From waging a campaign to spreading a mercantile Guild to infiltrating and converting a spy network, to building a grand Manse, sometimes the Exalted want to do long-reaching, large-scale endeavors that are best handled through a broad-stroking brush.

Projects represent what happens during downtime to explain what characters are doing when the heat of action is not fully upon them. As such, performing Projects best happens during time skips or between stories—a perfect point to pause the action and reflect on what characters are not doing on-screen.

However, this is not required—any point of downtime or rest is a valid time to perform a Project. In this case, the time required is assumed to have been done over the course of many sleepless nights—or just hand-waved away.

A scene of Projects will often follow a montage structure—Choose a Player, let them describe what they are spending their points on, then ask for a couple of small images of what happens during the project, leading up to the inevitable Obstruction that will need to be dealt with.

Example Projects:

  • Arming Militia

  • Repairing a burned down village

  • Establishing a spy network

  • Repairing a manse

  • Establishing trade

  • Creating a manse

Resources

Projects require a certain number of Resources (RES) to complete. This resource is a generalized representation of everything from labor, physical materials, knowledge, and the like that can be applied to the Project. Once applied to the project, RES is permanently consumed—while the labor force may still be there, perhaps payment toward them ran dry, or they can no longer delay tending to their crops.

Much like XP, The Storyteller should periodically award RES to the players. However, unlike XP, RES should be more based on events within the campaign, such as recovering materials from a lost manse, gaining the workforce of a thankful village, etc.

1 Resource is roughly equivalent to:

  • A highly-successful Merchant route.

  • An entire village’s worth of manpower for a month.

  • A favor from a very powerful person.

Due to the generalized nature of Projects, the source of Resource does not always match the application of them. It is simply assumed that conversion of Resources to their applicable form is handled “off-screen”: recovered gems could grease the pockets of a noble, allowing for backroom deals that allow military training of civilians, for example. In general, this is all assumed to have happened, and does not need attention drawn to it.

Pooling Resources

Players may freely transfer and give RES to other characters, should they so choose, but only one character will gain the benefits of the Project.

Keystone Resource

Larger and more ambitious projects (Projects of Scale 4 and 5) will require a Keystone to complete—some piece of the Story that is needed to complete the project. This can range from needing a General to command an army to requiring a significant amount of magical materials, such as Orichalcum or Moonsilver.

Keystone Resources are things that Players must seek out. Typically, this is done by dropping out of the “montage” section of Projects, and embracing a full scene involving the Exalt seeking out, resolving, and interacting with their desired Keystone. This need not be longer than a small Scene, but it can be used as a major driving force for the Story.

Using Keystones as Story Generation

Keystones are an excellent way to gauge what Players care about, and what they feel is central to care about—you never need a Keystone for a minor change to the world or minor merit for the character.

Therefore, it’s not unreasonable to ask players early what sort of Keystone they are seeking, and then make it a plot of a Story, giving them the requested Keystone when certain criteria have been met—when they have recruited their General, changed the geomancy of an area, or introduced their assassin network into a new location.

However, Keystones aren’t required to be important parts of the Story. Just simply detailing out a small Scene to its acquisition is perfectly acceptable.

The Right Tool for the Job

When you start a project, you will need to detail which Primary Ability will be used in the Project. Any Project using the Natural Abilities should follow rules of common sense: If you are training troops to be archers, you should be using Archery or Command. If you are creating a Spy network, use Subterfuge.

Gaining/Improving Merits

Projects can be a way for characters to gain or improve Merits. For example, the character might decide to recruit Followers, establish a network of Contacts, or make an Artifact.

The level of the Merit Improved is equal to the Scale of the Project.

If a character is improving a Merit to a higher rating, they pay the difference in RES, Keystones, and time between the ratings. For example, improving Contacts from Rating 1 to Rating 2 would be one Resource.

Making Changes to the World

From raising walls to creating vast trade networks, Projects can be used to alter the world around the Exalt to their will (and benefit.)

The Magnitude of the change determines the base Resource and Keystone cost: as determined by the population and/or terrain size affected.

Projects

Scale Project Affects Population/Terrain

1

Village

2

Town

3

City

4

Prefecture

5

Province

Project Resistance

When making a change on the world, sometimes the world and its inhabitants pushes back. If you are attempting to muster a great army while in the middle of hostile territory, it certainly will take much greater care and effort to do so!

If the change is Unnatural, or Significantly opposed, increase the Scale by +1. This would encompass such oddities such as advanced technology that is self-maintained or changing a ragtag set of farmers with no military knowledge into an organized army within a month. Or trying to establish a Spy network in a network loyal to an Exalt without them knowing, or attempting to reclaim land from hostile places such as the Wyld.

