The system of Exalted Reincarnated consists of the base Narrative System, Character Abilities, and three important subsystems: Encounters, Combat, and Projects.

Narrative System

The Base Narrative System covers the base interactions of the game, and will most likely span the majority of time spent. It consists of Action Rolls, Character Powers, as well as detailing out certain specific circumstances that might come up, such as group rolls.

For the most part, the Base Narrative System is intended to provide tools to quickly resolve what happens in response to roleplay with a simple roll—something to verify that the characters can actually do what they say they are doing.

These are all intended to be tools—something you can pick up and put down as needed. Do not feel bound to use them if they are not needed.


The Encounter subsystem is a framework that the Storyteller can use to provide twists, turns, and satisfying motion for dramatic scenes, ranging from courtrooms to mental mazes to the intricate dance of social maneuvering.

The Encounter subsystem is the lightest of the systems, intended to be flexible enough to handle a myriad of possibilities while still retaining structure and predictability.


While a conflict could be determined by a simple opposed roll, it is rarely satisfying to do so. The Combat subsystem is provided for scenes where violence must be performed in glorious battle.

It is the most mechanically involved of the subsystems, in order to give Players the satisfaction of performing shifting tactics and powerful maneuvers that only the Exalted are capable of performing—while not getting bogged down in endless minutia.


Sometimes there are great stretches of times that pass by, that are not directly played. Yet the Exalted are constantly busy, creatures of action and motion even if there is not a direct outward change.

The Project subsystem details how to handle timeskips, background tasks, and how the Exalt changes the world around them when the world isn’t directly falling apart.

Core Mechanics

Action Rolls

Whenever an Exalt attempts something that is dangerous, uncertain, or momentous, the Player at the table will perform an Action Roll to check that the action can be performed.

Exalted uses a dice pool system, where the Player gathers a number of d10’s (ten-sided dice) equal to their character’s relevant Attribute and Ability scores. For example, if the character was attempting to scale a cliff, they would gather a combination of their Attribute: Strength (4) and Ability: Athletics (2) dice together into their Dice Pool. (6, in this case).

Then, with their full Dice Pool, they roll. For each die face that is showing the target number: (7) or higher, they gain one success on the action. If the number of successes is higher than the difficulty of the action, the character succeeds.

For example, examine the results of six rolled dice:

{1, 3, 4, 7, 9, 9}

This would count as 3 successes, as follows:

{0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1}

If the difficulty of the action was 3 or less, the character would succeed on their action. The values of 1, 3, and 4 are not, and do not affect the roll in any way.

If a die face shows up as the value (10), the die generates not one (1), but two (2) successes, allowing for critical successes beyond the character’s normal limit.

If the roll had instead been:

{1, 3, 4, 7, 9, 10}

This would count as (4) successes:

{0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 2}

When to call for a roll

An Action Roll should only be called for by the Storyteller when the result of a character’s action is uncertain. Don’t call for a roll if a task is either guaranteed to succeed or to fail—one of easiest traps to fall into as a Storyteller is to call for a roll expecting it to succeed or not, and then scrambling to adapt because the dice did something unexpected.

Retrying Rolls

Once a roll has been decided, a Player cannot simply try the action again—it is assumed that the character has already approached the issue from multiple different angles before truly failing in the roll. For example, their failed barter included multiple tiers of money that they were willing to part with.

Only through powers like a Charm, or by a dramatic change of the scene is a re-roll allowed—for example, the marketplace erupting in a great conflict, convincing the merchant that they need to sell and leave as quickly as possible.

Determining Difficulty

Before a roll is performed, the Storyteller should determine the Difficulty of the roll—the number of successes that the roll must match or exceed for the action to be considered a success. Here is a guiding scale for choosing difficulties:

  • **Difficulty 1 (Easy)
    **This task is challenging to a mere mortal, but an Exalted Hero is more than likely going to pass it: though there is still a reasonable risk of failing. Picking a lock, calming an irate guardsman, or basic first aid would fall under this category.

  • Difficulty 3 (Typical)- A mortal will find this to be a difficult or challenging task, but an Exalt will most likely be able to pass it with some effort.

