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    Default Exalts and Excellencies-- playing Exalted using Mutants and Masterminds rules

    A few friends and I have agreed that, while we love the flavor and feel of Exalted, the rules are... not satisfactory. Clunky in many places, unbalanced in others, and just plain convoluted in more. Meanwhile, we've been playing Mutants and Masterminds, and loving it. I make a joke about statting up my Exalt as an NPC in the game. We all pause. "Wait a minute..."

    Here are the conversion rules we've come up with.
    (Note that 3e M&M is covered under the OGL, but I'm not sure about Exalted. Thus, I'm assuming you have access to the Exalted rules to know about things like Virtues and the Great Curse).

    General Character Building
    • Characters start at PL 5; Each "dot of essence" is approximately equal to +1 power levels, so a 3-essence character is PL 8, and a 5-essence character is PL 10.
    • Your caste gives you a special free anima power
    • The maximum modifier for skills is capped at PL + 5. Only your caste's special skills may be raised to PL + 10.
    • Try making liberal use of the Limited modifier to get more unique abilities. Give them snazzy Exalted-y names.
    • To simulate Excellencies, take the Skill Mastery and Ultimate Effort advantages.
    • Time travel is limited to forwards movement.
    • Limit "natural" ability scores to 5 (a good benchmark for "peak human.") If you want to raise them more, use the Enhanced Trait power.


    Anima
    The power of an Exalt is such that it is impossible to hide. Every time an Exalt bends the laws of Creation, motes of essence escape, manifesting first as a subtle glow, then as a caste mark, then as an almost overwhelming anima effect.

    Don't worry about the size of your essence pool-- M&M isn't balanced around such limits, and "running out of motes" isn't a core part of the Exalted feel. (Unless we're talking about how the mechanics basically turn your essence pool into a health bar). It's the manifestations of your power that matter. Instead of tracking expended motes, we track motes that have escaped from your essence pool to your "anima pool."

    Motes of essence escape in the following ways:
    • Whenever you activate a Sustained or Continuous power, your anima pool grows by a number of motes equal to the power's power point cost. When you deactivate it, subtract a number of points equal to one-half its power point cost from your pool.
    • Whenever you use an instant-duration power, add points your anima pool grows by a number of motes equal to one-half the power's power point cost.
    • Whenever you use an "Excellency" (the Skill Mastery or Ultimate Effort Advantages), add motes to your anima pool-- 2 when you use Skill Mastery, and 5 when you use Ultimate Effort.
    • If you have any permanent-duration powers, essence is permanently bound up in them, already gathered on the surface of your being. Reduce the benchmarks of your anima pool (see below) by the combined power point cost of all permanent-duration powers you posses.
    • Similarly, essence invested in artifacts (Devices, powers with the removable or easily removable flaw) also reduces the benchmarks by the combined power point cost of all artifacts you are attuned to.


    When your anima pool reaches a certain size, signs of your power start manifesting:
    • When there are (3*power level) points in your pool, your caste mark appears.
    • When there are (4*power level) points in your pool, your caste mark becomes impossible to hide.
    • When there are (5*power level) points in your pool, you glow like a sun.
    • When there are (6*power level) points in your pool, your anima is triggered.

    These benchmarks can be reduced by having essence invested in permanent-duration powers or devices. However, they cannot be reduced below the number your power level is being multiplied by-- 3 motes for your caste mark, 4 motes for your caste mark to be impossible to hide, and so on.

    Motes do fade from your pool over time. Every hour, subtract a number of motes from your pool equal to your power level.

    You may make your Caste mark appear for a scene at will. You may add a single mote to your Anima Pool to manifest your full Anima for a scene.

