Gameplay

Stunts (Pose before you roll).

Pose before you roll. This will allow you to get the benefit of stunt die at the GM’s discretion.

1 extra die: Good description of an action.
2 extra die: Good description of action that uses the Storyteller’s description of the environment. May add some elements to the environment as well, revealing something new that does not strain belief.
3 extra die: “Singular acts of greatness, stunning bravado and visual poetry, defined by their capacity to leave the other players slack-jawed in astonishment. If any doubt exists as to whether a stunt merits 3 die it is not a 3 die stunt.”

You can also choose to allow stunts to enhance DV, help you recover willpower, help you recover essence or translate 3 die stunts into 1 XP.

Difficulties and Successes

  • Results of 7, 8, 9, 10=a success.
  • The difficulty of the roll is the # of successes required to complete the task:
Difficulty Rating Degree of Difficulty
1 Standard
2 Difficult
3 Challenging
4 Nearly Impossible
5 Legendary
  • Reroll 10s
  • 1s cancel out successes
  • More 1s than successes=botch
  • Thresholds determine how successful you are. This is the number of successes over and above the difficulty.
Threshold Degree of Success
0 Adequate
1 Competent
2 Superior
3 Remarkable
4 Astonishing
5 Phenomenal

Penalties

  • - 2 dice for attempting a skill you don’t have training in
  • Wound penalties
  • Internal penalties (pain, fear, drugs, poison, exhaustion, lacks appropriate tools) subtract from dice
  • External penalties (environmental factors, called shots, etc.) subtract from successes
  • Retry penalty: -1 success external penalty every time you retry a roll (character gets frustrated)

Other types of rolls:

  • Resisted rolls: character with most # of successes wins, ties in favor of PCs.
  • Extended rolls: Failure contributes nothing to success, botch undoes the whole effort.
  • Multi-action penalty: you may take multiple actions but each action loses 1 die. So 1 action per round: full die, 2 actions -1 to second action, 3 actions -2 to third action, etc.

Bonuses

  • WP: 1 WP point adds a bonus success to the roll.
  • WP: Player may spend WP to add a virtue to a particular action where an dwhen appropriate.
  • Specialties in an ability add bonus dice
  • Good equipment is often helpful
  • Many charms provide bonus dice
  • Stunts (see above).

Teamwork

  • Only if it applies. Roll the highest dice pool among the collaborating characters. Add bonus die equal to the number of characters with at least one die in the required ability who are providing aid. The cooperating bonus cannot exceed the ability rating of the person making the roll.

Order of Modifiers

1. Non-magical bonuses
2. Non-magical penalties
3. Magical bonuses
4. Magical penalties
5. Minimum dice (If the character has Essence 2+ and the modified pool is less than her essence rating, the pool has a value of Essence – the sum of wound penalties and multiple action penalties. This value cannot exceed the original unmodified pool but it may be zero, or negative).
6. Apply bonus successes gained from Charms, WP, or other sources. If no such affects apply and the character has zero or negative dice remaining the roll automatically fails.

Combat

Order of attack

1. Declare attack
2. Defender declares response
3. Attack roll
4. Attack re-roll
5. Subtract external penalties/apply special defenses
6. Defense Re-roll
7. Calculate raw damage
8. Apply hardness & soak
9. Roll damage
10. Counterattacks
11. Apply results

Calculating DV:

DDV (Dodge DV): Dex + Dodge + Essence/2
Parry DV: Dex + Ability/2

Various actions reduce DV until the character’s next action tick.

Example: Carmen has a DDV of 4 and moves on the very first tick. She has to dash at her opponent to attack (-2 DV) and she takes an attack action when she gets there (-1 DV) for a total of -3. On tick 2, tick 3, tick 4, tick 5, and tick 6, other people take their turns. She has an effective DDV of 1 that entire time. On tick 7, when she moves again, her DV resets.

Big Battles

There are special rules for leading troops to war. We will get into them if we need them.

You can take just about any combat action you can think of. Rolls will be requested accordingly.

Social Combat

The rules for social combat cover changing other people’s beliefs and influencing them to take courses of action.

