Forgotten Suns: House Rules
From DivNull RPG
By official rule, “characters who wish to master multiple crafts must take this ability multiple times.” In our campaign, this rule is replaced with the following: Craft uses specializations to represent the various crafts a character knows. Any craft roll within a specialty that a character has is rolled normally including the bonus from the specialty; however, craft rolls in an area in which the character does not specialize have three dice subtracted and their difficulty increased by one. Characters who learn Craft gain one specialty for free. In addition, Craft ignores the usual limitation on three specialities per ability, allowing as many specialities as desired, though no one speciality may be chosen more than three times. In addition, Craft specialties start at +0 instead of +1. This is spelled out in a bit more detail here.
The specialties follow the lead of Second Edition, but others that are more or less specific may also be used. The primary specialties are:
- Mortal arts (anything a mortal can make fits into one of these)
- Air: calligraphy, jewelry-making, creating precision instruments, glassblowing and composing music (making small, decorative or high-precision items)
- Earth: masonry, sculpture, stone cutting, creating earthworks (creating buildings and large objects with stone or earth)
- Fire: blacksmithing, making ceramics (forging and casting large metal objects and creating objects using fire)
- Wood: carpentry, weaving, paper-making, flower arranging (carving, weaving and manipulating natural materials)
- Water: cooking, painting, brewing, leather working, pharmacy and poison-making (boiling and cooking plants, chemicals and animal materials)
- Esoteric arts
- Fate (Sidereals, pg. 104)
- Glamour (Fair Folk, pg. 104)
- Ghostly arts (Abyssals, pg. 232-234)
Some endeavors require more knowledge that is represented by the Ability system, particularly tasks like making and repairing First Age magical items, designing manses, and so on. In this campaign, certain tasks are not possible without knowing the science behind it.
When in animal form, a lunar’s own Brawl and Martial Arts abilities are supplanted by the Brawl skill of the animal form when making natural attacks. This reflects the fact that much of the training represented by human Brawl and Martial Arts skill assumes human limbs and hands. Lunars may buy specializations to Brawl skill that will add to fighting when in a specific animal form.
When wearing moonsilver armor to which they are attuned, a lunar may choose to banish the the armor Elsewhere when shapeshifting into any form. Such armor is still attuned and any hearthstones mounted in it continue to provide their effects. Lunars can only “summon” this armor by making another shapechange. This costs the same and takes just as long as normal. A lunar, for example, could change any form (including normal human form) into their normal human form with armor for the standard 1 mote, reflexive shapechange. Changing from any form into an armored animal form costs a simple action and the normal 3 motes, etc.
This lunar background has been substantially reworked.
If a hearthstone is mounted into an artifact to which you are attuned, you gain the benefits of the hearthstone (both essence respiration and other abilities) through the attunment, regardless of where the artifact is. Skin contact is not required. This functions even if the artifact is Elsewhere, but not across other dimensional boundaries. So, if you were in Creation, but an artifact with your hearthstone was in Yu Shan, no benefit would be derived from the stone. Effects of specific realms on hearthstones continue to apply in the way most detrimental. For example, if you are in the Underworld, but an artifact with your hearthstone is Elsewhere (or vice versa), the penalty preventing essence respiration in the Underworld still holds.
Since the characters were built with standard rules, we continue to use standard combat rules, with a few exceptions.
Aborting to Cascading Parry
Characters may abort their action to parry the same way they can abort to dodge, with a -1 cumulative penalty for each parry. The main difference is that the initial penalty starts at -2 instead of zero. Aborting to parry uses Dexterity and either Melee, Martial Arts or Brawl, gaining the defense rating of the weapon.
Clinches & Holds
Clinches and holds are resolved using the new Power Combat mechanics. These just make more sense and are easier to apply.
We tend not to have “race towards zero” problems, but the following rules are used to delay action. If you do not want to act on your standard initiative tick, you may do one of two things. You may conditionally delay your action, specifying a condition that will trigger your action. For example, you might delay and say “if someone tries to attack my friend, I will attack them.” If the condition is triggered, you may act before the condition takes effect. The delay generates no penalty for your action. To continue the example, when an enemy declares an attack on the friend you are protecting, you may act first, effectively interrupting the attack. Once your action is completed, if declared actions of others were interrupted, they may change their minds and redclare their action.
You may also unconditionally delay your action. This allows you to act at a later time in the round without penality; however, it does not allow you to interrupt the actions of others. You can act before someone declares an action, but once they have done so, you cannot use your action until they are done.
