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23 October 2014 @ 08:37 pm
Warlords of the Mushroom Kingdom: House Rules  
As a prelude for putting it in my Warlords of the Mushroom Kingdom main document, I figured I'd write down all the house rules I was thinking of using and my reasoning for some of them. As a quick reference, there's a good cheat sheet for the rules as written here. That includes most everything in the basic rules, though I don't think it's been updated to 2.5 and a lot of it is extraneous, like Exalted XP costs. There's a combat-specific cheat sheet here.

  • Everyone, including NPCs and monsters, gains -0 Health Levels equal to their Stamina. Makes everyone more survivable and keeps the death spiral from kicking in so early.

  • Parry Defense Value is calculated with Strength instead of Dexterity. Dex is the uberstat under the RAW, and swapping this lets the archetypal strong-but-slow PC defend as well as attack.

  • Mental Dodge Defense Value is calculated using Temperance instead of Willpower, and ignores Essence. Since Willpower goes to 10 instead of 5, as written MDDV is flat-out better than MPDV.

  • Mental Parry Defense Value is calculated using Conviction instead of Charisma or Manipulation. For symmetry with MDDV, and because Charisma and Manipulation are the attack stats. Both of these override the rules in Social Conflict (see below).

  • Grappling is modified as I lay out in my post here. In summary, it's progressive instead of binary.

  • Flurries are replaced by the rules mentioned here. Exalted is weird, what with having speed-based initiative but keeping the multiple-actions-at-the-same-time ability that round-based systems usually have, so I'd rather make it purely speed-based. Stuff that needed to be flurried under the old system I can rule on on a case-by-case basis, but attacking the same target super-fast in one tick is gone. Or I guess I should say, flurries can only be used for different actions rather than to repeat the same action. Flurrying to keep balance while fighting on unstable ground is fine, stabbing someone three times in the same instant is not.

  • Artifact weapons and armor don't exist. Their damage and soak values are too high and bend the whole the combat system and all the tactics around them (grand goremauls ), so they're gone. I'm just going to apply the Five Magical Materials bonuses directly to the mundane weapons. I'll also probably throw in some of these extra magical materials, but mostly for flavor.

  • Everyone gets three Favored abilities. With no actual Exalted in the world, there's no problem with having more competent mortal PCs, and I really hate the "mortals are dirt under our feet" parts of Exalted anyway.

  • Kyeudo's Disease Rules Fix is in effect, so that not every disease either 1) kills you or 2) does nothing.

  • I'm using Social Conflict instead of RAW Social Combat. When the book specifically says you should run away or attack someone trying to convince you of something if you want to avoid it, you know that it's going to cause problems.

  • Merits and Flaws are mostly awful and unbalanced, so PCs can buy mutations from Revlid's Mutation Revision as merits. A lot of those are the things covered by advantages in other games anyway, like Eidetic Memory or fast healer.

  • Everyone gets Awakened Essence for free. To go with that, thaumaturgy rituals that take an hour or less may have Essence substituted for their material components, with some exceptions--rituals from the Art of Alchemy always require components, for example.

  • Coins get counted out using the prices from the Manacle and Coin Revised Chart. As a companion to that, no one can start with the Resources Background, since a steady stream of cash discourages the kind of shenanigans sword and sorcery protagonists should get up to. I'm not sure whether to use the silver or the jade price scales as of yet. I'm currently leaning towards jade, though it is pretty complicated, in which case everyone would get 1 mina plus 1 more mina per 3 bonus points spent. Not sure on the cost of more money at start. I do have a character sheet with the monetary conversion on the back, so that'll help the PCs.

  • Hardness is compared to Strength + weapon damage, not Strength + weapon damage + attack successes. As written, Hardness is almost always worthless even in mortal vs mortal combat--even Artifact Superheavy Plate only has 10--and this adds some value to it. And to go with this, appropriate Stunts can ignore Hardness. I'll probably also add Hardness to magical armors, too, with some formula. It looks like light armor gets Hardness 2, medium armor gets 5, heavy armor gets 8 and superheavy gets 10 under the basic system. I might go with that.

  • Shields Shall Be Splintered! I use this rule in basically all the games I play because I love it so much, and it applies just as well to Exalted--anyone can say their shield broke and in exchange, they take no damage from a single attack. marianlh, you might like the linked blog post, if you haven't read it before.

  • Character generation is XP-based, though with less XP than listed there.

Stuff I'm still thinking about:

Mortal Excellencies
Excellencies are the classic reason that Exalted throws around buckets of dice, and as written non-magical beings don't get them at all. I've diversified the power sets a lot, what with splitting thaumaturgy from pure Occult into Craft, Lore, Performance, Occult, and Survival, and making Martial Arts the pure "hit stuff without weapons" skill and splitting the martial arts I included between Archery, Dodge, Lore, Martial Arts, Melee, Resistance, Ride, and Thrown, but it does mean that characters who want to buy skills like Sail or War or Investigation have no way to be supernaturally competent at them.

My idea was to have a "Mortal [Ability] Excellency" that's similar to the First [Ability] Excellency in that link, except with a limit of dice added equal to the user's Essence. The thing that makes me balk is that at first glance, it seems too useless at Essence 1 and too powerful at Essence 5. Maybe equal to Specialities, which run 1-3, would be better? Or half Essence rounded up, which would be a max of 3?

Considering it more, I'm probably not going to put these in unless I get any complaints or it seems like characters that aren't sorcerers or martial artists have nothing to spend XP on.

Weapon and Armor Damage
I'm not even sure this is worth the trouble, honestly. I like the idea of weapons and armor being damaged, providing another niche for Craft-based characters to use their skills on a low timescale, but I'm not sure how to do with without being too fiddly and stupid. Maybe for armor, if the incoming damage is greater than twice the soak, the armor loses 1L/1B soak? And allow a called shot (-2 to -4 External Penalty) that does 1 die of Bashing Damage and damages armor. Huh. That's actually not bad.

Weapons, I have no idea. Since Disarming exists, it might not be important. And it'd need something to deal with shields.

Fast Attack
In exchange for dumping Flurries, I'm thinking about adding a Fast Attack option as a companion to Thrust that has Speed -1 but Accuracy -2/DV-2. Or maybe Accuracy -3. Low Speed is really, really good--and increasingly good the more you get of it--and this would be tricky to balance.
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