1. Declare attack. The attacker must decide the traits used for the attack, first selecting Charisma (for honest persuasion) or Manipulation (for guile and deception), and then Investigation (interrogating a target character or unit), Performance (affecting everyone in range who observes the attack) or Presence (targeting a character or unit). The declaration should also indicate the desired effect of the attack.

2. Declare Defense. Doing nothing is tantamount to going along with whatever the attacker wants. Parrying or dodging (stubbornly refusing or objecting and arguing) is declared.

3. Attack roll

4. Determine effect. Social rolls do not inflict damage but compel behavior or force willful resistance. There is no soak.

5. Apply effect.

Effects of social attacks:

  • Building or eroding intimacies
  • Compelling behavior
  • Breaking motivation

These attacks may be written (as in sent in a letter).

Prayer

Creation is an animistic world in which gods exist for every facet of life and every force in the universe. At the bottom, half-aware gods hold sway over specific objects, such as individual weapons, or tools, or rocks. At the top, the Incarnae govern the journey of heavenly bodies through the firmament and hold sway over the Celestial Bureaucracy that ostensibly governs all gods. Anyone can pray to a deity, making an offering to get its attention so that it actually listens to the prayer rather than simply consuming a petition’s meager essence. The dramatic action to secure a god’s attention is a charisma + performance roll at a difficulty of 7-resources value of sacrifice. Players of priest subtract one from the difficulty of all prayer rolls. Among the Exalted all Zenith are priests regardless of vocation. Praying can take anywhere from a moment for extremely simple requests to involved ceremonies lasting days at a time (the elaborate exercise of which typically qualifies as a stunt). For bloodier gods, a sacrifice of sentient beings has an effective Resources value equal to the combined permanent essence of all victims. A successful prayer means that the deity understands the request and is inclined to provide aid, although such aid will usually be subtle and seldom immediately. Botching a prayer means the diety is offended and requires an offering before it will listen to further requests. The collective worship of many beings generates and focuses essence almost like a manse does. Unlike spirits, exalted cannot hear the prayers of those who worship them, though they can benefit from essence granted by any cults large enough to produce such.

Combos and Flurries

Combos: Normally an Exalt can use only a single Charm per action. However, with long practice and focus, the Exalted can combine Charms together, becoming able to use two or more Charms in the same action. For example, an Exalt who has mastered the COmbo of Peony Blossom Attack and Fire and Stones Strike can make a magical flurry of several attacks AND inflict extra damage with all of them. The number and power of the Combos the Exalt has mastered are a better measure of her power than the number of Charms she knows.

Developing Combos

Characters develop Combos through long exercise of their powers, devoting long hours of effort toward integrating their Abilities and understanding their Charms and how they interact. During play, a character can develop Combos through arduous practice. The experience cost of Combos developed during play is equal to the sum of the minimum Ability values of the Charms. However, storytellers don’t have to let a character learn a Combo just because the player has enough XP stored up. Combos are hard—they don’t just develop overnight or when you really need them. Characters often must undergo arduous training or seek out special conditions to learn their new secret moves. Make learning new maneuvers part of the game, not just a matter of writing something down on a character sheet. As a general rule, training for a Combo takes a number of days equal to three times the sum of the minimum abilities of the charms in the combo. Combos may include only those charms with the Combo-Basic or Combo-OK keywords. Charms with the Combo-Basic keyword can share a Combo with only reflexive charms. A Combo can include more than two Charms but it can never include the same Charm more than once. Storytellers are always free to veto the combination of certain Charms, and the Storyteller’s decision is final when it comes to defining how a given Combo works. Once a Combo is bought, it is set. While there is no limit to the number of Combos a character can develop, a character cannot add Charms to a Combo after she develops it. A character who wishes to add another Charm to a Combo must purchase the Combo again, with the additional Charm in it. The character then knows both versions of the Combo. The use of the individual Charms that compose the Combo is in no way restricted by them being part of a Combo—characters may use the individual Charms normally outside of the Combo.

