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  • Exalted to M&M- Relative Power Levels

    I am, for perhaps the first time in my GMing career, admitting defeat. Exalted 3e has broken me. Running a weekly game for a full-sized party was too much, and as the Charms added up my players were also starting to get overwhelmed. So we're making the switch to a high-power system that I do know how to work, Mutants and Masterminds. I've got a good handle on how I'm going to deal with anima (Complications), Caste powers, stuff like that-- but I'd appreciate some help from more experienced Exalts nailing down power levels for various sorts of enemies.

    The players, Essence 2 Solars with ~80 xp, have been converted to Power Level 8 characters. That gives us a starting point. (For those unfamiliar, M&M's PL mechanic is a lot closer to Essence Level in Exalted than character level in D&D, and runs from 1 to 20. A typical party can take on an enemy 5 levels higher as a standard-issue boss battle). Looking at other types of supernatural being...
    • Pure mortals can get up to PL 5
    • Enlightened or empowered mortals (sorcerers, mutants, Immaculate monks, etc) would be, oh, between PL 4 and 7
    • Dragonblooded would be between PL 6 and 8
    • Celestial Exalts would be between PL 7 and 10
    • Terrestrial gods and first-circle demons would be between PL 6 and 10
    • High-tier gods and second-circle demons would be between PL 10 and 15
    • Deathlords would be between PL 12 (Black Heron) and 17 (First and Forsaken Lion)
    • The Incarnae and third-circle demons would be around PL 16-20
    • Primordials would be PL X (beyond the normal scope of things)
    Do those seem reasonable, given the specified range for Solars and their ilk? Am I rating some stuff too highly or too low? Forgetting things?
    Last edited by Grod_the_giant; 04-04-2020, 12:08 PM.

  • #2
    I think only low-tier celestial exalts would be appropriate boss battles for a team of a few mortals. So celestials should certainly get above 10 (or mortals a bit lower).

    Essence 3 Celestial exalts can summon and bind a second-circle demon. So I would think a second-circle demon is below the middle of the celestial exalt tier.

    Incarnae and third-circle demons are probably appropriate boss battles for a team of endgame solars.

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    • #3
      Here was the breakdown I created for a few Play-by-Posts I ran that used an Exalted Mutants and Masterminds 3e conversion:
      Tier Examples PL Specific Examples
      Xenocosmic Primordials, Celestial Incarnae, Yozis, Neverborn, Unshaped X The Unconquered Sun; Gaia; Malfeas; He Who Holds In Thrall
      Immemorial Third Circle Demons, Hekatonkhire, First Age Solars, Deathlords, Celestial Gods of the Fifth Rank, Directional Spirits 17+ Ligier, the Green Sun; Juggernaut; Queen Merela; The First And Forsaken Lion; Lytek, the God of Exaltation; Ocean Father, God of the Western Ocean
      Sempiternal Powerful Celestial Exalted, Celestial Gods of the Fourth Rank, Behemoths, Lesser Elemental Dragons, National Spirits, Large Regional Spirits 14 to 16 Raksi, Queen of Fangs; E-Naluna, Goddess of War; Oliphem, Watcher of the Sea; The Kukla; The Golden Lord, Patron of An-Teng; Yellow River King, God of the Yanaze
      Exalted Second Circle Demons, Celestial Gods of the Third Rank, Celestial Exalted, Powerful Terrestrial Exalted, Small Regional Spirits, City Mothers, Animal Gods 10 to 13 Sondok, She-Who-Stands-In-Doorways; Itzcalimon, god of Blackmail; Most Starting Player Characters; Immaculate Masters; Miseng, God of the Rolling River; Fangs Unshining, Goddess of Wolves; Weaver of Victorious Dreams
      Legendary Terrestrial Exalted, Local Gods, Raksha Nobles, Powerful Elementals, Apex Predators, Celestial Gods of the Second Rank 7 to 9 Brother Cloud, O-Mochi, Terrestrial Minister of Wild Rice; Narcim the Gorgeous; Garda Birds; Tyrant Lizards; Oliver of the Red Stand, God of the Crimson Valley
      Fantastic First Circle Demons, Mortal Heroes, Elementals, Dangerous Animals, Celestial Gods of the First Rank 5 to 6 Erymanthoi, the Blood-Apes; Gunzosha Commandos; Slyphs; Tigers; Yeddim; Pattern Spiders
      Exceptional Mortals, Animalistic Elementals, Large Animals 4 Captain Arvid; Mercury Ants; Moose, Oxen
      Some of the characters in the 'specific examples' category have names drawn from my own games or from the Exalted-in-M&M actual play I was reading when I created this. I might come back and change some stuff, since I don't agree totally with this chart anymore, but I hope these tiers might be of some use to you.