    Caste Abilities
    {table=head]Caste|Anima Power (10 points)- May only be triggered while in Anima; alternately, instantly kicks you into Anima|Special Skills
    Dawn|Perception Area Affliction 5 (selective, double limited degree, ) (impaired, disabled, resisted and overcome by Will)|Close Combat, Expertise: War, Ranged Combat (Archery), Ranged Combat (Thrown)
    Zenith|Impervious Toughness 10, Impervious Will 10 (both limited to use against creatures of darkness)|Expertise (any performance), Expertise (survival), Persuasion
    Twilight|Reaction (damaged by attack) Healing 3 (limited to self, -2 quirk: 1/round)|Expertise (any crafting), Expertise (any knowledge), Expertise (Magic), Investigation, Treatment
    Night|Feature 5 (can suppress anima), Concealment 10 (all senses, passive)|Athletics, Acrobatics, Perception, Sleight of Hand, Stealth
    Eclipse|Benefit 1 (diplomatic immunity), Something with Triggered Luck Control-- force 5 rerolls, taking the worse option, for anyone who violates a sanctified oath.|Expertise (bureaucracy), Ride, Expertise (Sailing), Persuade, Deception, the Language advantage[/table]

    Virtues
    You start the game with 20 points to assign to the four Virtues. Rate your character from 1-10 in each Virtue, with a 5 representing a normal character. You may buy additional Virtue ranks with power points, at a rate of 1 rank/point.
    Whenever you attempt to violate one of your Virtues, roll a Will check against 10+Virtue. If your check succeeds, you may ignore the virtuous urge. If you fail the check, however, you are compelled to either act or add one to your Limit Break pool. When acting in accordance to your virtue causes your character otherwise-avoidable difficulty (as a Complication), gain a Hero point. When acting in accordance with a Virtue, you may spend a Hero Point to gain a circumstance bonus to a single roll equal to your rank in that Virtue.
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2013-08-31 at 11:26 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use
    Major Works:
    • STaRS: The Simple Tabletop Roleplaying System; my attempt at a generic rules-light system.
    • Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 revisions-- houserules, class fixes, ban lists and more.
    • Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Rules for low- or no-magic item games of 3.5.
    • D&D in M&M-- Balancing 3.5 by porting it lock, stock, and barrel into a more balanced system.

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    Default Re: Exalts and Excellencies-- playing Exalted using Mutants and Masterminds rules

    Updated slightly after consulting a third party. We'll be trying this in a campaign soon, so we'll see how it works.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use
    Major Works:
    • STaRS: The Simple Tabletop Roleplaying System; my attempt at a generic rules-light system.
    • Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 revisions-- houserules, class fixes, ban lists and more.
    • Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Rules for low- or no-magic item games of 3.5.
    • D&D in M&M-- Balancing 3.5 by porting it lock, stock, and barrel into a more balanced system.

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    Default Re: Exalts and Excellencies-- playing Exalted using Mutants and Masterminds rules

    I am not at all familiar with the system, but I'm generally positive to seeing Exalted conversions. Hope they continue to work out for you.
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    Default Re: Exalts and Excellencies-- playing Exalted using Mutants and Masterminds rules

    Look, Exalted 2e isn't the best system. But Mutants and Masterminds? Really?

    2.5 errata is out. 3e hits in December. And Mutants and Masterminds has a bit of a rep for being badly balanced.

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    Default Re: Exalts and Excellencies-- playing Exalted using Mutants and Masterminds rules

    Quote Originally Posted by Jade Dragon View Post
    Look, Exalted 2e isn't the best system. But Mutants and Masterminds? Really?

    2.5 errata is out. 3e hits in December. And Mutants and Masterminds has a bit of a rep for being badly balanced.
    I knew there was a giant honking errata document that needs constant cross-referencing, but I didn't know there was a new edition coming out. <shrug>

    But why M&M? Because I really like the system, that's why. I've run plenty of one-shots, and have had a weekly campaign going for a few months now, and haven't had a lick of trouble with the system. It's far, far more balanced than, say, D&D or Exalted 2e, has incredible character-building potential, and is simple and fun to play. Don't bad-mouth it 'til you've tried it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use
    Major Works:
    • STaRS: The Simple Tabletop Roleplaying System; my attempt at a generic rules-light system.
    • Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 revisions-- houserules, class fixes, ban lists and more.
    • Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Rules for low- or no-magic item games of 3.5.
    • D&D in M&M-- Balancing 3.5 by porting it lock, stock, and barrel into a more balanced system.

