Abilities are skills that have been honed, trained, and developed through education and experience. Abilities may range from Zero (0) to Five (5).
There are two types of abilities: Natural, and Supernatural. Natural Abilities are those that any mortal (and thus Exalt) has the capacity to learn, improve, and perform upon. Characters may always roll with a Natural Ability.
Supernatural Abilities are those that only may be accessed by dealing with the supernatural aspects of the world. Sorcery, Shapeshifting, and control of Fire are all examples.
Characters must be somehow inducted into a Supernatural Ability to purchase dots in the ability, or roll with it. Often, access will be granted by Exaltation, though there are other means of being inducted.
Abilities are broad fields of human accomplishment and skill. For an Exalt, the variance in competence across these subsets of the Ability is generally so small it does not affect the dice roll.
However, there are a small number of smaller skills that the Exalt excels at. These are called Specialties.
In addition to further developing a character’s role and backstory, Specialties allow a character greater range when Pushing the Roll. Instead of granting up to +2 Successes/+1 Defense on an unsuccessful roll, they may gain up to +4 Successes/+2 Defense.
Mastery of ranged weapons that propel projectiles. The bow and arrow is the dominant form, but other examples range from the mechanical crossbow, to slings, to even the exotic flamepiece that shoots streamers of fire.
Combat: Archery attacks are Ranged.
Exalted does not require the Player to keep track of their character’s ammunition. It is simply assumed that the character has crafted or procured enough ammunition to perform their actions.
However, Storytellers may introduce a lack of ammunition as a Complication into the story, granting the Player a Strife Point in exchange. Like all complications, the Player must accept the Strife Point for it to take effect.
Athletics is a measure of physical motion. It is useful for all ranges of activity, both prolonged marathons and quick sprints.
Athletics is used to calculate the Static Values Evasion and Endurance.
Awareness is a measure of alertness and impromptu understanding of events through any and all of the senses. Characters with high Awareness are in tune-consciously or subconsciously-of everything that happens around them.
Specialties in Awareness are location dependent, reflecting what sort of background the character grew up in. Those born out in the wilderness would find themselves overwhelmed by the large crowds in a city, for example.
Mastery of form that uses the body itself as a natural weapon. Punches, kicks, grapples, and leg sweeps are but a fraction of the endless ways generations have devised ways of harming each other.
Brawl is generally performed Unarmed, but weapons that strengthen or reinforce the natural body form—such as brass knuckles, tiger claws, or even spike-tipped boots—are still part of the Brawling Ability.
Combat: Brawl attacks are Close Range.
Craft is used to produce, analyze, and repair physical constructs and moving parts. A crafter knows how to take even raw discard material and turn it into a wondrous, complicated machine intended for a variety of mechanical purposes, from fending off attacks to plowing a field.
Integrity is a measure of how tightly a character can keep to their convictions, goals, and objectives. It is used to calculate the Static Value of Resolve.
Uniquely, Integrity does not have specialties. Rather, this is handled through the Intimacy system.
Leadership covers the skills necessary to manage, inspire, and otherwise command large groups of people to act as one unified whole.
Lore is both the breadth and depth of understanding in the world, ranging from geographic knowledge to religion and philosophy.
While Lore is the most broad application of knowledge, it is not exclusive. All Abilities can attempt an (Int+Ability) roll to know about their particular subject. Recognizing a famous swordsman, for example, could both be an (Int + Melee) and (Int + Lore) roll.
The Non-Omniscient Scholar
It is a fact that the Immaculate Order claims that Solars and Lunars are Anathema. It is a fact that many other societies claim. High lore will allow knowledge that these two facts exist, but not which one of them are right.
Storytellers should keep a character’s background (and specialty) in mind when revealing information to players--phrasing information through such natural biases.
Mastery of close range combat that uses a weapon as their primary method of felling their foe.
Over the millennia of human history, there have been countless styles and forms of weapons made. Specialties therefore are representative of how the weapon is used: A spear could be used as a Sword, Staff, or Spear, for example.
Combat: Melee attacks are Close Range.
Navigation is the ability to traverse terrains—from land, to sea, to jungle—and come out unscathed and on time. A trained Navigator will know their hand at reigns, the stern of a ship, how to survive in a city’s underworld, as well as be able to tell you which wild fruit is poisonous or edible.
Performance is the measure of not only how well a character is in the technical nature of singing, dancing, or other such artistic expression, but the ability to convey meaning and thoughts through those actions. A skilled performer not only knows how to entertain their crowd, but also knows how to incite that crowd into a frenzied riot should they desire.