  • Difficulty 5 (Difficult)- Tasks which are daunting fall in this category—climbing a sheer cliff in winds, charming a staunch Dynast with sweet words, or avoiding the bite of a venomous beast.

  • Difficulty 7 (Challenging)- Tasks which should be near-impossible for any mortal. Such as noticing things in pitch darkness, or landing on a precise spot hundreds of feet below.

  • Difficulty 9 (Impossible)- Tasks a mortal could not possibly do, no matter the circumstances. Running straight up a building, leaping across a chasm unassisted, or keeping a patient alive without a heart for hours at a time with their bare hands.

Difficulty 3 should be the default roll.

What to Roll?

A roll should be called in response to Player actions, and as a way to represent what is happening in the action—this is a role-playing game after all!

The Attribute and Ability should be chosen based on what most represents the action the Player’s character is described as doing.

For example, if a character was charming a crowd through song, it would be Charisma and Performance.

A character’s Attribute represents the character’s general skills and method, whether it is primarily a Physical, Social, or Mental action, and if they are performing the action that action through Force, or Finesse. The six Attributes are:

  • Strength (Physical Force)

  • Dexterity (Physical Finesse)

  • Charisma (Social Force)

  • Insight (Social Finesse)

  • Intelligence (Mental Force)

  • Wits (Mental Finesse)

Abilities are specific skills relevant to the situation, such as Lore for knowledge of history, or Craft for the creation of material goods. A full description and list of Abilities may be found in the Attributes and Abilities chapter.

It is also perfectly acceptable to offer a selection of multiple different Abilities that might match the action, with the Player having the choice between them.

Failing Forward

In a high-powered setting such as Exalted, properly handling failure is incredibly important. You, as the Storyteller, are there to make sure that the story keeps moving forward, even if the Players are unable to do so.

It is often helpful to see a failed roll as an opportunity for you to move the plot in a way that the Player characters wouldn’t want, rather than simply not succeeding.

When a Player Character fails on an action, there are a few general paths that you may choose to employ:

A Simple Failure

The character doesn’t do the action, and the story must continue through a different way.

Sometimes simply failing is perfectly fine—the limits of the character are tested and shown, and there’s no shame in slowing down and reconsidering a new way to go forward.

This is the simplest way forward, and probably what most people think of with a failure. Using it should happen when the Players have plenty of potential options in front of them and can quickly jump tracks onto another way—often highlighting a different character.

The dangers of this path, though, is that it will slow down momentum of the game. A little slowdown is fine—sometimes there needs to be room to breathe—but if a game crashes to a halt based on a failure and all narrative momentum is lost, it would be better to choose a different failure condition.

A Great Cost

The character manages to do what they intended, but only at a great personal or story cost—they have met the bare minimum of what they wanted, but most definitely not in the way they wanted it.

They opened the doors like the wanted, but they alerted everyone to their actions. You, as the Storyteller, are allowed to take a story-based reaction against the player character, driving up the stakes of the scene. Remember: you are not there to punish the players, but to set up great adversity and challenges!

No, but...

If players have heavily invested in an action, and it just doesn’t work out because of bad luck, don’t give them nothing. Sure, they failed at the task they were intending, but another pathway opens.

Maybe they failed to convince the Queen of their plight, but the Prince overheard and wishes to speak to them. Be judicious of choosing this option, as overuse may make your game feel consequence-free.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The difficulty of an action can be modified by various conditions, whether it be environmental, helpful, or antagonistic. These should be provided by the Storyteller as deemed appropriate to the narrative.

By default, Advantages and Disadvantages are written in terms of dice available for the character to roll: (+2/-2 dice). Since this is the default, the “dice” moniker is often dropped—if a power ever simply says “+2”, it means to dice.

Whenever a Modifier affects a static value, such as Resolve or Difficulty, you should take the average, rounding up. +1 or +2 dice is +1 to Resolve, for example. Some powers will directly reference Static Value or Difficulty modifiers, instead of dice.