WHen a character uses a Combo in battle or in war there is an unmistakably brilliant display of Essence. Any character present will know that the Exalt is using a Combo the moment she pays the temporary WP to activate it. However, the witness will not know the exact nature of the Combo until he has seen it used once. The display of a Combo’s activation is very distinctive, and once a character has seen it activated it he will be able to recognize it if he sees it again.

Characters can use Combos in social conflict or to enhance dramatic actions. This use does not produce a Combo to display unless one of the Charms in the Combo is obvious.

Timing

Combos allow a character to use two, three, or more Charms in a given action. Don’t worry if this seems like it could get confusing. This section presents a point-by-point description of how the different types of Charms work together in a Combo. THere are a lot of rules, but it’s not as complex as it looks. Beneath the precise wording and occasional repetition the core concepts are simple ones.

Simple: A Combo can have only one simple Charm in it. If there are supplemental charms in the combo the character must use them to supplement the simple CHarm. If there is an extra-action Charm in the COmbo, the character must use the simple charm as every action in the magical flurry. The character must use the simple Charm a number of times equal to the minimum number of actions in the flurry. The simple Charm must be from the same Ability as the extra-action Charm unless one of the Charms explicitly permits the combination, and it must be an appropriate action for every action the magical flurry contains.

Supplemental: Ther eis no limit to the number of supplemental charms that can be part of a Combo. If there is a simple CHarm in the Combo, the supplemental charm must be used to benefit it. This means the supplemental Charm must be from the same Ability as the simple CHarm unless one of the Charms explicitly permits the combination, and it must be able to benefit the kind of action the simple Charm is. If there are no simple Charms in the Combo, the supplemental charm must benefit all the character’s non-reflexive actions. Unless the Charm’s description indicates otherwise, supplemental Charms can only benefit uses of the Ability on which they are based. The supplemental Charm may benefit the character’s reflexive actions, including actions given by reflexive and permanent Charms, if it can validly apply to them. Unless the Charm’s description indicates otherwise, supplemental Charms can only benefit uses of the Ability on which they are based.

Reflexive: There is no limit to the number of reflexive Charms that can be part of a Combo. If there is a simple Charm in the Combo that can validly benefit from the reflexive Charm, the character /may/ use this reflexive Charm to supplement it. If there is an extra-action Charm in the combo and one or more actions in the flurry can validly benefit from the reflexive charm the character may use the reflexive charm to supplement it. If there is neither an extra-action nor a simple charm in the Combo and the reflexive charm can validly apply to that action then the supplemental charm may benefit that action. The reflexive charm can be used outside the character’s dice actions, as usual. However, the player must state that the Exalt is using the Combo, and which Combo, and must pay the price for the Combo (see below) as soon as the player uses the first CHarm for that Combo in a given action—he cannot use a reflexive Charm and then later in the action declare that he actually wishes to use a combo containing that Charm.

Extra Action: Only one charm of the extra-action type may be used in a given Combo. If there is an extra-action Charm in the Combo than the character must activate it. If there is a simple Charm in the Combo the character must use the simple charm as every action in the magical flurry. The extra action Charm must be from the same Ability as the simple Charm unless one of the Charms explicitly prevents the combination and the simple Charm must be an appropriate action for every action the magical flurry contains. If there are supplemental Charms in the Combo they must all benefit all of the actions in the flurry. This means that they must benefit the same kinds of actions that the flurry includes. If there are reflexive Charms in the Combo they may be used to benefit any of the actions in the magical flurry.

Permanent: Permanent Charms may not belong to Combos. Characters may use the ongoing benefits of permanent Charms during a combo.

Paying the Price: Developing a Combo enables the Exalt to use multiple different Charms in the same action, but this is not without cost. Channeling so much Essence is an act requiring tremendous willpower. THe character must pay the normal cost of all the non-reflexive Charms in th eCombo, and if she cannot pay the cost then it does not work. SOme Combos will have variable cost. In this case, the character must be able to pay at least the minimum possible cost to activate the Combo. The character must also spend one point of temporary WP to activate the Combo, above and beyond the cost to activate the Charms that make up the Combo. A character can activate a Combo only once per action and cannot use a Combo during an action in which she has already used Charms of any other sort.