If you chose to conditionally delay and wish to react to something that doesn’t involve the condition, you can abandon the conditional delay and follow the rules for an unconditional delay.
In either of these cases, you may split your pool when you announce that you are delaying. Usually you would do this to declare defenses that can be used while you wait. Such defenses may be used without defaulting your action.
Martial Arts Styles
A clarification: martial arts styles can be divided into four groups:
- Styles that allow use of armor at all times
- Styles that allow specific (usually light) armor at all times
- Styles that prohibit use of armor with their form (and maybe one or two other) charms, but allow it with other charms of the style
- Styles that prohibit use of armor with all charms in the style
It is often forgotten that most styles are actually the third type. Five-Dragon and Immaculate styles are the first type, except Fire-Dragon, which is the third.
Mixing Martial Arts Styles
The rules on how weapons and armor work when mixing more than one style of Martial Arts are slightly confusing. This campaign interprets these rules enforcing a “low watermark” concept, where the greatest restriction applies. In particular: bonuses to attacks or parries granted by charms can only enhance attacks or parries made with form weapons, or barehanded. If you attempt otherwise, any such charm effects terminate before the attack is resolved.
The practical upshot of this is that, unless two styles share the same signature weapon(s), fighters wanting to use charms for attack or parry from both styles at once must fight bare-handed. Note that it is possible to use charms that neither attack nor parry from other styles while using incompatible weapons. For example, Distracting Finger Gesture does not enhance a weapon attack or parry, so could be used while holding a goremaul or other weapon incompatible with Ebon Shadow Style.
Celestial Practice of Immaculate Styles
The errata to the Dragon Blooded makes several changes regarding the Immaculate Martial Arts styles, most of which became official in the Player’s Guide. Some, however, did not, making it a bit ambiguous. Regardless of the intent, this campaign works as follows:
- Celestials do not need to make rolls when activating Immaculate forms.
- Celestials do not need to dedicate themselves to an Immaculate path, so may learn other Celestial Martial Arts before, during and after mastering an Immaculate style.
- Celestials transcend the need for “elemental harmony”, so gain signature weapon benefits and do not pay a 1 mote penalty for each charm.
Mixing Shaping and Normal Combat
The rules governing how shaping combat mixes with normal combat are a bit confusing. The following is how these rules are interpreted in this campaign:
A raksha gets a single shaping action per scene. This action may be backed with a shaping charm. The raksha may take this action reflexively at any time during the scene; however, if multple raksha are involved, a standard shaping initative roll is made and those with higher initiative may preempt the action of slower characters with their own.
This can be a typical shaping attack, in which case it is resolved as such, with effects based on how the given shaping attacks affect creatures of Creation. Most shaping attacks can only be targeted at a single target at a time, but there are exceptions.
The raksha may also use his shaping action to form a more generic narrative shaping, defining the parameters of a scene. Narrative shapping is assumed to affect any targets involved in the scene that tha raksha wishes to include in the narrative. This works as per the “Effects of Reality Shaping” on pg. 134, where targets from Creation can either accept the reality, gaining one die Wyld bonus, or can spend a Willpower to reject it, suffering an environmental penalty equal to the raksha’s Essence. Other raksha are assumed to be aware of the narration, but are not beholden to it in any way.
Charms such as Integrity-Protecting Prana compeletely stop shaping attacks. They also allow those protected to reject a narrative shaping without spending Willpower; however, even protected characters suffer the environmental penalty, though it is cut in half (round up).
In an effort to encourage more stunting, we will be using the stunt rewards from Second Edition. These essentially double the mote reward for stunts.
The Air Dragon signature weapon effect is a bit unbalanced compared to the other effects. This campaign replaces it with the effect from Second Edition: An Air Dragon Immaculate may hurl two chakram as a single attack, using one attack and defense roll, but they do damage independently. To use a charm for such an attack, an additional mote must be spent.
Because we allow anyone to abort to a cascading parry, the Mantis Form is no longer as useful. It now adds Essence to any parry attempts, but must have a base Martial Arts pool available to use this bonus.
Shattering Grasp claims that it “doubles damage successes” when augmenting an attack on an object; however, rules for attacking objects state that you don’t actually roll damage against objects. Whatever the intent behind this is, in this campaign, this charm doubles the raw damage of such an attack.
Power Combat Changes
Our campaign, having gone on fairly long using the original combat rules, elects not to use the new power combat rules from the Player’s Guide; however, these rules contain a some changes/clarifications to charms that make sense for either rules system. Note that some of them are significant changes. The following are considered official in our campaign:
Immaculate Golden Bow: Accuracy and rate equal to Essence. Range 300 yards.