Minimum Difficulty

The minimum difficulty is always 1. You cannot lower difficulty past that through any means. Therefore, rolling 0 successes is always a failure.

Assigning Modifiers

Modifiers can be granted from any source, such as any powers, the environment, or even the mental condition of the character taking the action.





±2 ±1




Any Modifier should be something significant to the scene—something that would perturb even an Exalt, and you should not concern yourself with keeping track of anything and everything that could be a modifier. Light rain, while thematic and aesthetic, would not be enough to affect the athletics skill of the Exalt.

Natural Modifiers and Difficulty

Remember that Difficulty has its own inbuilt assumptions—many difficulties are set because they are a particular “base” level of challenge with a specific disadvantage: picking a difficult lock (3) vs. picking a difficult lock while blindfolded in a hurricane (9).

If a character uses a charm or power to dismiss part of that difficulty—removing all impairments caused by weather— it is the same as granting them an equivalent Advantage!


The setting of Exalted encourages wild, ambitious, and perhaps dangerous actions of the characters. When a player describes their character doing their action in a fun and creative way, the Storyteller should reward them by letting the action proceed! If a character swings from a chandelier in order to drop down on top of an enemy, let them do so!

Stunts should operate off of the “Rule of Cool,” and may bend the rules a bit, both of reality and the game—such as falling great distances to land perfectly in a pose with no damage. Nobody need concern themselves with the useless physics of such a maneuver.

If the Stunt is particularly impressive consider rewarding the Player with 1 Anima.

Stunts also do not need to be tied to specific actions. If, as a Storyteller, you find a scene or particular interaction to be moving, reward the players with Anima.


Exalts aren’t restricted to simply accepting the roll that is given to them. When they need to, they may activate their Exalt-specific Excellency to push their roll further than they thought they could, both before they perform the roll, or after the roll (and all power effects) have been finalized.

For example, a Solar will be able to add their Ability Ranks as a number of Successes to their roll, turning what is a certain failure into a success.

However, this does not come without a cost. The character is straining themselves beyond their mortal bonds, and so will gain a point of Limit, a measure of how close their Great Curse is to activating.

Special Actions

Most rolls are simple: the Player dictates what they are intending to do, and the Storyteller tells them which (Attribute + Ability) to roll and how much the difficulty will be.

However, there are a few specific situations that have special rules:


Whenever a character uses their action to assist another, they may grant a Moderate Advantage to another (+2 dice/+1 Difficulty) without the need to roll.

If two people teamwork the same target, they may bump it up to a Major Advantage (+4 dice/+2 Diff.), but no more than that is allowed.

Contested Actions

Certain actions are contested between abilities of two or more characters, rather than a simple difficulty.

In this case, all characters simply roll their appropriate Dice Pool, and compare who got the highest number of Successes.

Taking the Average

To speed things along, the Storyteller is encouraged to take the average number, rounded down, of the NPC’s dice pool. If they have 4-5 dice, simply state that they get got 2 successes and move on.

The exception to this guidance are important characters, such as rivals or foes of great challenge.

######### There are two characters in the scene: a guard and a thief. The guard is keeping watch, and the thief is attempting to sneak past them. The dice pool for the player-controlled thief would be Dexterity + Stealth.

######### Since this is a NPC, and there are no dice-affecting powers active, the storyteller simply takes the average: (Wits + Awareness)/2, which turns out to be 3. Should the thief match or surpass that difficulty, they successfully sneak past.

Group Rolls

If a group of people must all succeed on the same action—such as sneaking—those character who exceed the difficulty may donate any extra successes to their less fortunate group mates at a rate of 2 successes given per 1 successes received. This is a special form of automatic Teamwork.

So, if a group trying to succeed at a difficulty 3 check rolls 7, 3, and 1, the Player that rolled 7 would be able to give up their 4 extra successes to give the last Player 2 successes.

Recall Fact

You have two options when determining Facts about the world:

  1. Ask the Storyteller a question.
  1. Introduce a fact that your character “knows” about the world. This must not contradict the established setting in your game. (The Storyteller may veto a fact.)

