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RedMegaman discovered Exalted barely two years ago after wrapping up a high level D&D game. He promptly began pondering how to modify the Exalted rules to replace the less-than-satisfying D&D rules.

Look, it's very simple guys. Green Mega Man goes with Red Mega Man and Yellow Mega Man to make the Ultra Mega Mega Man. You have to have all three or it doesn't work, see? -- Eric Cartman

Dragonblooded Charms

DragonBloodedArchery/RedMegaman - One charm so far.


RedMegaman/SolarHearthstones - One hearthstone.

Exalted Sterich

My current project is to modify the Exalted rules for use with the Greyhawk setting, my one true love among RPG settings. As I'm currently playing in a really good dragonblood game (Trueform's) I'm not exactly chomping at the bit to ST and whatever material gets posted on this page will most probably be random design notes mostly for my own benefit.

RedMegaman/ExaltedSterich - Design notes for the game.
RedMegaman/SterichExaltedTemplates - Character templates for the game.
RedMegaman/SterichExaltedIdeas - Ideas for the game in various stages of completeness.

Project goal

The goal of the project is to simulate the good parts of D&D while tossing the bad parts. Greyhawk Exalts (prosaically renamed Heroes) will start out significantly weaker than starting dragonbloods, I figure Essence 1 and two or three charms. This is to simulate the D&D paradigm of working your way up from low levels while avoiding the problems of 1st level D&D characters killed by house cats.

Good D&D Elements

  • Level-up: It's always fun to advance a level, get new powerz, roll hit points and all that. I've thought about letting characters gain new powers after spending a number of XP, say thresholds of 50XP, 100XP, 150XP...
  • Less combat rolls: A good thing at low levels. Though see comments below...
  • Nostalgia: Though this is mostly tied to 1st ed AD&D.

Bad D&D Elements

  • Classes: I don't like classes. In this game characters won't even have castes or aspects. It's easy enough to create distinct concepts with different assignments of abilities, virtues and backgrounds. Charms add even another dimension.
  • Proficiencies: Let's face it, D&D has never handled non-combat skills well. Even 3E's attempted fix looks and plays more like something tacked onto the system as an afterthought.
  • Levels: While gaining a level is fun, the actual level advancement system leaves something to be desired.
  • The cosmology: You need a Heaven and a Hell. You don't need 16 variations of them.

Necessary modifications

Major modifications will include rewritten charm trees combining dragonblooded and solar charms with several charms pruned and increased essence requirements on most of the solar charms. Rebalancing issues will have to be addressed as will comboability issues.

Charm aesthetics and stunting rules will have to be modified as over-the-top kung fu action is out of place in Greyhawk. Most charms will keep the original mechanics, but flashy special effects will be toned down. Charms where the mechanics rely on flash will be categorised as "Cleric" charms, for lack of a better word and will require religious devotion and virtue minima on the part of the character.

Stunts will use the same rules as in Exalted Power Combat, but stunt descriptions will have to conform to the aesthetics of the GH setting. The feel I'm looking for can probably be summed up as "less athletics". Less triple-backwards-flips, less lightfoot action. Players can still use the old "the sword descends in a flashing arc" type of descriptions for their +1 stunts, but the 2 dice stunts will have to be of the "I smash my opponent into the wall"-variety rather than "I jump up on the wall and recite bad poetry." Unless the character is a bard. More gritty and less fancy, in other words.

Other modifications will be statting out the Monster Manual mainstays.

Shoehorned inclusions

I really like several elements of Exalted better than the D&D equivalents. I'll probably use Abyssals and Shadowlands pretty much as is to represents undeads and necromancers et al. The underworld does not have a D&D equivalent, so I probably won't use it. The World of Greyhawk has a secret order of high level druids, the Hierophants, who work closely with several (semi-)divine beings and hierarchies. I can probably use Sidereals to represent these. I could even use the Loom of Fate. I could even fit the Alchemicals in the County of Blackmoor, though that might be a stretch, and the game will probably never move that far north anyway.