Examples:

Simple Combo

Janet wants Ocean Pearl to take on dangerous opponents and armies of extras when necessary. Janet makes a Combo containing the 1st Melee Excellency and Dipping Swallow Defense. Once Ocean Pearl activates this combo she can unleash powerful blows without sacrificing her defense.

To use this Combo, Janet marks off a point of WP and announces she is using the Combo. Once she does so, until her next action, she can use 1st Melee Excellency to add dice to her Melee attacks and Parry DV. In addition, because she has a Combo, she can use Dipping Swallow Defense to keep her Parry DV high.

Note that even though the charms are reflexive, if Janet wishes to keep using them both during an action she must declare she’s activating the Combo and spend the temporary WP to do so the first time she uses one of the CHarms. If she used one without activating the Combo then she wouldn’t be able to use the other during the action because a character can’t use a Combo during an action when she’s already used a Charm.

This combo would cost three XP, because the 1st Melee Excellency has a minimum Melee of 1 and Dipping Swallow Defense has a Minimum Melee of 2.

When using this Combo, Ocean Pearl’s anima flickers all around her like sunlight on water. Her every move is impossible perfection. Her sword burns with white Essence-fire that leaves contrails behind it, delivering the Unconquered Sun’s judgment onto the unworthy.

Multi-Action Combo:

Kirby wants WInd to develop a powerful Martial Arts Combo after a stinging defeat at the haands of his Circle’s Abyssal nemesis. Kirby builds a Combo of the Martial Arts Charms Fists of Iron Technique, Thunderclap Rush Attack and Hammer on Iron Technique. He adds the Dodge Charm Seven Shadow Evasion just in case the Abyssal survives long enough to strike back. When Kirby wishes to use this Combo he must mark off one point of Wind’s temporary Willpower in order to activate the Combo. He must mark off one point of temporary Willpower and three motes of Wind’s Essence to activate Hammer on Iron Technique and then two motes of Wind’s Essence per attack—one to pay for Thunderclap Rush Attack and one to pay for Fists of Iron Technique. Wind has Essence 3, so he will make four attacks all told. In order to use this Combo, he must spend a grand total of two temporary Willpower and 11 motes of Wind’s Essence.

When Wind uses this Combo he makes a magical flurry of four Thunderclap Rush Attacks against a single target. The combo is speed 3—he’ll be ready to act again three ticks later. Because Thunderclap Rush Attack has a low DV penalty and Hammer on Iron Technique prevents the four attack’s penalties from accumulating, he has only a -1 DV penalty from attacking. He also gains +1 Accuracy and +2 Damage from Fists of Iron Technique, and his unarmed Parry DV is applicable against lethal attacks until his next action. If someone attacks him before his next action he has the option to spend 3 motes and invoke Seven Shadow Evasion, perfectly dodging the attack.

This costs 13 points of Wind’s XP to develop.

An Improved Version: Kirby later realizes that—nice as this Combo is—he does not have enough attack die to hit his enemies reliably. He designs a new Combo, with essentially the same function, but including the First Martial Arts Excellency. This new Combo would have cost five freebie points in character creation, because it has 5 charms in it. Since he’s developing it in play he spends 14 of Wind’s Experience Points—the 1st Martial Arts Excellency has a minimum Martial Arts of 1. This makes Kirby wince, since he already spent 13 XP on a Combo that is now useless. He resolves to include at least 1 Excellency and 1 defense in every Combo from now on.

There are also social combos. Flurry rules are basically, normally, that you can take as many extra actions at you want at minus 1 die for the second action, minus 2 for the 3rd, minus 3 for the 4th, until you’re out of dice, much like Soulfire—so if you’re riding your horse and firing from the back you make a ride check and then fire at -1, for example. Barring the aid of magic. The Speed rating of a flurry is equal to the highest Speed rating of any action taken as part of the cascade. Each action in the flurry imposes its own defense penalty as normal for that action. IN the case of attacks, a weapon cannot be used to attack more tiems in a flurry than its rate. Certain actions are barred from being part of a flurry, as per their description.

Gameplay

Children of the Unconquered Sun CarmenRaneHudson