Once you have stated your goal, the Storyteller determines the difficulty of remembering that fact, which you roll against as normal. If successful, the Storyteller must answer the question truthfully, or note the introduced fact as part of reality.

Typically, this roll is (Intelligence + Lore), but it need not be. You may use any Ability to know things related to that ability—such as using Archery to recall facts of a famous archer. Lore simply is the Ability that has no restrictions on use.

The Non-Omniscient Scholar

You are able to recall facts, not truths. “I want to know if Solars are actually Anathema” is not an appropriate use for Lore, but “Have Solars always been depicted as Anathema?” would be.

As well, facts known by a character are going to be highly biased depending on their backstory. As a Storyteller, don’t be afraid to give out advantages/disadvantages! A Dynastic monk will have very different sources of information than, say a Sidereal.

Read Intentions/Intimacy

Reading Intentions is a Reflexive Action.

When a character desires to understand another, they may attempt to read the Intentions based on their actions, though this must be in response to their target’s actions—you can’t simply read intentions of a character who is doing nothing!

On a successful roll against a difficulty set by the Storyteller, as dictated by the target’s social grace, the Player may ask a question to the Storyteller about the target and the character’s action, ranging from: “Who are they,” “What are they here (in the scene) for?” “Where are they going?” “Do they intend me harm?”

The Storyteller is obligated to respond truthfully to the chosen question, though it may be cryptic.

All Players may attempt the roll, but only the highest-roll gets to ask the question.

Influence Intimacy

You may grant or suppress Intimacies in targets. Intimacy changes made this way are temporary. They last at least a Scene, but will fade away afterwards at the Storyteller’s discretion.


Instead of a particular Intimacy, the character may choose to suppress or inflame an emotion. This may have unpredictable effects. This may be useful when targeting a disparate crowd, or if specific intimacies are not known.

Emotions are always treated as a Moderate Modifier, and so only gain +/-1 Resolve, compared to a full Intimacy.

Perform Task

The character attempts to get another to perform a task on their behalf.

Note: Serious and Life-Changing Tasks will often require a full Scene to occur before the roll may be performed—you can’t simply walk in and change a person’s life! The rolls provided are for use for minor characters and unimportant scenes. For more dramatic scenes, see Encounters. (If the final roll involves a “Perform Task” ask, the resolve bonus is not applied—the act of performing the encounter wears down the Resolve over the course of the scene.

  • Inconvenient task
    There is at most mild danger, opposition, or time devoted to this task. At most the task will take a few hours—maybe a day.

  • *Serious Task
    (+2 Resolve) Must Leverage an Emotion or Intimacy to attempt.*

    There may be lasting repercussions to performing the task, ranging from physical to social. The task may take days to weeks to complete.

  • Life-Changing *Task
    (+4 Resolve) Must leverage an Intimacy to attempt.*

    Their lives may be permanently altered by the task, running even the risk of death. Even embarking on the task will have serious consequences.

Players on the Defensive

The Player Characters are the main characters of the story, not NPCs.

When on the defensive from Social Actions, the Player still controls how the character acts in response to the roll, not the Storyteller. This is especially relevant for the “Perform Task” Action—the Player is free to interpret how and when they perform this task—they may be convinced that they need to help another character, but it will not override their free-will to do so.

Social Interactions

Social actions are dependent on how they are approached. Using an inappropriate action for a desired outcome will not work (no roll required) or at least have severe penalties applied.

For example, no matter how well you roll, you cannot threaten someone into gaining a positive intimacy towards you.


All characters have various ideals, desires, and loved ones. An Intimacy is a representation of their core being, who the person is—for better or for worse.

An Intimacy is a step above a person’s natural likes and dislikes: it is some aspect that defines them in some way.

Intimacies should be specific and close to your character’s definition and goals:

  • “Hatred of the Realm’s Slavery Trade”

  • “Trust that inner enlightenment will bring about external good”

Intimacies are both a boon and a bane to characters—they have a resistance to any social influence that runs contrary to that Intimacy. However, those same Intimacies may be used to pull the character into increasingly difficult tasks.