      Comment


      • #4
        Let me stop you right there.

        According to Mutants and Masterminds DC Super Hero Adventures, Robin (of Batman and Robin) is canonically PL8.

        I would estimate (using MM NPCs):

        Bystander 0 (MM Canon)
        Militia 2 (Criminal/Thug)
        Battle Ready Troops 3
        Elite Soldier 5 (SWAT Officer/Solider)
        Heroic Mortals 8 (Robin)
        God-Blood 10 (Nightwing/Cat Woman)
        Terrestrial Exalted 12 (Batman/Gorrila Grodd)
        Celestial Exalted 14 (Martian Manhunter/Solomon Grundy)
        (Superman is 15 with enough XP to be 19)

        I agree with your scale for gods etc. But you're drastically nerfing Exalts.

        I also strongly feel PL shouldn't be a range for Solars. (Maybe other Exalted start at 13 and progress to 14 ~Essence 3.) Between Supernal ability and what PL means for a MM game, increasing PL should really not be achievable for Solars (unless you become Akuma or a Deathlord or something).

        (For anyone unfamiliar with MM: Power Points (PP) are the Experience Points you use to build and advance your character, you gain 1PP per session. Power Level (PL) represents the scope of your game. PL8 is street level heroes who "rely more on their skills and wits rather than amazing power". PL14 is "World-Protectors" for heroes who "tend to focus on “big picture” problems like alien invasions and world-conquerors along with natural disasters". A typical game of MM starts at PL 10 and 150PP, and lets your character grow from a rookie superhero to a PL20 galactic superpower over the course of 150-ish sessions.)

        I would start Deebs on PL 12 with 150 Power Points and an additional 10 PP to spend on the equivalent of their bonus Merits. I would start Secondary School games at PL 10 and 150PP, advancing to PL 11 at 165PP and PL12 at 180PP.

        I would start Lunars on PL 13 with 180PP. I would increase them to PL 14 at 210PP. (I'd start Grizzled Veterans at PL14/210PP.)

        I would start Solars at PL 14 with 180PP. (As your characters have earned 80XP already, I'd give them the full 210PP -- the same if they were a While In the Sun.)

        Solars start and finish at the level where they are great heroes who can shape the world. They don't grow to Omnipotent Ruler of the Multiverse level. They don't start at Dave Lewinsky Kick-Ass level. They get more powers (PP) they don't get more powerful by scale (PL). If an Essence 5 Twilight with a thousand XP has a sword-fight with a starting level Supernal Melee Dawn, the fight will be close and the Dawn might win. The Dawn won't have a fraction of the options available to the Twilight (the Dawn can't summon Ligier or Craft artifacts or seduce zombies), but the Dawn buys exactly the same Melee powers as the Twilight buys. They work on the same scale.

        I can maybe see an argument for knocking everything above God-Blood down 2 PL (so God-Bloods are on the same level as Heroic Mortals, Deebs at 10, Celestials at 12). But there is no way on Gaia's Green Earth that a Solar is PL7. No. Way.
        Last edited by JohnDoe244; 04-05-2020, 10:57 AM.


        Hi, I'm JohnDoe244. My posts represent my opinions, not facts.

        Comment


        • #5
          Solars are powerful. Solars can reshape the world and take on cosmic entities in head-to-head combat. But saying Solars are equivalent to Superman is frankly absurd.

