The Lethality Solution

These rules are still under construction!

Damage Capping

Net successes on attack rolls are no longer added to the raw damage pool. Instead, net successes give a cap on health levels of damage that can be done with the attack. For example, if an attack beats the defender’s DV by 3 successes, the defender can take at most 3 health levels of damage from the attack. Damage is rolled normally, but any successes on the damage roll over the damage cap are ignored.

Excellencies Used For Defense Against Flurries

When an Excellency is used as defense against a flurry, the resulting DV bonus lasts through the entire flurry and not just for the current attack in the flurry. Here’s an example:

Solar Bob is being attacked by Abyssal Ted. Abyssal Ted is flurrying 4 attacks against Solar Bob. Solar Bob is going to parry, and uses the Second Melee Excellency in Step 2 of the first attack in the flurry to buy +4 Parry DV (eight dice worth). Solar Bob gets to add 4 to his Parry DV in every subsequent attack in the flurry without activating the Second Excellency again. This bonus should be combined with any penalties from onslaught, wounds, etc, to find the resulting modifier.

Solar Bob has the option of reusing the Excellency against subsequent attacks in the flurry. In the example above, he could use the First Excellency instead of the Second Excellency. Solar Bob buys eight dice and rolls only two successes. He has a +2 Parry DV bonus against the first attack. Solar Bob can probably do better than that if he rolls again, so he chooses to buy eight dice with First Excellency during Step Two of the second attack of the flurry, and this time rolls six successes. +6 DV looks good to Solar Bob, so he uses that bonus for the rest of the flurry.

Note that applying the DV bonus from using an Excellency counts as a Charm use. If the defender wants to use additional defensive Charms along with applying the bonus from an earlier Excellency use, a Combo must be used.

Additional Health Levels

Exalted characters get additional -1 and -2 health levels equal to their Stamina. Temporary boosts to Stamina can be used to generate temporary health levels to absorb damage. Specifically, the character gets additional temporary -1 and -2 health levels equal to the temporary increase in Stamina. Temporary health levels are lost first, so long as they are valid health levels to use. In other words, if the character would lose a -1 health level to the next incoming damage point, the character loses a temporary -1 health level instead. If the character would lose a -1 health level to the next incoming damage point, but only has temporary -2 health levels remaining, he must first mark off all remaining real -1 health levels before the temporary -2 health levels are valid to use. If a character is already on his real -2 health levels, and gets temporary -1 health levels from a temporary Stamina increase, the temporary -1 health levels absorb damage first, then the temporary -2 health levels, and any remaining damage is assigned to real health levels.

Resisting Pain

Exalted characters can spend one temporary Willpower to ignore wound penalties for (Stamina + Resistance) actions when in combat. Out of combat, wound penalties may be ignored for (Stamina + Resistance) minutes.

Weapon Stat Changes

The following weapons lose the Piercing tag:

  • Grand Daiklave
  • Grand Goremaul
  • Grand Grimcleaver
  • Grand Grimscythe

They instead gain the new Knockback tag (K). Weapons with the Knockback tag double the distance of knockback acheived with the weapon, if the wielder of the weapon so wishes.

Unexpected Attack Changes

Unexpected attacks are no longer unblockable and undodgeable, nor is a surprise negating Charm necessary to respond with defensive Charms. Instead, unexpected attacks give an external penalty of -5 to the defender’s DV if the defender loses the opposed test. The defender can use Charms to defend, just as with a normal attack.

New Action: Ambush

An ambush works exactly like an unexpected attack in the core rules. An ambush is an unblockable and undodgeable attack, and a surprise negating Charm is needed to make the attack expected. However, ambushes can only be executed when not in combat. Once an ambush has been resolved, combat is joined as normal with a Wits + Awareness roll and ambushes are no longer possible. Anything in the core rules that affects an unexpected attack has the same effect on ambushes.

Coordinated Attack Changes

The DV penalty applied to the target of a coordinate attack is equal to half the number of coordinated attacks, rounded up.