Whenever a character is confronted with something that tugs at their intimacy—such as a convincing argument that the proposed action will help them protect their family, they take a (-2) Resolve. However, if it runs counter to their Intimacy, such as their deep-held believe to not harm others, they gain (+2) Resolve.

Multiple Intimacies can be in play at the same time.

Assumed Intimacies

There are common intimacies to all mortal kinds that don’t need to be explicitly written down, such as the Desire for Safety and Health, and the Fear of Death.

The list of Intimacies written for a character should only be written down if they are notable in their strength—or in the absence.

Temporary Intimacies

Minor, or temporary Intimacies are those present for just a short time, often in response to something that has occurred in the scene—ranging from something as large as great threat to the city appearing, or from something more subtle as Social Influence to incite an emotion.

Minor Intimacies are transitory—and not quite as strong as deeply held beliefs, conferring (+/-1 Resolve). However, their effects can still be quite strong on a large scale, and have resulted in societal upheaval and market panics.

Unacceptable Influence

There are certain actions and requests that a character will refuse to do, regardless of how convincing, persuasive, or manipulative an Exalt is, they will not do it. Unacceptable Influence protects those actions that the character considered antithetical to their very nature, such as betraying loyal causes, violating self preservation, or harming those dearly loved.

Players, as they know their characters much better than the Storyteller, reserve the sole right to declare if Influence is Unacceptable—though they should justify it to the rest of the group.

Changing Intimacies

At the completion of every Story, both the Players and the Storyteller should reevaluate their respective characters and readjust Intimacies as appropriate to reflect what has happened in the Story.

They may gain, or lose Intimacies as they see fit, though they should have at least three and at most five.

Group Resolve

Social actions against groups of people, rather than individuals, suffer from the lack of intimacy, as well as logistics. Any social action taken against multiple characters with a magnitude of “Crowd” (50 people) or larger gains +2 to their Resolve.

Crowds of magnitude “City” or larger cannot be addressed by a simple roll, and instead must be done through an Encounter.

Respect Your Group

Throughout history people have committed horrific acts against each other—acts which still continue to this day. You may desire to show it as a proper challenge to overcome, to the levels that a character will sink to—even so called heroes. That said:

No Person should ever feel uncomfortable at the table.

At the end of the day, this is a game that you and your friends are playing in modern times. Showcasing horrors of the past and the casual atrocities people have done to each other is a decision you are making right now.

Any Player (including the Storyteller) should be allowed to raise their concerns about scenes, direction of story, or other such aspects of the game, and their concern should be respected without question. Move the theme aside and don’t bring it up again.

A good tool to minimize these concerns is to have a “Session 0”, where all Players discuss what themes they expect out of a game, and what to avoid. However, this should not be seen as a substitute for listening to your Players at the moment. Often, they will not know what bothered them until it comes up.


Essence is the fundamental energy that flows through the world, all creatures, and mortals—an energy that Exalts are naturally able to wield to their advantage.

A character’s ability to manipulate and channel the energies of the world are measured in Motes of Essence, a pool of points that is immediately spent for supernatural effects, and slowly regains over time.

Motes of Essence regain 1 per Hour when the character is taking explicit action to rest, such as sleeping, playing games, or participating in (relatively) stress-free activities that they enjoy.

The entire Mote Pool regains after a full night’s of rest, regardless of how large the pool is. However, a character will lose all their accumulated Anima while resting.

The mote pool will increase with the character’s Essence, which is a measure of how in tune the character is with the flows of energy through and surrounding them. This Rating will increase automatically as the character accrues xp.


Exalts are not limited to just their own personal Mote Pool as a source of their powers. The drive of action and movement will spur them to greater and greater heights. This movement of power is represented as Anima, a type of Essence Flow that is ultimately more fleeting, but brimming with possibilities.

You gain Anima through a few means: On a Critical Roll, through Stunting an action, or through taking a dedicated action to Build Power.

Gain Anima
Critical Roll 1 Anima for a roll of 8-9
2 Anima for a roll of 10-11
3 Anima for a roll of 12+
Stunt 1 Anima for great stunts
Build Power

Gain Anima by taking an action


Spend 5 minutes per Anima required.