          I've played a lot of M&M, on both sides of the screen, and spent even more time building characters for my own amusement. One of the biggest lessons I've been left with is that power level, as written on your sheet, doesn't matter. What matters is apparent power.

          Just look at the example archetypes. The Martial Artist is hella strong and agile by human standards. He can punch through concrete walls and run down a telephone line at full speed. He is, by most standards, a Badass. But three pages down you have the Paragon, who can break the sound barrier, lift 400 tons, fly in outer space, and flat-out ignore anything short of heavy weaponry. Yes, the PL math means that they can both fight the same sorts of villains*, but one of them is going to look-- and feel-- a lot stronger in the game world.

          A Solar can outrun the wind; that doesn't mean they should be able to outrun light. The most difficult feat of strength listed in the core book is "lift a yeddim," weighing in at 15 tons; an M&M character with Strength 10 can almost double that without bothering to roll, or even invest particularly heavily in strength. A Solar orator can convert crowds to her side with a single speech; I can put that power on a PL 1 M&M character if I really wanted.Exalts are powerful and can fight armies and mythological foesand things like Mahicara that you could absolutely see fighting the Justice League... but they're not hitting the same sort of apparent benchmarks for strength and speed and such as superheroes, and there's not really a good way to avoid that when PL starts to get that high.

          That said, ya'll are probably right that 8 is too low. I'll talk to my group about kicking up to PL 10; I like KymmetheSeventh's breakdown.




          *In theory; the Martial Artist archetype is horribly built, but the same point stands even if he hadn't blown all his points on Advantages.

          Comment


          • #6
            MM does have a handy chart saying peak human power caps out at 7. So... if building Exalted characters in MM, I'd expect that cap to stand. A Strength 6 MM character corresponds nicely with Exalted's Strength 5 "lift an ox" (MM Strength 7 being about half of what you need to meet Exalted's Strength 7 "lift an elephant"). I'd also expect the characters to be built around the Exalted setting (no laser vision on your Solar).

            (Superman has 293PP and is PL15. I'm suggesting starting Solars at PL12/14 180PP... that's not remotely the same level. You'd have to play every week for two years to get to slightly below Superman's level.)

            The Martial Artist is PL10.

            I'd be interested in seeing some character sheets and/or reading some play sessions. I had a lot of trouble converting my starting DB to a PL10/12 character (who was broadly as capable), I'm not convinced I could faithfully reproduce my draft Solars at that level.

            (A PL1MM character is capped at DC11 to resist her "sway a crowd" power. I mean sure, you can build that with the 15PP you get at character creation, but your Abilities are going to be pretty much straight 0s compared to the Exalt who can not only sway a crowd but is also well above human average in basically every area.)

            I take your point about apparent power level. I'm not sure how that comes across in a world where Solars are on par with First Circle Demons and treat Second Circle Demons as a boss for the entire Circle. But KymmetheSeventh's breakdown is pretty good.

            [Edit]

            Cynis Ganan as a PL12 150+10 build

            Cynis Ganan - Righteous Warrior
            Motivation: Recognition
            Complication: Prejudice (Male Dynast)
            Origin: Earth Aspect Dragon-Blooded
            Age: 63

            Strength 7
            Stamina 0
            Agility 5
            Dexterity 5
            Fighting 4
            Intellect 7
            Awareness 0
            Presence 0

            Dodge 14
            Parry 14
            Fortitude 12
            Toughness 10 (Impervious 7)

            Acrobatics 4 (+8)
            Athletics 4 (+8)
            Expertise: Magic 2 (+9)
            Expertise: Architecture 2 (+9)

            Very Attractive 2
            Fearless 1
            Ritualist 1
            Improved Initiative 3
            Well Bred

            (Dynastic Freebie) Languages 2 (Old Realm, Riverspeak)
            (Dynastic Freebie) Wealth 2
            (Dynastic Freebie) "Diplomatic Immunity"
            (Dynastic Freebie) Equipment 5 (HQ)

