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  • #16
    Originally posted by Zeal View Post
    Simplified mechanical breakdowns would be great! I know the kids will want some combat, so getting a good flow of join battle, initiative countdown, withering attacks leading into decisive attacks and such would be extremely helpful. I've reread the combat section at least once this morning and it's a little obtuse. I'll probably get out some dice and walk myself through it, but that's something that I would love for advice or resources to make smoother.
    One thing that helps is keeping track of initiative using physical tokens, that way it becomes much less abstract, and it's easy to see the flow of combat as combatants steal initiative from each other. Ideally use dice as tokens, so that when a combatant does a decisive attack they can literally roll their initiative dice to deal damage.


    • #17
      Sorry to derail this a bit, but what kind of mortals do you have at your table?

      At our game with 3 Solars and an NPC Abyssal, with my Dawn Caste having managed to hold his own in a duel against Octavian the Living Tower 2nd Circle Demon earlier, and we could barely scratch the Cataphractoi even after I got a hold of an Iron blade to use. In the end we did not actually manage to win it but did wound it enough to cause enough of a stalemate to negotiatiate with it so we could continue on our way.


      • #18
        The combat mechanics are complex, but if you've got all the dice pools written down so you're not recalculating much, it's not so bad. Although I'd also recommend writing down the dice caps, my players are constantly forgetting what their dice caps are. I can pretty much guarentee that someone will ask me how it works at least once per combat, probably twice.

        The social mechanics are still quite fiddly though, as that's not about dice pools.

        Epitome's suggestion of initiative as tokens is a good idea. Motes would be good too, though it does mean each person has two pools of tokens.
        But it will help a lot.

        I'll be honest though... Exalted's mechanics aren't as complex as they look, they flow quite well... but they are complex. There's a lot to keep track of compared to, say, DnD.
        Last edited by The Wizard of Oz; 08-02-2019, 02:10 PM.

        My characters:
        Dr Soma Vaidya, viper-totem Lunar and kung-fu doctor
        Brother Alazar, Zenith occultist and last survivor of the Black Monastery of Leng
        Shadow of Kings, Twilight barbarian scholar, master of lost First Age crafting techniques. Has a lot of clones. Picture by Jen.


        • #19
          My group keeps track of initiative on a triple wide number line. Each player has a little wooden name card as wide as one number with their name written in black on one side and red on the other. So we roll initiative, and add everyone to the number line, then when they take their turn we flip them over to red so we know even if they get knocked down in initiative they’ve already acted. Then at the end of the round everyone regains 5 motes and gets flipped back to the black side.

          We also use coloured beads to keep track of Essence and willpower. In little trays divided into four sections, clear willpower, light blue personal essence, dark blue peripheral, and spent. I’ve found both of these aides to be incredibly valuable.


          • #20
            I've used poker chips before and quite like it. They're also tactically nice and even have the nice "cashing in" feel to them when making decisive attacks.

            And stuff.
            My DeviantArt Page // My tumblr // Exalted 3e Houserules


            • #21
              Originally posted by Zeal View Post
              Simplified mechanical breakdowns would be great! I know the kids will want some combat, so getting a good flow of join battle, initiative countdown, withering attacks leading into decisive attacks and such would be extremely helpful. I've reread the combat section at least once this morning and it's a little obtuse. I'll probably get out some dice and walk myself through it, but that's something that I would love for advice or resources to make smoother.
              I made a video about basic combat some time ago. It could be helpful.

              Freelance writer for Exalted | Content creator
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              • #22
                So I'm going to write up a quick summary of the basics of how combat works, assuming you remember things from 2nd edition like how to form dice pools by adding (Attribute + Ability) and kind of recall terms like soak and hardness. A lot of this is redundant from the book but it's condensed a bit. I also copied this from a word document so the formatting might be a bit off.
                In ex3 initiative represents how well your character is doing in the battle. Even if your character hasn't inflicted any lasting wounds on their opponent, if they have 25 initiative to the enemy's -5, then they're dominating that fight. High initiative comes with a series of benefits.
                • Turn order: At the beginning of each round the character with the highest initiative acts first, then the second highest, and so on.
                • Ability to deal damage: When it comes to dealing real lasting damage to an opponent, you roll a decisive attack with damage equal to your current initiative. After which you reset to base, usually 3.
                • Combat Resource: Initiative can also be spent on many charms and mundane abilities, turning it into a kind of other combat resource next to motes and willpower.
                So as you can see the basic concept of combat is to collect as much initiative as you can, and then spend it in a decisive attack to incapacitate your enemy. The main way of getting initiative is through making withering attacks against opponents. Withering attacks let you steal initiative from enemies, which will stop them from being able to use it to hurt you with decisive attacks, push them further down the turn order, and let yourself make more powerful decisive attacks.

                So we have these two different kinds of attacks, below is a summary of how they each function.
                • When you make a withering attack, you add the accuracy of your weapon to your (Dex + Melee/Brawl/Archery ect.) pool to determine how many dice you roll to attack.
                • If you successfully roll equal to your opponent's defense, which is the higher of their Parry or Dodge, then you strike them and gain 1 initiative.
                • Any successes beyond their defense are added to the base damage of the attack, which is your strength plus the weapon's damage value.
                • You then subtract your opponent's soak from that, soak is equal to (Stamina + armor soak). You roll what's left over and steal initiative equal to successes rolled. So they lose (Successes) and you gain (Successes + 1) because you get a free one for hitting.
                • If you reduce an opponent down to 0 or less initiative, you also gain a free +5 initiative on top of that, but your opponent doesn't lose it.