Anima fades away if it is not used—If the Exalt engages in rest, regaining motes, their accumulated Anima dissipates—you can only be “brimming with energy” for so long.

Critical Rolls and Excellencies

Unless otherwise specified, the successes added from Excellencies counts as true successes for a critical roll. For example, if you roll 5 successes, and then bump it up to 9 successes through your excellency, you would still gain 1 Anima.


Build Power

During heated moments, such as in Combat or Encounters, the Exalt takes a moment to stoke their internal flames, drawing essence from the world around them.

The Player describes how the Character focuses themselves, which should be some signature aspect of their character—a Dawn Solar may find solace in flourishing their weapon, a Lunar of the Wyld might cycle through her forms, and a Dragonblood may pull energy from the surrounding area.

Building Power grants 1 Anima to the character immediately. In addition, roll (Essence + Ability) dice and gain half (rounded up) of the Successes rolled as Anima.

The Ability chosen should, naturally, be one of the highest your character has—the signature move of your character.

Building Power encompass a number of thematic actions– “Preparing for a devastating blow” or “catching a breather” or “bringing all the clues together in the mind.” It is intended to narratively reflect be the calm before a very, very explosive storm of power and action.

As Building Power is a narrative device to represent a character pushing above and beyond normal strength, trying to purposefully sit and gather Power in scenes without any narrative weight behind it is not allowed. Instead, use the Narrative Scope of building power.

Narrative scope

Since Anima fades away so quickly, Anima need not be tracked during slower, more narrative portions of the game. Instead, use of Anima can be allowed through taking extra time on their actions: roughly 5 minutes per Anima expended.

Using Anima

Anima is used to empower the Exalts Anima Powers, as well as any high-level Charms, Spells, or other sources of power that might call for Anima in its activation cost.

Additionally, Anima may be used to empower a character’s Strife, a way for the Player to wrest control over the narrative in their favor.

Lastly, there are a couple of raw uses of anima:

  • Expending 1 Anima to add 2 Dice to an action. This may only be done once per turn—you cannot expend 2 anima to get 4 dice.

  • Anima may be used in place of Motes, at a rate of 1 Anima per Mote. An unlimited amount of Anima may be expended this way.

    • This is usually reserved for when all Motes have been expended, as Anima is typically a more precious resource.

Is it rest if I…

If it is truly unclear whether a passage of time was rest, ask your players a hard question: “Do you want to regain all your motes? You will lose all of your Anima.”

Resting does not mean sleep—so long as the activity is non-stressful and relaxing to the character, such as playing games or talking over a campfire, it is rest.

Anima Banner

As an Exalt gathers energy, their souls become suffused with crackling energy, inflaming it into the seen world in a glorious expression.

Ultimately the Anima Banner is an Aesthetic matter—one used for Stunts and descriptions.

When using their powers, the Exalted is bathed in their power, the crackling energies surrounding them and forming into a unique expression of their soul—the more power used. First, they crackle with subtle energies across their skin. Then, this energy leaps across outwards, forming an entire colored aura around themselves. Finally, they erupt in their glorious fire, their body suffused in energy and their personal symbols visible to all around them.

The Exalt may choose to consciously hide it, if in situations where flaring their banner would be untoward. Hiding the anima banner requires dedicated concentration.


The world of Creation will push even the mighty Exalted to the brink, and in those moments of desperation, forcing them to delve into reserves they did not know they had—and can rarely replicate when needed. This moment is called a Strife.

Strife is a powerful tool for Player Characters to change the world around them.

By spending 3 Anima and performing a Stunt, the Player may:

  • Use a Lesser Power they have not purchased, but would otherwise qualify for. If they select a Permanent Power or one with an extended duration, it only lasts a Day at most.

  • Reset a Limited-Use Power they have, such as anything that must activated “Once per Story”. This can be done regardless of the level of the Power, and affects Anima Powers. They must still pay the original activation cost of the charm, in addition to the cost of the Strife.