            Array - Earth Dragon Style (19+1)

            Fist of Titans
            -Damage +3 (+10)
            -Accurate 5 (+14)
            -Effects Insubstantial 2
            -Reach 1
            -Linked 0
            -Affliction 10 (Dazed, Prone)
            -Limited Degree -5
            -Effects Insubstantial 2
            -Reach 1

            Unarmed
            -Close Attack 13 (+17)
            -Damage +0 (+7)
            -Fast Grab
            -Improved Grab
            -Chokehold
            -Power Attack
            -Accurate Attack

            Javelin
            -To Hit +5 (Ranged)
            -Damage +8 (19-20)
            Last edited by JohnDoe244; 04-05-2020, 01:03 PM.


            Hi, I'm JohnDoe244. My posts represent my opinions, not facts.

            Comment


            • #7
              Here's a conversion I did for one of my less mechanically-savvy players, and here's another that my most experienced player gave me.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Grod_the_giant View Post
                Here's a conversion https://www.dropbox.com/s/50vetmc56yfvjhf/Golden%20Hand.xlsx?dl=0"]I did[/URL] for one of my less mechanically-savvy players, and here's another that my most experienced player https://www.dropbox.com/s/ythbq6aty6ok7i8/Breath%20of%20Two%20Lives.xlsx?dl=0"]gave me[/URL].
                These look really good. Do you have the Exalted sheets to compare with?


                Hi, I'm JohnDoe244. My posts represent my opinions, not facts.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
                  These look really good. Do you have the Exalted sheets to compare with?
                  Thanks! I've got most of Golden Hand's.


                  Eclipse caste, Presence supernal

                  Attributes
                  • Str -1
                  • Dex 5
                  • Sta 3
                  • Cha 5
                  • Manip 3
                  • Appear 2
                  • Percep 3
                  • Int 4
                  • Wits 3
                  Abilities
                  • Awareness 4
                  • Brawl 1
                  • Bureaucracy 1
                  • Integrity 5
                  • Larceny 2
                  • Lore (Religion) 2
                  • Martial Arts (Silver-Voiced Nightengale Style) 5
                  • Medicine 5
                  • Occult 5
                  • Performance (Oratory) 5
                  • Presence 5
                  • Resistance 1
                  • Socialize 5
                  Merits
                  • Martial Arts 4 dots
                  • Followers 2 dots
                  • Natural Immunity 3 dots
                  Charms
                  • Battle Dancer Method
                  • Blazing Glorious Icon
                  • Empowering Shout
                  • Graceful Reed Dancing
                  • Haunting Heart-Rending Melody
                  • Impassioned Discourse Technique
                  • Inspiring Battle Hymn
                  • Instant Treatment Methodology
                  • Listener-Swaying Agument
                  • Majestic Radiant Presence
                  • Masterful Performance Exercise
                  • Mind-Wiping Gaze
                  • Respect-Commanding Attitude
                  • Silver-Voiced Nightengale Form
                  • Terrifying Battle Shriek
                  • Underling-Promoting Touch
                  • Voice of the Night Bird
                  • Wound-Cleansing Meditation
                  • Wound-Mending Care Technique

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by JohnDoe244 View Post
                    Solars start and finish at the level where they are great heroes who can shape the world. They don't grow to Omnipotent Ruler of the Multiverse level.
                    Well, that's very 3ed-centric. In previous incarnations of Exalted, they would potentially reach this kind od power level.

                    Of course, it's natural that the discussions on the official forum are 3ed-centric, but when discussing conversions to different systems, we should look at the wider scope of what Exalted is, used to be and could be. What you described isn't fundamental to Exalted as such.

                    I was personally considering switching to MM precisely because of how Exalted 3e handles power level. There is nothing wrong with this design, but it is opinionated and it is based on very strong vision of what Exalted should be, not what it actual incarnations looked like.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Lanic View Post

                      Well, that's very 3ed-centric. In previous incarnations of Exalted, they would potentially reach this kind od power level.