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    Default Re: Exalts and Excellencies-- playing Exalted using Mutants and Masterminds rules

    In general, it looks pretty decent. I have two beefs, though.

    Beef #1 - The power level is waaay too low. You've got newly-Exalted Solars at PL 7, working up to PL 10 at the endpoint of most PC games and 15 at the theoretical peak of their world-shaking capabilities. By comparison, PL 10 is the stat-level for a traditional starting superhero in M&M, with PL 13 at about the point that you get established heroes like the X-Men, Spiderman, and the Avengers, and 16 being Thor.

    High-tier Solar Exalts need to be better at their jobs than Spiderman, not substantially weaker.

    Beef #2 - Your Virtue system doesn't actually provide any benefits for Virtue ratings, only drawbacks. It then goes on to require you to spend points to increase your Virtues. It also mentions a Limit Break pool, but you don't have rules for Limit Breaks.

    *EDIT* Wait, no, third beef. You don't have any Power-Level based limits on the cost/rank or maximum rank of powers. Exalted characters traditionally have a grab-bag of tricks, whereas M&M often encourages people to have one or two defining traits that cost a ton of points. You probably don't want a starting character to have "Teleport Across Creation" as a power.
    Last edited by Friv; 2012-10-23 at 01:37 PM.
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    Default Re: Exalts and Excellencies-- playing Exalted using Mutants and Masterminds rules

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    I knew there was a giant honking errata document that needs constant cross-referencing, but I didn't know there was a new edition coming out. <shrug>

    But why M&M? Because I really like the system, that's why. I've run plenty of one-shots, and have had a weekly campaign going for a few months now, and haven't had a lick of trouble with the system. It's far, far more balanced than, say, D&D or Exalted 2e, has incredible character-building potential, and is simple and fun to play. Don't bad-mouth it 'til you've tried it.
    Well, if you already have a bunch of M&M books for things like war machines and such and would rather spend time than money, I could see that as a reason.

    There's also the fact that Exalted is one of the most complicated systems out there.

    I prefer Strands of Fate... but Strands of Fate seems to be one of the most obscure games out there. The stretches of time between two Strands of Fate games coming up in Finding Players can be measured in months. And not a couple of them.

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    Default Re: Exalts and Excellencies-- playing Exalted using Mutants and Masterminds rules

    Quote Originally Posted by Friv View Post
    Beef #1 - The power level is waaay too low. You've got newly-Exalted Solars at PL 7, working up to PL 10 at the endpoint of most PC games and 15 at the theoretical peak of their world-shaking capabilities. By comparison, PL 10 is the stat-level for a traditional starting superhero in M&M, with PL 13 at about the point that you get established heroes like the X-Men, Spiderman, and the Avengers, and 16 being Thor.

    High-tier Solar Exalts need to be better at their jobs than Spiderman, not substantially weaker.
    According to the Hero's Handbook, PL 10 is either powerful but inexperienced, or experienced but not powerful-- Spiderman, maybe, would go here. PL 12 is "Big Leagues" and PL 14 is "World Protectors." But PL is certainly easy enough to change if you disagree-- nailing down a PL-to-essence conversion rate was probably the hardest part of the conversion, and we kind of skimmed over it as unimportant in the long run.

    Beef #2 - Your Virtue system doesn't actually provide any benefits for Virtue ratings, only drawbacks. It then goes on to require you to spend points to increase your Virtues. It also mentions a Limit Break pool, but you don't have rules for Limit Breaks.
    I don't remember there being a lot of benefits in Exalted, either, apart from willpower regeneration being conviction-based. Limit Break works pretty much the same as in Exalted.