  • Have an impact on the world through narrative means. The Player should feel free to dictate how they use their powers in a custom-tailored way for the situation, though this does require Storyteller approval to make sure it doesn’t directly solve the problem of the scene.

Strife Guidelines

When using a Strife, the action should simply happen without a roll. So long as a character should be able to do something, and it is cool for them to do so, it does. In this way, it can be thought of as a more powerful Stunt.

There are a few guiding restrictions to keep in mind with Strifes:

  • Other character’s actions cannot be dictated: only those under control of the Player’s.

  • The Action cannot directly solve the scene; it can only assist and guide it.

  • The Action should flow naturally from the character—a Solar cannot suddenly shapeshift, for example.

For mechanical guidance:

  • By default, a roll is not required with a Strife—simply expending the Anima is the cost required to succeed.

    • However, if the effect is contested or otherwise resisted, you are always guaranteed at least (Essence) successes on said roll, regardless of what is actually rolled.

    • Using a Strife as a Strike gives +4 to Accuracy, and has a Base Damage of 3+(Essence)x2


######### The Archer turns from the Dragonblood threatening her and focusing her essence into a point on their arrow. With a sharp hiss of air, she lets it loose into the nearest mountain, watching as the arrow explodes in an impressive show of Anima. The mountain rumbles as the snow dislodges, causing the newly-fallen snow to groan, rumble, and then start cascading into a deadly avalanche which rushes into the passage, sealing it and cutting off the dynasts reinforcements.

“I’m going to use my archery to cause an avalanche”. it changes the environment, stopping any reinforcements—removing the time limit on the challenge, but not destroying their enemy. It assists the Player and their scene greatly, but does not solve it.

The Great Curse

Exaltation is a great and wondrous blessing from the Gods, but with it comes a great and terrible Curse. Perhaps, as the ancient and lost stories speak, the slain Enemies of the Gods lay this Curse upon their servants as a last, spiteful word in their dying breath. Or perhaps it is simply inalienable nature of man, exemplified and given root in power.

Regardless of its source, every Exalt carries with them the Great Curse, an aggrandized character flaw that can interrupt and sabotage a character’s well meaning in spite of their better nature.

Each individual Exaltation book details their Great Curse, but it is important to know that these are all suggestions. So long as a character has a flaw that affects their decision, it is an acceptable Great Curse.

Custom descriptions should always include three aspects: what the flaw exposes in the character, what triggers the flaw, and what the character will (most likely) do when they enter a Limit Break.

  • Solars suffer from their own Ego. They are those that tirelessly seek greatness and perfection, and may find others or even themselves not up to the standards they desire.

  • Lunars suffer from being trapped between worlds and are conflicted by the unknown. Are they man or beast? A part of society or apart from it? Their form is constantly shifting, so who are they really?

  • Abyssals have a portion of their self consumed by the void: something that is lost and that can never be reclaimed. It may be their name and relations; their lost vitality; a loss of emotion and feeling.

Fine Tuning Limit Gain

Limit Gain should always be controlled by the Player, not the Storyteller. While you may setup the situations, it is ultimately up to the Player to decide how their character reacts—including if and when they gain Limit.

Some Players will not want to gain Limit at all, others will enjoy pushing their characters back and forth constantly. Both are valid so long as they are having fun.


The stress and wear of an Exalt’s life will build and press upon them, eventually driving them to a breaking point. This is represented by Limit Points.

A Character gains 1 Limit by:

  • Activating their Excellency

  • Encountering the limit trigger they have detailed as part of the Great Curse.

  • Working against one of their Intimacies, whether by choice or by force.

Limit Points represent how strained the Exalt is—how much wear and tear their psyche and soul is under. The character starts at 0, not being stressed, and can raise up to 10, a level of duress which they cannot stand anymore, at which point they will be forced Limit Break.

Breaking Early

When a character is particularly stressed, such as by being defeated, having their goals turned against them, their Intimacies being credibly threatened, or any other event the Player deems “anguishing,” they may see if the character Limit Breaks early.