                      Of course, it's natural that the discussions on the official forum are 3ed-centric, but when discussing conversions to different systems, we should look at the wider scope of what Exalted is, used to be and could be. What you described isn't fundamental to Exalted as such.

                      I was personally considering switching to MM precisely because of how Exalted 3e handles power level. There is nothing wrong with this design, but it is opinionated and it is based on very strong vision of what Exalted should be, not what it actual incarnations looked like.
                      I take your point. I disagree but I take your point.

                      In theory, in 2E, you could grow to some kind of Omni-King.

                      You couldn't when Exalted was released. You can't now. And even when you could in 2E, the system and setting didn't really support you doing so.

                      Mutants and Masterminds does support this. So allow me to be helpful:

                      I recommended that you start and finish Solars at PL14 (or 12 for a low power game). Superman is PL15. I suggested a house-rule that Solars should gain PP but not PL.

                      If you want to let Solars grow to the king of the multi-verse then no conversion is required: just follow the Mutants and Masterminds Rules As Written and allow your Solars to gain +1 PL for every +15 Power Points they earn until they reach PL20 (at PL20, getting hit with a nuke has a 95% chance of being shrugged off, and a 5% chance to leave you slightly dazed, if anyone was wondering how powerful that is; and you get free, permanent, perfect soak against cruise missiles and anything smaller). If you want to capture the high-end of Solars, I really think PL14 lines up well with a starting Second Ed character. But if you disagree, I'm happy to hear your thoughts.
                      Last edited by JohnDoe244; 04-18-2020, 09:19 AM.


                      Hi, I'm JohnDoe244. My posts represent my opinions, not facts.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Grod_the_giant I don't want to diverge too much form the initial topic, but I need to say I feel you. I stopped my first campaign at the beginning of Essence 3. It happened to be a good moment for a very good ending, but it also happened because I realized it was getting more and more complicated to handle players and NPC at this lover of power. I hope Essence might help in this regard.

                        I don't know exactly what makes Exalted so complicated to handle a higher level of power, but it is indeed frustrating at some points


                        My homebrew (Leave comments if you want to help improve) : A quick recap of all the pools and stats for Quick Exalted 3E characters

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Chausse View Post
                          I don't know exactly what makes Exalted so complicated to handle a higher level of power, but it is indeed frustrating at some points
                          Honestly, I think it ultimately boils down to the 3e combat engine not handling large numbers well. Tying initiative to health to offensive ability is a really cool idea, but in practice it means that being outnumbered is a massive disadvantage. If you want to use just one or two baddies, they have to be massively more powerful than the players, which-- given the power of Solars both in practice and in fiction-- is tough to justify. But at the same time, there are so many things you need to keep track of for each character (initiative, health levels, motes, willpower, wound penalties, overwhelm penalties, range bands...) that it's hard to manage more than a handful of NPCs, even if they have no special abilities at all.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Grod_the_giant View Post
                            Honestly, I think it ultimately boils down to the 3e combat engine not handling large numbers well. Tying initiative to health to offensive ability is a really cool idea, but in practice it means that being outnumbered is a massive disadvantage. If you want to use just one or two baddies, they have to be massively more powerful than the players, which-- given the power of Solars both in practice and in fiction-- is tough to justify. But at the same time, there are so many things you need to keep track of for each character (initiative, health levels, motes, willpower, wound penalties, overwhelm penalties, range bands...) that it's hard to manage more than a handful of NPCs, even if they have no special abilities at all.
                            This is basically the crux of it. Even two DB's who can spam excellencies can be deadly to deal with.

                            There are ways to help with this but it doesn't really ever go away.