                • When you make a decisive attack, your accuracy is just your (Dex + Ability) pool, no weapon involved.
                • If you successfully roll equal to your opponent's defense, then you hit them.
                • If you miss, you lose 2 initiative, or 3 if you made the attack with more than 10 initiative
                • If you hit, you do not add any overflow successes to the damage, your damage is just equal to your current initiative.
                • Your opponent can stop decisive damage if they have a hardness value, usually granted by artifact armor or charms. If their hardness is equal to your damage it stops the attack dead. However if they have an initiative of 0 or less, they can not apply hardness
                • When you roll your damage pool you do not benefit from double 10s, and damage is applied right to their health track just like it was in 2e, and then right after your initiative gets reset to base, which is almost always 3.
                That last part is what makes decisive attacks risky, because it puts you close to 0 initiative. Having 0 or less initiative is called being in initiative crash, and it's very bad. Below are the downsides to being in initiative crash
                • Can't apply hardness to decisive attacks.
                • You likely gave the person who crashed you 5 initiative when they did it.
                • Certain charms with the Perilous keyword don't function while crashed.
                • You can't make decisive attacks at all.


                Calculating defense is pretty simple. Your dodge defense is equal to (Dex + Dodge + Specialty)/2 rounded up, and then subtract any mobility penalty directly from that value.
                Parry is (Dex + Ability + Specialty)/2 round up, and then add 1 if you're using a medium weapon.

                Example Combat
                Okay so let's do a quick example combat and see how it all works. I'm going to use a Death Moa, which is a gigantic carnivorous and flightless bird, and a mortal hero with medium armor and a sword. I'm also actually rolling this out so we'll see how it goes, hopefully not too much of a slog.

                Strength 3
                Dexterity 4
                Stamina 3
                Wits 3

                Melee 4
                Awareness 4

                Sword (Accuracy +2, Damage +9, Parry +1)
                Armor (Soak +5, Mobility -1)

                So what that gives us is these pools:
                Sword Attack: 10 accuracy, 12 damage
                Parry of 5
                Soak of 8
                Join battle pool of 7

                The Death Moa has:
                Peck: 8 accuracy, 15 damage
                Parry 3
                Soak 9
                Join battle 5

                Roll join battle
                The warrior rolls 7 dice, getting 10-9-9-8-7-3-1, which nets him 6 successes, and a starting initiative of 9, because we add 3 to it.
                The bird rolls 5 dice, getting 7-5-4-2-1, which nets him 1 success and a starting initiative of 4

                Turn 1
                The warrior goes first and makes a withering attack against the bird. He rolls his 10 dice to attack, getting 10-10-10-9-8-4-4-3-2-1, for a total of 8 successes. That's 5 over the bird's parry, so we add 5 to the base damage of the attack, making it 17. We then subtract the bird's soak of 9, leaving us with a final damage of 8.
                We roll those 8 dice, getting 10-7-2-1-1-1-1, for a total of 3 damage. So we lower the birds initiative by 3, and add 4 to our total

                Then the bird attacks, also a withering attack. Rolling 8 dice for 6 successes. As that's 1 over the warrior's parry, we add 1 to the damage, making it 16, then subtract 8 for the soak making it 8 damage. We roll 8 damage for 4 successes, giving the bird 5 initiative and taking away 4 from the warrior.

                We end the turn with the bird at initiative 6, and the warrior at 9.

                Turn 2
                The warrior still has higher initiative so he's going first again. He's going to try and wither, and this time he's spending a willpower to attack. Spending a willpower gives an automatic success to any ability roll. Rolling 10 dice for a total of 7, which becomes 8 because of the willpower, we roll 8 damage again. That deals 4 damage.
                Then the bird attacks with a withering peck, and the warrior is also going to spend a willpower on defense, which raises it by 1. The bird rolls only 4 successes and fails to hit
                We end the turn with the bird at initiative 2, and the warrior at 14.

                Turn 3
                The warrior makes another withering attack against the bird, no willpower this time, rolling 7 successes again, which leaves him with one less overflow, and therefore one less damage. Rolling 7 damage dice for 4 successes.
                Now, since the bird was at 2 initiative, this damage will put him to -2, which means he's crashed. Because of that, the warrior gets an additional 5 initiative, added to the 4 damage and the 1 for landing a withering attack that's a total of 10

                The bird then acts and tries to wither the warrior, but only rolls 3 successes and misses.
                We end the turn with the bird at initiative -2, and the warrior at 24.

                Turn 4
                Now the warrior will try a decisive attack against the bird. Because this attack is decisive it doesn't add his weapon accuracy to his attacks, so he's only attacking with 8 dice. He rolls them and gets 4 successes. That's 1 over the birds defense, but we don't add it to damage because it's decisive.
                Now we roll the warrior's initiative as real damage. Rolling 24 dice and getting 10-10-10-9-8-8-8-8-7-7-6-6-5-5-5-4-4-4-3-2-1-1-1-1. Unfortunately decisive attacks don't double 10s for damage, so we deal 10 damage. That's just 1 shy of killing the death moa, but it's enough to drive it off! So fight over.

                Anyway, that's the very most basic idea of combat, if you want I can make other short writeups for how gambits work, and movement, and some of the other stuff, but I wanted to make sure that this was actually in any way helpful first before doing all that work. There's lots of other resources out there as well, but I find sometimes that having multiple different explanations can sometimes be helpful.