Physique is the measure of fortitude and well-being, strength and hardiness: the ability to shrug off attacks, poisons, and any debilitation of the body. As well, it is used for tests of endurance, and for feats of strength. Physique is used to calculate Soak, as well as Endurance.
Politics is the maneuvering and manipulation of groups of ideological-similar people. M A character skilled in Politics will be able to manipulate peoples according to their will.
Specialties in Politics focus on either the type of politics at work (Bureaucracy, Small-town), or specific political parties. Generally speaking, the larger and more powerful a Political Party, the more necessary the specialization needs to be tailor-made for them.
Specific Political Party
Socialization is a way to relate and talk with people, making them feel heard and personally connected with them.
Characters with high Socialize will be able to congenially relate to people, softening their stance on things, and open them up for persuasion to the character’s side. As well, they can often get a target talking, making them speak more than they should have.
Stealth is the ability to avoid detection-through any sense. They know how to carry their body, which ways shadows cast, as well as creating disguises and blending into crowds.
Subterfuge is the art of trickery and manipulation. Its masters are adept at getting people to do what they want without them even realizing an outside influence is even there. Subterfuge is used to calculate Guile.
Sleight of Hand
Everyone can Lie
Subterfuge relies heavily on deception and lies, but the ability is not required for a character to lie.
The strength and
Any ability has the capacity to contain lies—whether it be Socialize or Archery, and should use the ability
Thrown focuses on Ranged Combat where the entire (or vast majority) of the weapon is hurled at the opponent, rather than projectiles.
Combat: Thrown attacks are Ranged.
Javelin (Spear, Atlatl, dart)
Bladed (knives, shuriken, kunai, dart, axes)
Simple (Sling, blowgun, boomerang)
Supernatural Abilities are those that are beyond the reach of even the most talented mortal. No amount of training or skill can induct a mortal into a Supernatural Ability-only by special circumstances will the domain of the Gods be opened to them-such as Exaltation. Even then, it is often a limited selection.
For example, those chosen to be a Dragon-Blooded are opened up to the Elemental Abilities of Fire, Water, Air, Earth, and Wood, but are restricted from the Lunar’s Shapeshifting Ability.
A minimum of Rating One is required to perform any Supernatural Ability, and it cannot be learned without a specific Merit or Exaltation.
Since Supernatural Abilities are so closely tied with an Exaltation, Gods, or Creature of Power, most will be detailed in their respective books.
Sorcery is the method of twisting, changing, and exploiting the rules of reality to the practitioner’s favor. The methods of doing so are arcane, often requiring long, drawn-out rituals to perform correctly.
Sorcery encompasses many thing, but focuses primarily on Environmental changes, summoning of demons, and control over the spirits of the world.
All Exalted, and even some mortals, have the potential to learn Sorcery, however they must first be inducted into the arts by a teacher or guide.
The provided Abilities are not considered comprehensive or exclusive list-simply a selection that is expected to be most useful in the Exalted setting. Creating abilities and charms custom to specific characters or settings is not only allowed, but it is encouraged!
There are a few guidelines that must be followed when creating a new ability:
An ability must be well-defined. If a couple of words do not communicate what the ability is about, and what it encompasses, then the theme needs to be refined some more.
It cannot be too broad. The provided abilities in the book should be the upper-limit on how broad of a theme an ability should be.
It cannot fully encompass another ability. There will often be overlap between abilities, which is allowed, but the custom ability should not simply be an ability and something else.
Custom Abilities do not have specialties.
When creating charms for a custom ability, using and altering existing charms is perfectly acceptable.
When making a new ability that has the same design space as an other ability, many of the charms will be exactly the same. A character may use such purchased charm in both abilities, (so long as they meet the minimum ability requirement.) They do not need to purchase the charm twice.
Investigation. A highly-tuned procedure for noticing, deducing, and piecing together aspects of a scene after the fact. Would pull largely from Awareness, Lore, and perhaps Integrity.
Drive. Useful for a modern setting. Involves the natural handling of high-speed craft, ranging from finding ways around a complicated city to performing daring maneuvers to shake off pursuers. Pulls heavily from Navigation.
Firearms. Useful for a modern setting. In standard Exalted setting, firearms are the exception, a rare bauble and interest to be found. But in a modern setting, this would supplant the Archery ability as the primary ranged ability. Many of the charms would be similar.