Trance of Unhesitating Speed: Costs a flat 3 motes per attack. No more extra attacks than Essence.
Feather Foot Style: Cost now 5 motes. Duration one scene. In addition to effects listed in book, also doubles running and sprinting rate (though this does not stack with other speed enhancemnets).
Monkey Leap Technique: Distance measured in yards, not feet.
Spider-Foot Style: Cost now 3 motes, duration one scene.
Flowing Body Evasion: Type now reflexive. Also, no roll is needed for this charm (for 6m and 1wp, you can avoid the annoyance of a minute chance of failure).
Absence: Type now reflexive. Defensive supplemental make no sense.
Armored Scout’s Invigoration: Cost now 3 motes per point of mobility and fatigue negated, a max number of times equal to Endurance. Each 3 motes negates a point of each.
Essence-Gathering Temper: Each success on the roll gains a number of motes equal to Essence, though no more successes provide benefit that the character has points of Stamina.
Front-Line Warrior’s Stamina: Cost now 5 motes + 1 Willpower. Cancels all fatigue and mobility until the armor is removed.
Tiger Warrior’s Endurance: Cost now 6 motes + 1 Willpower + 1 lethal health level. While in effect, character regains Essence as if meditating (8 motes/hour) and cannot suffer fatigue checks or penalties. Character does not and cannot sleep. Duration is Essence + Endurance in hours. Health level remains “comitted” while the charm is active.
Armor-Penetrating Fang Strike: Cost now 4 motes + 1 Willpower.
Essence Venom Strike: Cost now 7 motes + 1 Willpower.
Striking Serpent Speed: Cost now 6 motes only.
Walking in the Footsteps of Ten Thousand Things: Drop the 2 xp from the cost of this charm. The rest works the same, except that the charm awards additional die instead of additional successes.
Dipping Swallow Defense: Text is changed such that it adds its dice to a parry, providing a pool if none exists, rather than allow the character to use is normal pool. This is a subtle difference, but it means that these dice count as “dice from charms” rather than the characters normal pool. This allows the charm to stack with charms that just allow a roll when there normally wouldn’t be one (such as Bulwark Stance and Five-Fold Bulwark Stance), allowing Dipping Swallow Defense to stack with those charms. (This is not part of the Player’s Guide changes, but otherwise this charm is just a speedbump).
Fire and Stones Stike: Each mote make a damage die an automatic success. (From erratta).
One Weapon, Two Blows: Cost now 2 motes.
Peony Blossom Attack: Costs a flat 3 motes per attack. No more extra attacks than Essence + 1.
Majestic Radience Presence: The Willpower roll to oppose or attack character made every time attempting to disobey or harm character, but no more than once per turn.
Terrifying Apparition of Glory: The Valor and Confiction rolls to oppose or harm character made every time attempting to disobey or harm character, but no more than once per turn.
Durability of Oak Meditation: Cost now 1 mote per 2B added to bashing soak. A roll is no longer needed. May be used with existing armor.
Iron Skin Concentration: Big change: now reflexive and of instant duration, costing 3 motes only. It reduces the damage dice of any attack you are aware of to the attackers Essence.
Spirit Strengthens the Skin: Big change: now reflexive and lasts one scene. For 2 motes and 1 willpower, you may soak lethal damage with your bashing soak until the end of the scene. Incompatible with armor. (Note that this is somewhat similar to what Iron Skin Concentration used to do, but is slightly cheaper with a higher resistance requirement).
Unfailing Toroise Technique: Cost now 2 motes. Character’s natural lethal soak becomes Stamina + Resistance to defend against a single, even unanticipated, attack. Charm is compatible with armor.
Iron Kettle Body: Cost is now 3 motes. Character gains +8B/+9L soak to a single attack. In addition, if the number of damage dice rolled for the attack starts at eight or less, the attack does no damage at all.
Fiery Solar Chakram: Cost now 4 motes. Accuracy bonus equal to Essence.
The following charms are legal in this campaign and may be learned like any others:
Lunars have an innate connection to the Wyld and a lot of practice shaping themselves with their will, both of which make them natural sorcerers, particularly no-moons. To reflect this, experience costs for lunars to learn new spells are reduced to 7xp for no-moons and 9xp for other castes.
Costs for learning necromancy remain unchanged.
On learning the charm for a new circle of sorcery, you can learn a spell of that circle for free as part of your training.
Combo Training Time
As written, the rules do not set a fixed training time for combos. In this campaign, the base time for learning a combo is equal to the sum of the minimum Ability or Attribute requirements of all charms in the combo, times the sum of the minimum Essence requirements of all charms in the combo, in hours.