The D&D metaphysics will be completely scrapped, I never really liked them anyway. Using Games of Divinity's take on demons and spirits will only improve the D&D setting as far as I'm concerned, and that's pretty much what I will do. Change the Name of Malfeas to the Abyss or Hell, and there it is. There was never a good reason to have 16 different planes with 16 different versions of the afterlife. There's Hell and maybe Heaven, though an even better idea would be to have each deity have his own Sanctum, a Sanctum large enough to accomodate the worshippers souls upon death. And we'll keep reincarnation, it's just the most practical way to do things. Elsewhere is also a keeper, we'll rename it the Ethereal Plane or something. The Astral Plane would be another Elsewhere and the only difference would be that only the Gods named in the setting would make their sancta in the Astral plane, while smaller spirits and mages would make sancta and demiplanes in the Ethereal Plane.

Obviously my version of the World of Greyhawk will differ significantly from the published version.

Why don't you just use the Exalted setting?

I'm obviously very fond of many of the elements which make up Exalted. In fact I'm pretty sure it is the best RPG setting I have ever seen. Still, I love Greyhawk, I know it like the back of my hand, I've spent countless hours making it my own, and some of my best games have taken place there. The Exalted Sterich game will be a continuation of my last D&D game, featuring "the next generation" and a change of setting is right out. Altering the setting is another thing entirely, however.

Another thing is that I'm already playing in a DB game set in Creation and I'm also running a relief solar game. Creation is a cool setting, but I know Greyhawk far better.

Other shtuff

Contact Info

Christian K. Kielland
Location: Oslo, Norway

Page created by RedMegaman


Welcome! I'm curious why - if what motivates this project is merely your knowledge/enjoyment of the Greyhawk setting - you are also embracing the D&D paradigm of working up from low level? Why not have PCs start off as forces to be reckoned with? Also, what is motivating your lumping of Dragonbloods and Solars together into a generic "hero" type? - szilard

Hi szilard. Thanks for the comment. This game will be a continuation of another Greyhawk game I ran a couple of years ago. The PCs in that game retired at ~18th level when the game ended. In the next game the players will create new characters as children or apprentices of their older characters. To make this work, the new characters need to be significantly weaker than their elders at the start, but reducing the power gap as the game progresses. The D&D trope of advancing from 1st level is useful in this context. I think starting the characters at a severely reduced DB level is a good way to simulate this while avoiding the 1st level problem. I figure the starting characters would be about 4th level i D&D terms, which is a good place to start.
The style I'm looking for is a sort of troupe style game where the main focus is on the junior characters. The juniors will be related in some way to a senior character or an organisation run by a senior character. Every game month (or even more frequently, we'll see), the players will outline the goals and actions of their retired senior characters. This way I think I will be able to avoid the "Elminster syndrome" where a senior NPC serves as an annoying sponsor to the PCs. The senior sponsirs will be their old characters and the players will keep full control over them.
One could say that the players wil run their junior characters on a tactical level and their senior characters on a strategical level. So while the junior PCs will not be movers and shakers right away, the players will still wield plenty of clout through their senior PCs.
Whether this will work or not remains to be seen, but my players seem very enthusiastic about the idea and have proved to be able to work with me to create great games. I wouldn't try this with players I didn't know well.
As for the lumping together of DBs and Solars, it's convenient. Neither theme is appropriate in the World of Greyhawk, which is pretty much your generic medieval European-inspired fantasy world. I came up with this solution to keep the powerlevel low at the start, but eventually allow for solar level charms. The idea I'm currently working with is to give most of the solar top level charms prerequisites of 1-3 DB charms.
The theme I'm going for at the moment is similar to Exalted in that Greyhawk Heroes are chosen of the gods, but due to the proliferation of deities in your typical D&D world, giving each god's Heroes a different theme would just be messy and confusing. Instead I intend to have most Heroes depicted using the standard fantasy aesthetic, while a select few who embrace their Deity and emulate him in behaviour (Virtues) will be the priests of that deity and gain access to certain inherently flashy charms, e.g. Glorious Solar Saber. Whether a character chooses to be a priest depends entirely upon his concept.
To justify this to a small degree I will have to alter the aesthetics of the charms to conform to a more conventional fantasy theme. This can probably be summarised as "less flashy." I'll also merge the Exalted essence pools and do away with anima banners and powers, which have no place in Greyhawk, except maybe with clerics, paladins and mages, I don't know...
As I mentioned above, I'm not sure how this merge will work out, but I'm pretty sure it will work well. It will certainly work better than D&D.
-- RedMegaman