If the change is clearly Supernatural in nature or Overwhelmingly opposed, such as making a well that perpetually draws fresh water from the middle of the desert, increase the Scale of the project by (+2). Resistance of this magnitude would be opposed by extreme forces, such as Gods, or networks of Exalts, such as the Bronze Faction of Sidereals.

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Repairing, Altering, or Destroying Projects

Some Projects focus on altering an existing aspect of the world—such as repairing a great Manse or taking an existing network of people and converting them to work for you, or completely eradicating it altogether.

Since much of the work has been done already, these types of Projects will be reduced in scale, depending on the severity of the repairs or changes needed to be made.

Destruction of a Projects focuses more on doing so safely, and in a controlled manner.

  • Minor (-2 to Scale). The repairs and/or changes needed to be made are significant enough to warrant attention, but will not consume the Character endlessly.

  • Major (-1 to Scale). There is significant damage or resistance to your changes.

  • Monumental (-0 to Scale). It would be the same amount of effort to repair and or alter the Project as it would be to create a new one from the ground up.

This cannot decrease the Scale below 1.

Altering Owned Projects

You can’t alter a Project if someone else currently owns it. You would first have to depose the current leader of a Spy Network and then take over the leaderless network as your own.

There’s a Size 3 Assassin network the Eclipse Caste has recently become the leader of. Being a pacifist, he wants them to stop killing and convert into simply a network of Spys. There is enough internal resistance to this command that he must make a Minor Alteration Project (Base 3, -2) and so it becomes a Scale 1 Project.

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Obstruction Rolls

All projects greater than Scale 1 will have an Obstruction Roll, to represent any sort of random events and/or problems that will inevitably show up during the course of your Project.

Once the Player knows the scale of their Obstruction, they should describe what the result is, and how their character deals with the results.

If desired, the Player may request ideas from the Storyteller or other players.

An Obstruction Roll uses an (Attribute + Ability) roll. However, this is not a normal Ability Roll, and cannot be modified by normal Powers, as this roll represents a considered effort over a great amount of time, not burst effort. Only Powers which explicitly mention the Project system affect this roll.

The Excellency may be used on an Obstruction Roll, but the cost is doubled—2 Limit. (Abyssals gain a Limit, and must start with their decreased Health Pool at the next non-Project Scene.)

The results of the Obstruction Roll operates on a Degree of Success, which subtracts the project’s scale from the number:

Degree of Success: (Att + Ability) - Scale

The Degree of Success determines how well the character did on their project. Do note that the Project has already been bought and paid for with their Resources, so even a negative roll will allow the project to come to fruition—at a cost. The exception being 0 Successes rolled—a critical failure.

Obstruction Results:

Critical Failure: 0 Successes Rolled

The Character has so incredibly botched their attempt that it is has become actively dangerous to them and all involved.

The character may either to immediately Cheat Death—sacrificing an existing Merit or something close to them—or else allow the disaster to spiral out of control, allowing the Storyteller to create an incredible consequence for their actions.

Should they choose to push forward despite the incredible disaster they have caused, they must Cheat Death again.

Regardless if they push forward or not, all Resources are lost.

Examples:

  • Your workers have split into two different groups, on the brink of a civil war.

  • An uncaught spy sabotaged your works, and has successfully usurped your hard work for their own gain.

  • One of the magical materials was corrupted with Vitriol, becoming a touchstone gateway for unbound Demons.

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Problem: Result is negative

The Project turned out to be incredibly more challenging than expected, and you are only able to pull it off by the skin of your teeth, putting great strain on your well-being.

You have quelled the issue—for now. It is almost certain to show back up later.

Examples:

  • A spy has not returned on time. You know they are not simply late.

  • Loss of a minor cache of resources. A spirit has started to disrupt the village.

  • An explosion rocked your campsite.

  • Supply lines are being disrupted.

  • Rumors of the Wyld hunt are near your border.

Alteration: (0-3)

Something unexpected happened—nothing that you can’t handle, but it did require you to change something significant about the project.

Examples:

  • Beastmen have heard of your militia, and wish to join. Current members are uneasy and do not wish them to without your input.

  • Your cult desires a clarification on one of your rules: currently one of the members is in violation of the technical aspects of the law, but not the spirit. What is the precedent that you wish to set?

  • The magical materials to create your artifact were slightly flawed, leading to a variance in essence flow. It might lead to a new and unintended strange power.

Success: (4-5)

Everything went according to plan. Describe your character excelling at what they are good at, anticipating any and all issues that might have happened with their greatest grace.

Critical Success: (6+)

The Maidens of Fate smiled upon you, and decided to grace your efforts beyond your wildest ability.

Not only do you succeed, but you exceed at your expectation. You may either describe how your efforts go above and beyond what you wanted, gaining one extra Scale to your Project, reclaim 1 Resource from the Project, or allow the Storyteller to grant you a boon from this effort to be reflected in the story.