    *EDIT* Wait, no, third beef. You don't have any Power-Level based limits on the cost/rank or maximum rank of powers. Exalted characters traditionally have a grab-bag of tricks, whereas M&M often encourages people to have one or two defining traits that cost a ton of points. You probably don't want a starting character to have "Teleport Across Creation" as a power.
    Ehh, not if you know what you're doing, and use alternate effects and flaws intelligently. M&M powers also tend to be a lot more versatile than Exalted charms.

    I will note that I was able to build my 5-essence Twilight sorcerer as a PL 10 character using these rules, and hit pretty much every salient point.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jade Dragon
    There's also the fact that Exalted is one of the most complicated systems out there.
    There is that, yes. Combat in Exalted takes forever, and after a semester-long campaign I still don't feel like I understand the system too well. (For this fix, my friend was the Exalted expert, while I knew M&M)
    Last edited by Grod_The_Giant; 2012-10-23 at 02:04 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use
    Major Works:
    • STaRS: The Simple Tabletop Roleplaying System; my attempt at a generic rules-light system.
    • Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 revisions-- houserules, class fixes, ban lists and more.
    • Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Rules for low- or no-magic item games of 3.5.
    • D&D in M&M-- Balancing 3.5 by porting it lock, stock, and barrel into a more balanced system.

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    Default Re: Exalts and Excellencies-- playing Exalted using Mutants and Masterminds rules

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    According to the Hero's Handbook, PL 10 is either powerful but inexperienced, or experienced but not powerful-- Spiderman, maybe, would go here. PL 12 is "Big Leagues" and PL 14 is "World Protectors." But PL is certainly easy enough to change if you disagree-- nailing down a PL-to-essence conversion rate was probably the hardest part of the conversion, and we kind of skimmed over it as unimportant in the long run.
    Fair enough - I'm going off some actual conversions that I recall reading. I'll check the DC handbook when I get home and see what they actually rank established DC characters at, for comparison. I would simply point out that "World Protectors" is what Solars generally are at Essence 5. At Essence 10 they're closer to "Cosmic Forces". But you're right, the exact conversion rate can easily be modified. ;)
    [Personally, I would have Solars start at PL 10 and work their way up to PL 13 for most games, 18 for elders. Other Celestials would start at PL 9 and work up to 12 / 17, and Dragon-Bloods would start at PL 8 and require 20 experience per power level increase instead of 15, generally capping out around PL 12. Heroic mortals start at PL 4, take 25 power points to advance a tier, and can only reach PL 9. And can't really buy much in the way of actual super-powers. Normal mortals are just written up at PL 1-4.]

    I don't remember there being a lot of benefits in Exalted, either, apart from willpower regeneration being conviction-based. Limit Break works pretty much the same as in Exalted.
    In Exalted, you could spend a Willpower to add your Virtue rating in dice to any roll, as long as it was in line with that Virtue. It didn't count as Charm dice, letting you take on equal-tier foes with an extra punch, and you could use it very well to succeed at moderately difficult tasks in which you didn't have very many dice. (The M&M equivalent would probably be adding half of the 1-10 Virtue to any roll and having that not count towards your PL cap.)

    Ehh, not if you know what you're doing, and use alternate effects and flaws intelligently. M&M powers also tend to be a lot more versatile than Exalted charms.

    I will note that I was able to build my 5-essence Twilight sorcerer as a PL 10 character using these rules, and hit pretty much every salient point.
    That is true. I'm not saying it's impossible, just that I feel like you'll get a different feel, especially from players who don't already have a lot of Exalted experience.