This time is further modified by multiplying it by a factor of x. The value of x is calculated as followed:
- x starts at the value of the highest minimum Essence rating found in the combo.
- Add 1 to x if your Occult score is 1 or lower.
- If you lack a trainer, add 1 to x for each charm in the combo from an unfavored Ability or Attribute.
This total is then divided by a factor of y. The value of y is calculated as followed:
- y starts at 1
- Add 3 to y if you have a trainer.
- Add 1 to y if your Occult score is 4 or higher.
- Add 1 to y if your Lore score is 5 or higher.
- For each dot you possess in charmcraft, add 1 to y.
Modifying Existing Combos
Using canon rules, combos cannot be modified. If you want to add a charm into a combo, you must learn a whole new combo. Unfortunately, this has the effect of preventing people from developing combos. In our game, we allow this rule to stand, but provide steep discounts in xp cost and training time for learning the new combo.
Suppose you have a combo with two charms in it and you want to add a two more charms into it. Determine the training time (T2) and xp cost (X2) spent learning the two charm combo. Then determine the xp cost (X4) and training time (T4) that would be required to learn the four charm combo from scratch. To learn the four charm combo, you pay X4-X2 xp and you must train for T4-T2. At the end of this, you know both the original two charm combo and the new four charm combo.
If you want to learn a subset of a combo you already know, you must learn a brand new combo; however, as with adding charms, you do so at a much reduced cost. Removing charms is much easier, so to learn such a combo, you pay a number of xp equal to the minimum Essence of each charm removed. You must train for a number of hours equal to the minimum attribute/ability of each charm removed. Note that, since reflexive charms in combos do not require activation when the combo is used, learning a subset combo should really only be needed to remove non-reflexive charms.
Attribute Training Time
Being masters of their own form, Lunars cut the training time to raise an attribute in half.
In addition to things in the rules that require trainers to learn, characters must have tutors to learn the following:
- Your very first martial arts charm of any kind
- Any martial arts form charm
- The pinnacle charm for a martial arts tree
- Any Immaculate martial arts charm
Exalted can both learn and teach at the same time. Thus, two exalted could be teaching each other different charms simultaneously. This is slightly non-sensical, but makes the game flow a little more smoothly (particularly since training times are long enough already).
Lunar Martial Arts
Lunar characters may learn martial arts charms from a style based on their totem animal for eight experience points each. The lunar may do this with one and only one style, selected by the lunar.
Sidereal Martial Arts
The Sidereals book implies that any celestial, including lunars, can learn sidereal level martial arts (in addition to sidereals, of course). The Players Guide restricts this to only solars and abyssals. In this game, Lunars can learn sidereal martial arts at a cost of 18 xp per charm (16 if MA is favored).
Note that all sidereal MA charms require a tutor, and finding one is the most difficult part of learning these styles. Sidereal sifu tend not to give up these secrets lightly, if at all. In this game, to qualify as a tutor to non-sidereal exalted, the teacher must be a master (i.e. know all of the charms) of the tree he or she is teaching.
Fair Folk Charms
As mentioned in the Fair Folk book, Lunars (along with Eclipse and Moonshadow caste) can learn Fair Folk charms, provided a Fair Folk has forged an appropriate grace for them. In a departure from the standard rules, however, Lunars pay only 17xp to learn these charms (not double cost).
Non-Fair Folk may improve the rating of any grace forged for them, even if they do not own it. All graces held by non-Fair Folk are considered to be minor graces.
Clothing of any kind may be used with charms that do not allow armor, even if the clothing provides soak bonuses. Charms that don’t allow armor (such as martial arts forms) conceptualize this restriction with the idea that the bulk of armor restrains movement needed for the charm, which is not a factor in clothing (else the charm could only be used naked). Examples of clothing with soak bonuses would be Demon Embracing Robes or the gossamer garments of Fair Folk. Note that such clothing is bypassed by charms that explicitly penetrate or avoid armor (e.g. Armor Penetrating Fang Strike). To balance out this change, such clothing provides no soak against aggravated damage.
Officially, a character may not have “two of the same destiny on herself” (side.218). In this campaign, this is purposely misinterpreted to mean that the sidereal cannot have two of the exact same identities at the same time; however, a sidereal may have multiple destinies from the same college on themselves, provides they are distinct identities. The practical result of this is that sidereals use effect dice from one destiny for special effects while reserving those of a maintained identity in the same college. Since the number of astrological effects on a single person is already limited by their Essence, this does not seem particularly unbalancing.