordinary situations, characters can gain an intimacy at a major or defining level right off the bat (The Abyssal kills your lover, etc). Intimacies can be degraded one level, or removed if minor, by the social influence of other characters. The same can happen if a character feels it is appropriate and the ST agrees. Additionally, the ST can lower it if a player is neglecting it or if it is appropriate in response to the actions of the characters.
Health is pretty much the same.
Essence has a number of changes. To begin, Essence starts at one instead of two. In combat, characters gain 5 motes of essence per round and outside of combat, 5 motes of essence per hour. When your character spends 5 points of peripheral essence or more in an instant, your anima banner goes up by one for every 5 motes spent. Banner levels are Dim (No Banner), Glowing (Character glows slightly and caste mark appears. -3 Stealth and disguise), Burning (Anima blazes brightly. Hard to see caste mark except when dramatically appropriate. Stealth is impossible), and Bonfire/Iconic (When first reaching this level, during essence expenditure, and dramatic timing, the anima banner is iconic, otherwise it collapses down to bonfire). All solars can spend a mote to know the position of the sun (time), and to display their caste mark. Caste powers have been expanded. Dawns add half their essence rounded up to their base initiative after a decisive attack, can spend 10 motes to reset all combat and movement charms with outstanding reset conditions, and can add half her essence round up to all intimidation attempts, which allows her to intimidate things like golems and undead. Zenith can spend one mote to incinerate a corpse. He can also detect the strongest intimacies of the dead and accept them. He can then spend a mote to pass on feelings of peace, love, etc to the target of the intimacies. He can also transfer the feelings to an object, which will then do the same thing. Conversely, he can transfer pain to the person that caused it. Secondly for 10 motes and 1 willpower, the Zenith's initiative does not reset to base after attacking a creature of darkness. This power drops to just 5 motes at the bonfire anima level. Finally, the Zenith can spend 7 motes to force a spirit to manifest. A Twilight can spend 5 motes to gain 5 hardness for one turn, which becomes automatic and free at the bonfire level. For 10 motes and 1 will, a Twilight's anima flares and consumes her body over the course of a round. On her next turn, she vanishes and ceases to exist. At the next sunset, the character reforms at a place of power withing 10 miles decided by the ST. For ten motes a Twilight can convert an essence 1-3 elemental or first circle demon into a familiar. The twilight can gain up to Essence familiars in this way. For two motes, a Night Caste can treat all peripheral essence expenditures in that moment as personal. For three motes, a Night can ignore up to (the higher of 3 or Essence) penalties to Stealth. Finally, a Night's bonfire anima completely disguise's his identity. This effect is perfect. The eclipse powers are mostly the same. First, you can sanctify oaths, second, you can not be attacked by the enemies of creation if on legitimate business and peaceful, and lastly, eclipse can learn some spirit, fair folk, etc charms.
XP is mostly the same except for essence. Instead of paying to up essence, it automatically goes up at (50/125/200/300).
Chapter Five: Systems and Conflict
The basics are the same. D10, 7 for a success, Mostly same attributes and abilities.
The first change are the stunts. They no longer provide essence; you get 5 a turn anyways. One Point Stunt: +2 dice or +1 to a static value, should be able to use every action you try to use a stunt. Pretty much, did you describe your actions in a different way than you always do. Two Point Stunt: Occurs about once a scene, a player will probably have a couple of these a night. +2 dice and +1 success or +2 to a static value. Also a player gains 1 temp will, up to his perm willpower. Three Point Stunt: About once per session for the group. +2 dice and +2 successess or +3 to a static value. Character gains 2 temp will, which can go past his perm willpower.
Penalties are generally -1,-3,-5. They are applied to either the dice pool or static value when there is a pre-set difficulty or there is no difficutlty (i.e. opposed tests).
Extended actions have a difficulty, goal number, interval, and sometimes a terminus. Only successes that meet or exceed the difficulty count toward the total. Goal number is the total successes needed. Interval is how often you can roll. The terminus is the max number of rolls allowed.
On opposed tests, the best stunt wins.
Combat: First everyone rolls wits+awareness and add three successes. This is your starting initiative, which doesn't just represent speed and when you go in a round. It also represents your tactical advantage in combat. Attacks can not be flurried. They can be in a flurry, but you can only attack once (cough*Brian*cough). Attacks are divided into two different types. In character they are the same, OOC you choose which one you want to do before you attack. Withering attacks roll Attribute+ability+accuracy+other modifiers. Add extra successes to damage, subtract armor, 10's count twice. Successes are subtracted from the enemies initiative and added to yours. The second attack type is decisive. You cannot make a decisive attack if your initiative is below 1. To make a decisive attack roll Attribute+ability+other modifiers (no accuracy). If you miss, you lose 2 initiative if you have between 1-10 initiative and 3 initiative if you have 11+. If you do hit, you do not get to count your extra successes. Compare your initiative to your opponents hardness. If your initiative is higher, roll it and 10's only count once. Apply successes levels of damage. Then your initiative resets to base (generally 3).
