rating: 0+x

By: DarlothDarloth

Here's a few assorted houserules to smooth things out, primarily to do with combat calculations but also a little tweak to xp costs and character creation. I'm mostly using here as a place to put them, though hopefully someone else will see them and appreciate what I've done, so I'll provide the reason I wanted to change that as well as the changes themselves.

Combat Tweaks

  • Resistance/soak charms must be declared before damage dice are rolled. Since most of them are reflexive, they do not have to be declared earlier than that, and can wait until an attack has hit.
  • Strength and Stamina count double for the damage and soak calculations. For example, someone with Strength 3, Stamina 4, would add +6 damage to withering attacks and have +8 natural soak derived from their stamina.
    Quick characters will likely need +2 to +4 damage and soak to account for this as their attributes are not listed. Just pick +2 if they're average, +3 if they sound strong, and +4 if they sound very strong, and add to both.
    • Reasoning: Dexterity is still the best combat statistic because a point of accuracy is always worth half a point of damage simply because of the damage calculation. While this ruling does not change that, it does give additional benefits to stacking strength and stamina instead, and because they balance out, this will not affect the weapon balance or charms at all, it simply makes a high dex build where both strength and stamina are neglected a little less good, which in turn should open up some space for characters with lower dex to do better.
  • Withering attacks have +2 accuracy dice, no matter who's making them. Battlegroups gain +1 defense against withering attacks.
    • Reasoning: This helps to prevent withering attacks that don't do much of anything and have no penalty for making them. Combat where defense is stronger than offense is usually a stalemate. Exalted 3 doesn't suffer from this as much as previous editions, but an extra bit of accuracy always helps and this should help things along. It's a flat bonus because then it helps heavy weapons just as much as light weapons, and I currently believe heavy weapons to be a bit worse off in general. I'm a little worried it makes battlegroups a bit easier, so an alternative ruling -might- be: "Single non-group characters have -1 defense against any Withering attack". That's a bit harder to remember though, so I went with giving battlegroups +1 defense vs withering. I'm not completely happy with this yet.
  • Slashing swords reset to init 4 instead of 3 via a new tag I haven't thought of a good name for. They no longer have the Balanced tag.
    • Reasoning: To differentiate them from straight swords, really. Might be too strong, further testing required. A possibility would be a tag that lets you drop one initiative on the attack to reset to 4, but then it's a defensive rather than offensive benefit, and I wanted slashing swords to be more of an offensive choice.
  • Weapons with the Reaching tag grant +2 Parry against any melee attack by an attacker that started their turn further than Close range, and does not also have the Reaching tag.
    • Reasoning: Most of the things with the Reaching tag are heavy weapons. They seem pretty bad. Reaching is also the only tag that models, well, reach, and reach should be a big deal in most combat. This grants them a defensive benefit to the start of most melee. I'm considering granting +2 accuracy to any attacks in this case also but that seemed a little strong. The need for disengages should keep this effect from being overly strong.
  • Heavy mortal weapons have Overwhelm 2, and defense +0.
    • Reasoning: They're big and heavy and they don't even have overwhelm TWO? Anyway - this is to offset the perceived lack of utility in heavy mortal weaponry without making them any better when they DO hit a low soak target. This way at least large weapons will also be better against big easy to hit things with really high soak. I am however considering adding another +2 damage to the heavy weapons overall, both mortal and enchanted.
  • Bashing tag weapons usually do half Bashing and half Lethal health levels, calculate after rolling damage and round both up. Whips and Unarmed are two that really should do completely bashing damage, maybe also fighting chains and shields, perhaps improvised clubs and such. Use appropriate judgement.
    • Reasoning: Getting hit with a six foot long solid metal pole, or a warhammer, does NOT merely cause bruising that's easy to heal. Rounding both up is to compensate for only half lethal damage, which seemed to be the only sensible way of differentiating blunt and cutting weaponry given the existing systems.

Unexpected Attacks and Initiative

  • Join Battle rolls can only benefit from charms that specifically affect Join Battle rolls, or excellencies.
  • Join Battle rolls can be made with the higher of any combat ability or Awareness.
    • Reasoning: Awareness being the only source of Join Battle dice makes it an unusually strong ability for combat. That on its own is fine, but the way Awareness charms combine with this results in a character with high awareness often being able to strike for massive damage early on. This seemed a little odd, so the main reason for this change is to make the awareness charms less overpowering for battle usage.
  • Ambushes work differently. If you beat the opposing stealth check, you have no penalty. If you tie or lose by 1 or 2 successes, you are surprised (-2 dv). If you lose by 3 or more successes, you are unaware and have 0dv until your next turn. Those who are surprised but have higher initiative cannot make attacks against the concealed attacker, but can do anything else on their action - they know something is about to happen due to 6th sense / martial instinct. Those who are unaware have no idea what is about to happen and may not take combat relevant actions until their next turn.
    • Reasoning: This prevents initiative being a significant factor in stealth, and also prevents successful ambushes being a two-chances-to-fail situation. Since Awareness charms are very good at blocking stealth effects, they will still be useful here.

Experience / Character Creation

  • Charms cost 5xp, or 4xp if it's a caste/favored charm. Up to you whether sorcery spells etc also cost this, I recommend they remain at 8-10xp but martial arts should use the cheaper prices. Evocations could go either way, but they tend to be equivalent to charms so I would recommend them costing 5xp.
    • Reasoning: Despite Exalted being a supremely complex game where everyone has dozens of powers available at all times, I think charms should be cheaper. Charms are the main factor of growth for exalts, and by making them cheap enough to buy a new one every single session, it gives people something to look forward to and alleviates some of the broader or less common charm trees being rather difficult to get to without sacrificing other things. If you're worried people will rush down a tree, you could specify that you can't buy a charm from the same tree twice in a row, and point out that since this rule lets people buy twice as many charms, they'll still progress down their tree of choice at exactly the same speed they would have without it, except with more -other- charms along the way.

As a side note to the below, you can probably just use Irked's collection of houserules instead of this for much the same effect. He has attribute arrays instead of XP pools, which is likely easier.

  • Remove all bonus points, use ~70 experience instead.
    • Reasoning: Bonus points make min-maxing the right thing to do, every time. If you don't, you'll regret it. Using experience is better and will result in more 3s and 4s, which in turn gives more scope for growth.
  • Instead of assigning skills and attributes via dots, buy them via experience:
    64 xp for Primary attributes
    40 xp for Secondary attributes
    24 xp for Tertiary attributes

    224 xp for Skills, plus 4 speciality dots on top. Do not raise skills higher than 3 with this xp, and each favoured ability must have at least one dot.
    • Reasoning: Same as the above, this removes any incentive to minmax your points and have wildly unbalanced character setups, especially in Attributes. XP totals may need a bit of tweaking.

Specific Charms

  • Racing Hare Method: This charm has an out of combat speed of Essence * 10 mph.
    • Reasoning: It had that speed in previous editions, it's about the speed of a racing hare at essence 2, and it keeps it relevant without being totally overpowered. It's also a lot easier to measure on a map than 3 range bands per turn.
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License