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Limit Break

I don't like the current Limit rules for Solars, so I've decided to roll my own.


  • Make high Virtues less of a hindrance in terms of the risk of accumulating Limit.
  • Facilitate the creation of high-Virtue characters who can be at either end of the psychological spectrum: unstable and constantly Breaking, or unflappably serene.
  • Reduce the disruptive effect of Limit Breaks on any storyline that may be in progress, without totally diluting the concept.
  • Give players the opportunity to reduce their characters' Limit in-game, without having to wait for a Break.
  • Retain the use of those funky "Limit" dots on character sheets, because I'm finicky that way.

New Rules

The Great Curse manifests itself most strongly when a Solar's passions are out of balance. Each time that you wish to override the result of a Virtue roll, you must make a Limit roll. A Limit roll is a Willpower roll, with a difficulty equal to the difference between your highest and your lowest Virtue. You suffer a -1 penalty to the roll for every point of Limit you have. You always roll at least one die, regardless of total penalties.

If you succeed at the Limit roll, you do not gain a point of Limit. If you fail at this roll, you gain a point of Limit.

Note that it always costs you a point of temporary Willpower to override a Virtue. The Limit roll is to determine if you also gain a point of Limit.

Extremely provocative situations may, at the ST's discretion, impose further penalties on your roll; among other things, this increases the probability of a botch. The exact consequences of a botch are left unspecified, but could include:

  • Gaining two points of Limit instead of one, if you choose to override your Virtue;
  • Immediate Limit Break (if applicable);
  • Taking a -2 penalty to all rolls for the scene, as you struggle to retain control.

It's possible for the difficulty of the roll to be zero, if all your Virtues are equal. In this case, roll anyway, because you might still botch the result (but in this case, a botch should not be treated as any more severe than a normal failed roll).

For example, Azure Sky has Compassion 3, Conviction 1, Temperance 2, Valor 4, Willpower 6, and the Virtue Flaw Berserk Anger. He has no Limit points accumulated. He passes a group of thugs on the street, who make pointed comments about his parentage. Azure Sky makes a Valor roll to see if he feels the urge to confront them, and rolls 2 successes: his blood begins to boil. However, he also has an urgent mission to complete and doesn't want to waste time, so he spends a point of Willpower to keep his temper in check. To avoid gaining Limit as well as spending Willpower, he must now roll 6 dice (his Willpower rating) against a difficulty of 3 (his highest Virtue rating of 4, less his lowest rating of 1). The dice come up 9, 7, 6, 3, 2, 1: that's only 2 successes, so he gains a point of Limit.

When you reach 10 Limit points, you are in danger of a Limit Break. A Limit Break occurs at a time chosen by the ST, possibly in consultation with you. Until such time, you take a -2 penalty to all dice rolls, as your suppressed passions constantly distract you from outside stimuli. Ideally, a Limit Break occurs when

  • You are confronted by a situation that plays to your Virtue Flaw;
  • The act of Breaking is reasonable in the context of any ongoing storyline;
  • It is unlikely to cause undue inconvenience to the players (as opposed to their characters).

A Limit Break sets your Limit points to zero, as per the core rules. You may also reduce your Limit points, without Breaking, by acting in a way that ameliorates your Virtue Flaw. For example, if you have the Flaw Heart of Tears, giving the proceeds of your latest jewel heist to the poor might reduce your Limit — the ST is the final arbiter of what actions count towards this purpose. You may reduce your Limit by up to two points per story, independent of any Breaks you may suffer.


If you want to have a classic, constantly Breaking Solar, max out one or two Virtues and neglect the rest. The range between your highest and lowest Virtue will be large, ensuring lots of Limit gain and relatively frequent Breaks. Conversely, if you want a character who learns to retain control of her emotions as she gains in wisdom, keep all your Virtues about equal. This ensures you will almost never gain Limit.

Leaving the exact time of occurrence of a Limit Break vaguely specified allows the ST flexibility to tailor events to the campaign. For example, if your character has Ascetic Drive as her Virtue Flaw, the ST may choose to delay your Break until the current story arc is resolved. Doing otherwise would mean your character walks out midway through, which implies you sit around watching the others play. This is usually not much fun for you, and inconvenient for the other players, who may have been counting on the unique skills your character brings to the group. The ST could play out interruptions to your self-imposed exile, but that isn't always practical either. By taking a -2 penalty instead of an immediate Break, your character can continue to participate in the events of the campaign, without making the Break itself irrelevant.


Updated to retain the Virtue roll mechanic as given in the books. - Hong, 06 Sep 2005

Wow. I'm actually really, really impressed. These are very good rules, and I would like to use them in my next game of Exalted, if I ever find the time to run another one. -TheMyriadOfShades

Heh, thanks. I was a bit leery of adding another die roll when you want to override Virtue (Exalted has quite enough die rolling as it is), but that's probably manageable. Will be interesting to see what they do in 2E. - Hong

Yeah, I've got to agree, I love the rules, and am seriously thinking they deserve some sort of wider recognition. Perhaps adding to pages of note, or is there some other way of getting these advertised? - GregLink

I do like these rules. I have never really been fond of the Great Curse and tend to ignore it and use the virtures and limiters for characters actions. But these rules might make me reinstitue Limit Breaks.

Congratulations, these Limit Rules are much much better than the canon. I'll start using them right away. I don't know what they are going to do in 2E, but I hope that, if they change something, it comes in this direction. Nabeshin