If a character's initiative drops to zero or below, he enters initiative crash. In initiative crash, hardness is set at zero unless something explicitly states that it gives you hardness in initiative crash. You cannot launch decisive attacks. Withering attacks continue to drive you downward. If you survive three turns in crash, your initiative is reset. If you crash yourself, you lose an additional 5 initiative. Forcing someone into initiative crash gains an initiative break bonus (+5 initiative). You cannot get this bonus the round their initiative resets or the round after that. If a character crashes himself, the person most directly responsible gets the bonus. If a character crashes the character that crashes him, it is called initiative shift. First, you initiative resets to base, unless that would cause you to lose initiative. Second, your turn is reset, allowing you to take another turn like you had not taken a turn. If you attack, however, you must attack the character you just crashed.
Soak is now the same regardless of the type of damage.
Normally you can only take one action on your turn. If you flurry you can take two different types of actions. Both actions get a -3 penalty. You also get a -1 defense until you next action.
Other action types: Aim, cannot be placed in a flurry or be done when moving. It gives you +3 to your attack if you attack that person next round. To attack at medium range or further you must aim first. You only get the +3 if you aim twice at that range. Defend Other, allows you to use your parry to defend someone within close range. If the attacker overcomes the defenders defense, he can either hit the defender or apply the extra successes to the original targets defense. If it is a decisive attack against the original target, subtract 1 initiative for every two defense of the protecting character. Draw/Ready Weapon. Gives you a -1 defense. You automatically draw/ready one weapon when joining combat unless ambushed. Full Defense, adds two to defense, cannot be placed in a flurry except with social actions, cannot be used during initiative crash, lose one initiative.
Delaying your action causes you to lose two initiative.
Combat Movement. Exalted 3rd edition uses range bands like Star Wars. (Close/Short/Medium/Long/Extreme) The range bands are strikingly similar to Star Wars. You can only take one movement action per turn. Moving one range band closer or further away from something is reflexive action and doesn't need to be put in a flurry. RUSH. You can only rush a character within short range, and you can use it even when you have already moved. Make a contested Dex+Athletics check. If the rusher wins, the rusher follows the other character if he tries to move away from him. DISENGAGE. In order to break away from a character enemy in close range, a character must make a disengage action. Roll Dex+Dodge vs all close opponents Dex+Athletics. If you succeed you move to short range away from all of them. In addition, you move one range band away from them if they move toward you before your next turn. This can only occur once per Disengage roll. If you fail, you cannot get away. Either way you lose 2 initiative. Rising from prone counts as a combat and movement action. Taking cover is a combat and movement action. Withdrawing is an attempt to escape the combat scene. It is a difficulty 1, goal number 10, interval 1 round extended action. May only be used when at medium or further range from all opponents. Someone withdrawing moves one range band away from all enemies and an additional range band if successful on the test that turn. If the withdrawing character achieves the 10 successes while at extreme range, they leave the battle. Difficult terrain causes it to be two move actions to move through a range band. Rush, disengage, and withdraw are at a -3 penalty.
Light Cover is about half your body and +1 defense. Heavy cover is 75% of the body and adds two to defense. Full cover leaves nothing exposed and the character can not be targeted.
Gambits are a special type of decisive attack. They are things like disarm attempts, unhorsing an opponent, etc. In order to execute a gambit, make a decisive attack and then roll initiative dice as normal. Disarm is difficulty 3. Unhorse is difficulty 4. Distract is difficulty 3-5. The character chooses a beneficiary who gets the initiative the character loses. The character must either attack the target on their next turn or lose the gained initiative. A character can only be the beneficiary of one distraction at a time. Grapple is difficulty 2. After successfully grappling, make an opposed Strength+(Brawl or Martial Arts) roll. If the defender wins, the grapple ends on the defender's next turn. If the attacker wins, he controls the clinch for a number of additional rounds equal to successes. The defender automatically escapes after that many turns. The grapple automatically ends if the attacker suffers initiative crash or releases it. Both characters have a -2 defense and cannot perform flurries. Victims cannot take movement actions and suffer a -1 to attacks, -3 to two-handed attacks. Every time a clincher is attacked, he loses one round of control. If he is damaged, he loses an additional round. Every round the attacker controls the clinch, including the one the clinch starts, he can do one of the following: Savage, Restrain/Drag, or Throw/Slam. Savage is an attack. The target has defense 0, but cannot be missed. Restrain/Drag costs two rounds of control. It prevents the defender from doing anything on their turn and lets the controller make a move action. Throw/Slam ends the clinch early. Make an attack like a Savage attack, but add 2 dice to damage per round forfeited for withering attacks or 1 die per round for decisive attacks. The target is left prone.
Crippling in Exalted is voluntary. Once per story, a character can negate damage by taking a crippling injury instead. The character must still take at least two levels of lethal damage after the negating, unless it would kill him. Negating 1-2 levels results in losing a couple of fingers, an eye, or half a foot. 3-4 health levels is losing an entire sense or appendage. 5+ costs a limb. Wound penalties are doubled if 3 or more levels are negated, in addition to any penalties the crippling naturally has.
Clash attacks are what happens when two characters attack each other at the exact same time.