Roll a 1d10. If the result is equal to or higher than their current Limit, the character keeps it together. While they might be perturbed, hurt, otherwise emotionally compromised, they retain full faculty of their mind and actions. However, if they roll under their limit, they prematurely snap.

The Player, knowing their character better than any at the table, may forgo the roll altogether and simply decide their character snaps. Remember, this should highlight the character’s flaws, and how it can impact and impede the character’s own goals!

Limit Break

When a character Limit Breaks, they lose all perspective on anything that does not align with their Great Curse and will make active and considered effort to fulfill it, regardless of the consequences.

A character Limit Breaking does not lose their faculties, nor do they forget their Intimacies—but those are simply secondary to their Great Curse. Often they will use convoluted and strange reasoning to justify their actions.

A Limit Break lasts for an entire scene. Only performing a grave offense against their own deeply-held Intimacies would be enough to snap the character out of their actions prematurely.

At the end of a Limit Break, reset Limit to 0.

During a Limit Break, the character does not gain any limit—even from activating their Excellencies. This effectively grants them free use of the Excellency for the entire scene, though it will still raise their anima level.

Ticking Time Bomb

There will be occasions when a character enters Limit Break, but turning it into a Limit Break Scene just doesn’t fit—it occurred during an otherwise lighthearted scene, or when the Exalt is in the middle of nowhere on their own, or the scene was just wrapping up.

If this occurs, with both the Storyteller and Player in agreement, the Character can postpone the Limit Break to a more appropriate scene—just don’t wait too long.

Cheat Death

The Player is the sole arbiter of the their character’s fate. If it is not the time for their character’s story to end, that death becomes cheated. Somehow, the defy the monumental odds, crawling days through pain and anguish that none other have suffered for help.

Cheating Death can also be employed for smaller dooms that the Player disagrees with—being mentally controlled, catastrophically messing up a project, etc. “Cheating Death” is the ultimate refusal of the rules, to impose your own narrative on the story.

But cheating death comes at a cost. The character will be invariably changed from their experience. There will be scars of their encounter—whether it is physical, mental, or social. The Player should work with the Storyteller to come up with a consequence from the implausible survival.

Cheating Death always involves gaining 1 Limit, and rolling to Limit Break at the start of the next Scene.

Suggestions are:

  • A dramatic change in Intimacies—such as the addition of (fear) related to the event.

  • A loss of an appropriate merit, such as an Ally who sacrificed themselves to save the character.

  • Physical reminders of the lost battles, such as scars.

  • Recurring nightmares, where the character is forced to relive the moment of their escaped death.

Antagonist Defeat

There will be times when an antagonist—intended to be recurring—is defeated, or otherwise dramatically halted.

These Characters, like Player Characters, have the ability to escape certain defeat if it best suits the plot. However, they should also suffer the same consequences for doing so.

Escaping death should never be cheap, and should not be done too many times. Let your Players have victories.

Storyteller Timelines

Rather than count the exact minutes and hours of effects, Exalted relies on a more cinematic sense of time.

  • Round
    Enough time for all characters present in the scene to perform at least one set of Actions.

  • Scene
    Long enough to set out and accomplish a single, dedicated task. Combat from start to finish would be a scene, as would characters searching for clues in an old abandoned monastery. This typically spans minutes to hours.

  • Session
    A single sitting of when Players begin and end roleplaying, spanning an entire night.

  • Story
    Several sessions that form a full narrative arch: from establishing a threat to reaching the resolution.

  • Chronicle
    A complete game, encompassing all the stories relevant to a set of characters.


Exalted is styled in more of a cinematic, broad-sweeping style game rather than a precise simulation war-game. Instead of detailing out every person, time frame, or area, it will instead deal with measures of magnitude.

Some Powers will declare an increase (or decrease) in a magnitude. Those magnitude definitions are as follows:

Time Magnitudes

0 Second (Instant) 5 Month
1 Minute (Moment) 6 Season
2 Hour 7 Year
3 Day 8 Decade
4 Week 9 Century

Group Magnitudes

Scale Minimum Population Common Name Military Designations