Grappling Changes

In this section, the combatant in control of the clinch is called the “clincher”. The combatant who is not in control of the clinch is called the “clinched target”. Clinches are still initiated using the Clinch natural attack. Once a clinch has been initiated, the following changes apply:

  • The combatants in the clinch no longer have their DV set to zero. Instead, they take an external penalty of -2 to Parry and Dodge DVs.
  • The clinched target is no longer set to Inactive. The combatant can act on their tick as normal.
  • Immediately after establishing the clinch, the clincher can act as described in the core rules (Break Hold, Crush, Hold). On subsequent turns, the clincher can take the following actions:
    • Release the clinched target. This ends the clinch. (Speed 3, DV -0)
    • Throw the clinched target (Strength) yards. This ends the clinch. (Speed 5, DV -1)
    • Crush the clinched target. Make an opposed (Strength or Dexterity) + Martial Arts roll. Extra successes in favor of the clincher set the damage cap for the attack, and are added to the damage roll as normal. If the clinched target wins the opposed roll, he takes no damage from the attack, as his struggles prevent him from being crushed. This attack is piercing and counts as a clinch. (Speed 6, DV -1)
  • The clinched target can take the following actions while clinched:
    • Take Control of the clinch. Make an opposed (Strength or Dexterity) + Martial Arts roll. If the clinched target wins, he takes control of the clinch, and may immediately Break Hold, Hold, or Crush his opponent, as per the core rules. This counts as a clinch attack and cannot be part of a flurry.(Speed 6, DV -1).
    • Escape from the clinch. Make a (Strength or Dexterity) + (Martial Arts or Athletics) roll versus a difficulty equal to the clincher’s (Strength + Martial Arts) divided by two, rounded up. If the roll is successful, the clinch is ended. This action can be flurried. (Speed 5, DV -0).
    • Attack. Make a Martial Arts or (with an appropriate stunt and weapon, like a knife) Melee attack with an internal penalty of -2. Attacks made while clinched cannot be flurried. Speed and DV penalty are derived from the attack used.

Limited Use of Perfect Defenses

A character is limited to (Essence + Stamina) uses of perfect defenses in a scene. This includes any combination of perfect dodges, perfect parries, and perfect soaks. If a temporary increase in Stamina or Essence raises a character’s limit on perfect defense uses higher than the number of perfect defenses used in the current scene, then the character may use a perfect defense.


  • (Aaron-) How does soak fit into the solution?

The rules for soak are currently unchanged.

  • (Aaron-) What is the charm cap for adding damage?

Charms that double net successes for damage, such as Hungry Tiger Technique and the effect of Solar Hero Form currently also double the damage cap. That could very well change such that they only double the number of damage dice, but do not affect the cap. There is no cap for adding damage dice currently, which is the same as the standard rules.

  • (Aaron-) Would adding hit more points help some of this with less changes to everything else?

Brian and I looked a lot at adding Health Levels. The primary problem here is a matter of scaling with flurries. Flurries allow the attacker to apply the base damage for their weapon multiple times in one turn, and scaling up health levels to a point where you can safely absorb enough hits to survive a Charm powered flurry or two means that an attacker that doesn’t flurry will have to make many more attacks in order to kill that opponent. The problem exists in an inverted state now, where a single attack stands a decent chance of killing the target if it hits, and a flurried attack just kills the target even more.

That being said, we probably will add some number of Health Levels. It’s just not a solution in and of itself.

  • (Mark-) Unexpected attacks and ambushes I assume still both begin with a contested (Dexterity + Stealth) against the victim’s (Wits + Awareness)?

Generally speaking, yes. The Storyteller system being what it is, given a specific situation and attack may call for a different roll, but you typical “ninja jumping out of a bush” attack will be (Dex + Stealth) versus (Wits + Awareness).

The Lethality Solution

Sundering the Brass Prison lphillips lphillips