Exalted Combat 095

We’ve been metagaming Exalted a lot more, having two fairly long-running Dragon-Blood games on campus, plus a number of one-nighters, a failed Solar experience, and several plans for Sidereals and Dragon Kings that came and went almost overnight. Rummaging around on my hard drive, I found this quick batch of formulas I’d once whipped up to help out both myself and some newer players, before finding the fine Exalted Combat 201 lurking around the net. Still, nothing should go to waste, so here it is–Exalted remedial combat basics.

Hitting and Damage:

  1. Hitting: Calculate your general accuracy/to hit dice; this would be (Dex + Ability) + Weapon Accuracy, plus any stunt dice, willpower successes, virtue dice, or any other bonuses to your roll. Did you exceed the target’s Defense Value (DV)?
    1. If yes, you’ve hit; go to Hardness.
    2. If no, you missed.
  2. Hardness: Calculate your damage dice by adding your successes over the target’s DV to your raw damage (Str + base weapon damage). Did you exceed the Hardness of the target’s armor?
    1. If yes, you’ve damaged them; go to Soak.
    2. If no, you made a glancing blow and damage is ignored.
  3. Soak: Calculate how much damage you’re doing at this point, which would be your raw damage (Str + weapon damage) plus the number of successes over the target’s Dodge/Parry. In other words, any dice left over from step 1. Subtract the amount of dice in the target’s soak from how many dice you’re currently at. Are you still in the positive?
    1. If yes, proceed to Damage.
    2. If no, the target’s armor and toughness soaks all the damage.
  4. Damage: Roll the amount of dice left from step 3; in other words, your raw damage dice left minus the target’s soak. Results of 7 through 10 are equal to one success each.

Here’s a quick example to illustrate the formulas. My Terrestrial, Iselsi Ethryu, is smacking around another Dragon-Blood with his Wavecleaver Daiklave, for some reason.

  • 1.) First, I roll my attack. Dex (4) + Melee (5) + Accuracy (3) = 12 dice, meaning my attack is equal to 12. I roll, and get a spread of 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 5, 7, 7, 8, 9, 9, for five successes. The target’s highest DV is Dodge at 4, so I manage to sneak in a hit. Barely.
  • 2.) Next, I add my raw damage to my successes. Str (3) + weapon damage (8L) + successes (1) = 12 dice of the Lethal damage variety. This more than surpasses the target’s paltry 5 hardness from wearing a Buff Jacket. The attack hits and allows me to apply damage.
  • 3.) This leaves me with 12L dice against my target’s soak; luckily for him, his Reinforced Buff Jacket isn’t so terrible, with a Lethal soak of 7, plus half of his 2 Stamina (… Matt, what kind of gimp character did you make?), which totals for a Soak of 8L. Subtracting this Soak from my raw damage, 12 – 8, I’ve got a final damage value of 4L dice.
  • 4.) Rolling these 4 dice, I get the result of 3, 5, 7, 7, for a total of 2 successes, a pitiful roll if I don’t say so myself, but pretty standard for our Exalted group. We record this data, and hope that Matt wonders why his gimpy character has taken two Lethal damage before the game even started.

The other thing to keep in mind is the Flurry ability, shown under your weapon’s Rate in the books. This is the number of times you can attack with your weapon per round; for example, the Wavecleaver Daiklave has a Rate of 2, so you can make up to three attacks with it in a single round. For each attack you make, your overall dice pool subtracts that amount for the first attack and one additional for each following attack. So, if I were making three attacks with my Wavecleaver, I’d receive a -3 penalty for the first attack, and a -4 for the second. Don’t forget to flurry often, especially if you’re the lowly archer or mage doing a measly 2L+ from your arrows or Elemental Bolt.

This is somewhat countered by Onslaught, meaning that every attack past the first on a single enemy modifies its DV by -1. So, if I made all three of my attacks, the second would give the target a -1 DV, and a third gives a -2 DV. Note that this only applies to a single attacking character; Onslaught doesn’t continue to apply for multiple people, so if another person attacked with a Wavecleaver, they’d only get -1 to the DV on the second attack and -2 on the third.

Each action you make in combat modifies your DV by -1 until your next action; so, if I couldmake three attacks with my Daiklave, I’d have a -3 penalty to my DV until my next turn. This can be very helpful when you’re attacking, and balances nicely with the fact it screws you when you’re on the defensive.

Initiative, or the “Wheels and Parasites” system, is a lot easier than some would have you believe. The basic strategy is to download a battle wheel and use that as a guide, then follow the instructions in the books: roll your Join Battle, the highest roller taking tick 1 and the first action. Everyone else subtracts their roll from the highest Join Battle roll and act on the according tick. So, if the highest was 6, the highest would act on tick 1, the 5’s on tick 2, the 4’s on tick 3, and so on. After making an action, move that many ticks along the battle wheel, and then the next tick can act. If your action is so slow that you’d go around the battle wheel and pass another actor, instead move into the secondary ring of the battle wheel; you’ll move back out once the actor on the last tick has gone, bringing it back full circle to you.


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