    There is that, yes. Combat in Exalted takes forever, and after a semester-long campaign I still don't feel like I understand the system too well. (For this fix, my friend was the Exalted expert, while I knew M&M)
    It is a bit of a mess.
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    Default Re: Exalts and Excellencies-- playing Exalted using Mutants and Masterminds rules

    Quote Originally Posted by Friv View Post
    In Exalted, you could spend a Willpower to add your Virtue rating in dice to any roll, as long as it was in line with that Virtue. It didn't count as Charm dice, letting you take on equal-tier foes with an extra punch, and you could use it very well to succeed at moderately difficult tasks in which you didn't have very many dice. (The M&M equivalent would probably be adding half of the 1-10 Virtue to any roll and having that not count towards your PL cap.)
    Ah, gotcha. How about spending, oh, let's say a hero point to gain a circumstance bonus equal to 1/2 your Virtue to a given roll, as long as it's in line with that Virtue? Eh... maybe not as good as just spending a HP to reroll... hmm...

    (Might work for my group... we usually houserule in "demi-hero points" which you get for doing cool stuff, and which can be used mainly for power stunts and edit scenes... spend one of those for the Virtue bonus... but that's not a solution for everyone. Hmm.)
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use
    Major Works:
    • STaRS: The Simple Tabletop Roleplaying System; my attempt at a generic rules-light system.
    • Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 revisions-- houserules, class fixes, ban lists and more.
    • Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Rules for low- or no-magic item games of 3.5.
    • D&D in M&M-- Balancing 3.5 by porting it lock, stock, and barrel into a more balanced system.

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    Default Re: Exalts and Excellencies-- playing Exalted using Mutants and Masterminds rules

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Ah, gotcha. How about spending, oh, let's say a hero point to gain a circumstance bonus equal to 1/2 your Virtue to a given roll, as long as it's in line with that Virtue? Eh... maybe not as good as just spending a HP to reroll... hmm...
    Possibly set acting in accordance with your Virtues as the trigger that grants Hero Points, rather than requiring players to behave like traditional superheroes? That way, you're keeping the idea that Virtues constrain your behaviour and providing benefits, while adapting it to your different system.
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    Default Re: Exalts and Excellencies-- playing Exalted using Mutants and Masterminds rules

    By RAW, hero points are awarded when things go WRONG. Sort of a "when the going gets tough, the though get going" thing. But it's not a bad idea, no.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use
    Major Works:
    • STaRS: The Simple Tabletop Roleplaying System; my attempt at a generic rules-light system.
    • Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 revisions-- houserules, class fixes, ban lists and more.
    • Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Rules for low- or no-magic item games of 3.5.
    • D&D in M&M-- Balancing 3.5 by porting it lock, stock, and barrel into a more balanced system.

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    Default Re: Exalts and Excellencies-- playing Exalted using Mutants and Masterminds rules

    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    By RAW, hero points are awarded when things go WRONG. Sort of a "when the going gets tough, the though get going" thing. But it's not a bad idea, no.
    Oh, really? I must have been thinking of an earlier edition and gotten rules mixed up. I remember the ability to grant hero points for setbacks, but I thought they were also granted for heroic deeds.

    In that case, "when acting according to your Virtues gets you in trouble, gain a Hero Point"?
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    Default Re: Exalts and Excellencies-- playing Exalted using Mutants and Masterminds rules

    Quote Originally Posted by Friv View Post
    In that case, "when acting according to your Virtues gets you in trouble, gain a Hero Point"?
    Seems about right.
    Quote Originally Posted by Grod_The_Giant View Post
    Grod's Law: You cannot and should not balance bad mechanics by making them annoying to use
    Major Works:
    • STaRS: The Simple Tabletop Roleplaying System; my attempt at a generic rules-light system.
    • Giants and Graveyards: My collected 3.5 revisions-- houserules, class fixes, ban lists and more.
    • Chopping Down the Christmas Tree: Rules for low- or no-magic item games of 3.5.
    • D&D in M&M-- Balancing 3.5 by porting it lock, stock, and barrel into a more balanced system.

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