                            Read my shit at my homebrew topic, 2.5e and 3e material!
                            Play Alchemical's in 3e now, you're welcome.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Grod_the_giant View Post
                              I am, for perhaps the first time in my GMing career, admitting defeat. Exalted 3e has broken me. Running a weekly game for a full-sized party was too much, and as the Charms added up my players were also starting to get overwhelmed. So we're making the switch to a high-power system that I do know how to work, Mutants and Masterminds. I've got a good handle on how I'm going to deal with anima (Complications), Caste powers, stuff like that-- but I'd appreciate some help from more experienced Exalts nailing down power levels for various sorts of enemies.
                              Grod;
                              Thank you for posting this, up till a few days ago my two players and I have been beating ourselves up with similar thoughts. We've been diligent about learning the system, figuring out ways to keep track of all the moving parts and have come to the same conclusion. We're all 30+ year veterans of the hobby, we are by no stretch strangers to crunch heavy systems. But the combat is so convoluted that we've gotten in a habit of avoiding it outright, and worse yet for us was any attempt to allow for guest play from some of our former group members who's lives got too busy for a regular seat at the table, always met with total failure. So while I respect that everyone has system preferences, my group (and me in particular) have come to the following conclusion:
                              • Its better than 2E.
                              • We love the setting and it's concepts
                              • We love the Social Influence and other assorted systems under the Conflict chapters.
                              • We love that there are Martial Art styles that are based off of social stats
                              • We love the Sorcery/Evocation systems
                              • We like (not love) the Battle Group concept.
                              • We loathe the combat system.
                              • The combat system is so bad, it "breaks" the game (for us).
                              So like you, I've been tinkering with the notion of using MM mechanics to render the setting, but one of my players hates how MM does arrays and has fallen to Grumpy Old Man syndrome whenever MM is brought up. FWIW my initial draft of Power Levels was somewhat similar to yours, and having debated the topic with other people who are familiar with both systems l came to the conclusion that the same thing happens when people start debating the PLs of their favorite Supers. I'm sure you've seen plenty of instances where there's always a bit (or lot) of disagreement as to where any given comic character lands on the scale. The reason is a simple one, its because they're taking a work of fiction that often has a variety of authors over the character's print life, mixed with personal bias about the character, and stating it out into the language of a game.

                              My position has always been that the comic books don't stat out the characters, they don't concern themselves with any of the obstacles a RPG system has to deal with, all they have to do is tell a story within a loose framework of character limitations which writers are frequently guilty of stretching. So my MM games have always held that the character idea is a servant to the game system, not the other way around. I don't care that Superman once pushed a moon out of it's orbit in the book, that's not something he can do in any of my games. So while my PLs may not meet the preferences of others, they are consistent and I run the NPCs/PCs fairly within those parameters.

                              So my advice would be, create a scale that works for rendering your Exalted setting, with the Death Lords as First Age Solars being the top of the pyramid and then work your way down. In my group, when we were initially discussing this, this was our rough outline of PLs we were kicked around:
                              • Death Lords = PL 15
                              • Chejop-Kejek = PL 13
                              • Old Lunar such as Maha Suchi = PL 12
                              • Scarlet Empress = PL 10
                              • Starting Solar/Lunar/etc = PL 8
                              • Starting Dragon-Blooded = PL 5
                              This is by no means what many would consider a "correct" allotment, but we weren't concerned with keeping all of the presumptions of Exalted in place. A Dragonblooded may start at PL 5, but by developing their essence they could reach PL 8 and with extraordinary effort/circumstance (i.e. plot hooks) even challenge what EX's RAW say isn't possible. Solar had a higher ceiling of PL they would need to strive for if they wanted to go against a Death Lord and other Big Bads while still maintaining the need for having a party composition. Also while PL puts the cap on their abilities, often it is the width that is worth consideration as well. There's a huge difference between a PL 10 character with 100 PPs and one with 150.

                              However I can't offer you anything more useful than what little I have, as we've decided not to use MM to revive our Exalted game with. Instead we've turned to Godbound as it has a number of extras that we feel are very useful for a Exalted setting. We're challenged currently on how to create a similar subsystem for doing Social Influence, as it is something my entire group is in love with and wish to bring to other systems. But there is already a fair bit of community created conversions and material that you might be interested in looking at.


                              Reality is a matter of perception, challenging one's own or that of others is not a crime, it is a service.

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