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House rules for simplification

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  • House rules for simplification

    Hi all,

    Many of the players in my group aren't the "read an entire rulebook" type. I'd love to run Exalted but it's fairly complicated. Does anyone have house rules I can incorporate to simplify things?

  • #2
    May be worth mentioning Exalted Essence, an official book that streamlines the rules to the point all 10 current Exalt types are playable with Essence alone. It's slated to be one of the next couple of Kickstarters (so by mid-June at latest), and the complete text will be released over the course of the Kickstarter.

    Scion 2E: What We Know - A wiki compiling info on second edition Scion.


    • #3
      Originally posted by IamTheOneTrueGinger View Post
      Hi all,

      Many of the players in my group aren't the "read an entire rulebook" type. I'd love to run Exalted but it's fairly complicated. Does anyone have house rules I can incorporate to simplify things?
      Basic principles are things like using charm cards, or simplifying charms down a lot.

      One I've used is enemies have a static attack and PCs roll their DV.

      If in doubt, throw a rule out.


      • #4
        I've got some good houserules for making YOUR life easier ( I've also found it useful to start out as pure mortals, to get everyone used to the base rules before they have to worry about Charms and the like. But... I'm going to be honest. Exalted 3e is a baroquely complicated mess of situational modifiers and subsystems and massive piles of character options, and the older editions are worse. I certainly find it delightful, but I'm also the one of gamer nerd who builds entire systems for fun. If your players aren't going to enjoy the complexity--not just tolerate it, but actively get invested in the mechanical side of things--you should not play Exalted.

        Or, well, you should not play the Exalted SYSTEM. There are plenty of options out there that can portray Creation in a vastly simpler way. I hear Godbound mentioned a lot, and Fate is always a solid option (if rarely the best); I actually have experience using Mutants and Masterminds rules for Exalted campaigns, and it works... well, M&M was not written for parties trying to change the world, so you'll need a lot of player buy-in, but it does epic cinematic action like nothing else. If nothing else, you can probably find something a bit closer to what your group is used to.

        (And speaking of writing systems for fun, I developed a lovely rules-light system called STaRS ( for which I just so happen to have written up variant rules explicitly to simulate Exalted (, so... #shamelessselfpromotion.)
        Last edited by Grod_the_giant; 04-05-2021, 02:26 PM.


        • #5
          Don’t bother tracking an enemy’s willpower, or motes if they have motes, unless they’re an exalt or a second circle demon or something. Almost no spirit has enough charm use to drain their more pool in less than six rounds of fighting or social influence.

          Just skip rolls that should be trivial to the players, or simplify them into hazards. Like this combat will take an hour to roll out, but it’s a foregone conclusion that you’ll win, roll dexterity + combat ability at difficulty 1, if you fail you take one die of lethal but win anyway.

          Not technically a house rule, but don’t bother thinking up any bonuses for annihilating a roll. If somebody rolls 18 successes on a difficulty 2 roll to pick a lock, they just pick the lock, they don’t magically spring open every single lock in the fortress.

          Diversify your challenges a LOT. Look through the systems chapter of the book, combat is big and complex, social influence is big and complex, but everything else is usually pretty straightforward. Medicine, tests of speed, environmental hazards, traps, poison, disease, crime, investigation, tracking, research, all that stuff. Something like avoiding a dart trap is just roll your dex + dodge - mobility penalty pool, if you fail take some damage. Use it heavily, it runs a lot faster and the charm trees are chocked full of charms based on them.

          Precalculate values like your withering and decisive attack, Read Intentions pool, stuff like that, if you’re a PC. If you’re the ST just stick to the quick character values for stuff and go for it.

          Try starting off as mortals. Mortals in Exalted can be amazingly awesome, don’t be fooled. A mortal thief can pick the lock on an ancient fortress built during the age of wonders and dreams, using only a bent nail as a pick. Mortals can easily beat giant demon apes who move faster than the eye can see and who’s screams shatter bones. So they’re pretty amazing, and if you start as them you’ll get used to the rules a lot more slowly without things like charm picks or motes to track.

          Don’t worry about getting things wrong, just pick what feels right and move forward and if t doesn’t work or you find out later you were wrong you can just do it different next time.

          Start off small at first, even if you’re using mortals don’t worry about things like environmental penalties or doing social stuff and combat stuff and environmental exploration and criminal investigation all in one session. Just do a mortal session where your group is exploring some ruin, and the only challenges are things like needing to navigate through a maze in the dark (a simple extended perception+survival roll), or use perception + awareness to spot a trap, the dexterity larceny to disarm it, or dexterity dodge to avoid it. Maybe there’s a room that needs to be progressed through that’s blisteringly hot, stamina resistance to avoid the damage, etc. Really super simple rules and rolls, and you can do that for a whole session or even two before you look at the more complex stuff.