The biggest difference that I see between the two systems is that D&D is more restrictive on who can learn and develop what skills. If you want to keep it restrictive, you could give them Solar castes(which roughly end up being the fighter, priest, mage, thief, and bard classes) and 3 favored abilities. Dual castes might work by choosing a Solar caste and a Dragonblooded caste. If you want to give the players clear roles, you could say that they can only learn Solar charms for their Solar caste abilities but can learn Dragonblooded charms for any abilities.
Do you plan on simply tossing out things like the paladin's detect evil power? ~ Qzujak49

Hi Qzujak49! I plan on tossing the class system completely. The lack of character classes is one of the reasons why I like the ST system better than D&D. Character concepts is a different thing altogether, if a player wants to make a paladin i theRedMegaman/ExaltedSterich game, he is free to do so, and he will probably want to build a typical Zenith type character. The Core D&D classes are very easy to build using Exalted rules, and the rest shouldn't be much harder. I realise that I never mentioned which parts of D&D i like or dislike. I'll add a note about that.
Your idea of allowing characters to buy solar charms for favoured and DB charms for nonfavoured abilities is interesting and certainly in keeping with my overall design goal.
As for detect evil and alignment issues in general. This is modelled far better by the standard Exalted Natures and Virtues, yet another reason for switching. I don't know how I will treat Detect Evil. I think there are Investigation and Socialise charms which allows reading of intent, browsing of surface thoughts and such. The paladin will just have to take those charms if he wants them. I think that's the easiest way of handling it...
-- RedMegaman

For good D&D elements, D&D has less rolls involved in attacks. D&D usually only uses attack and damage rolls while the parrying and dodging is calculated into AC. Exalted will often have attack, damage, and parry or dodge rolls for the same attack. Its simpler in D&D(in 3E at least. I hate 2E's THAC0).
On the bad side(maybe), essence ends up acting like Magic Points while D&D has fixed spells slots. ~ Qzujak49

I agree about less combat rolls. It makes a difference in low level play. My experience is, however, that combat gets too bogged down at mid levels and above, due to the various combat modifiers from spells, magic items and specific feats. In the last half of my last campaign, combat got so bogged down due to calculating modifiers that a combat turn could take 20 minutes to resolve. Precalculating combat totals worked only partly due to the great number of conditional modifiers. I actually think combat runs much smoother in Exalted.
-- RedMegaman

Hi RedMegaman! A most impressive project, look forward to playing in it! Just a quick word on things you mightn't have gotten to thinking about yet; Exalted has a 'fixed' list of spell that is continually expanded in sourcebooks, in effect allowing much less than a typical D&D campaign. The main D&D book has such a huge number of mainstay spells that they in turn allow the spellusers much more flexibility than Exalted. Are you planning to allow both D&D and Exalted spells or just allow one of the sets? Also, in D&D you'd be able to cast fewer spells with a low level character, and many more than in Exalted with a high level one. If you are going to use the exalted system I'd suggest adding a charm for each circle(or level) of spell that removes the willpower requirement for casting a spell from that circle (terrestial, celestial, solar), or perhaps including that in the powers for learning the next cirlce of sorcery. That way you would get much the same progression in number of spells per day as in D&D. Wytchking

Most of D&D's spells of levels 1-5 can be modelled as charms. If your character needs to have access to those effects, make a custom charm. This also solves the WP problem. The WP problem of spellcasters can also be solved with stunting. If he needs to have a spell not published in the Exalted books, make a custom spell. Simple as pie :-) I like the feel of Exalted sorcery and will import it to Exalted Greyhawk, while dispensing with the traditional D&D mage.
-- RedMegaman