I think Stunting is a great idea but somewhat limited mechanically. That's why i've been toying with an expanded Stunt system. During my games I've allowed my players to stunt for initiative, stunt away certain environmental restrictions, meddle with their opponents, do diceless stunts, etc. The idea here is to formalize those systems a bit, hopefully with some help from other Wiki-people.
After some testing, one problem seems to be that you can go so totally crazy with stunts for every little thing you do that it becomes silly and tedious. I told my players to stunt only stuff that's cool and that matters. I've also considered going back to rewarding the original amount of Essence instead of twice the amount as in power combat.
The basic dice adder stunt is now just one of many stunts to add a bonus to actions or events.
||Type||•||••||•••|| ||Dice||+1||+2||+3|| ||Initiative||+2||+4||+6|| ||Movement||+3||+6||+9|| ||Soak||+2||+4||+6||
Environmental stunts (bad name)
Stunts that don't give a direct mechanical bonus, but make something usually impossible possible, like the classical parrying arrows barehanded. The idea is that doing the impossible should be a reward in itself, and not be better than doing the merely very hard by also getting a dice bonus.
• Environmental Stunts
- Parrying lethal hand-to-hand attacks barehanded or with improvised defenses.
- Moving normally short distances over water, up walls, etc.
•• Environmental Stunts
- Parrying arrows barehanded or dodging arrows.
- Taking an action even when sprinting.
- Making it possible to act normally despite being locked in a clinch.
- Taking a last, desperate action before falling unconscious or dying.
- Attacking someone behind full cover.
- Defend normally against someone attacking from behind.
- Communicating without speaking the language or without speaking at all.
- Lockpicking, performing surgery, warding, etc without tools.
••• Environmental Stunts
- Defending yourself despite being asleep or otherwise unaware.
- Parrying an unblockable attack or dodging an undodgeable attack
- Soaking aggravated damage (or soaking lethal with no lethal soak)
Genereally, obstruction stunts force a difficulty equal to their level on one or more opponents for a specific action, such as attacking the stuntee. Alternatively, a difficulty of one higher can be gambled by forcing someone to take a reflexive appropriate dice roll at the original difficulty. Success negates the stunt and all effects entirely.
For example, kicking up an obscuring cloud of dust around yourself could impose a +1 difficulty for ranged attacks. Throwing your cloak over someone might impose +2 difficulty on all attacks, but only if the opponent fails a Dexterity + Dodge roll at difficulty one.
Obstruction stunts can always be counter-stunted with another stunt of equal or higher degree, and thus be entirelly ingored.
• Obstruction Stunts
- Blinding an opponent temporarily by kicking sand in his eyes, throwing a cape over him, etc.
- Flirting or "accidentally" dropping clothing items during combat as a distraction.
- Scaring troops by a particularly viscious and demoralizing attack on their leader, imposing a difficulty of +2 for those who fail a Valor roll.
•• Obstruction Stunts
- Tumbling behind an opponent to attack him from behind, imposing a +2 difficulty on defense. Alternatively, the opponent can be spun around himself and suffer +3 difficulty, if he fails a reflexive Dexterity + Dodge roll at difficulty 2.
••• Obstruction Stunts
Don't forget attacks from behind. Tumbling like a madman behind someone to get the +2, and deny them non-reflexive defenses is an obstruction stunt. And whirling to deal with an attack from behind without having to use a charm is an environmental stunt. - Scrollreader
- Gotcha. Resplendence
My general rule has been that stunts with benefits reduce the die bonus; a minor benefit like drawing a weapon and attacking all at once reduces the die bonus of a stunt by 1, while something major like dodging while waist-deep in water or getting behind someone reduces the bonus of a stunt by 2. If there are leftover die bonuses, you get that too. Essence is gained for the whole thing. I like the differentiation here, though. :) - FrivYeti
- That's basically my idea here, but made into rules or at least guidelines. Resplendence
I like the look of these, but, personally, I wouldn't allow stunting to parry unblockables and dodge undodgeables. Only perfect defenses do that, and a mundane defense (even a really really "cool" one) should never be perfect. That's for charms. -Eryk
- My reasoning here is that there's overlap between Stunts and Charms, like parrying lethal damage barehanded. A third degree stunt is epic enough to allow such things, IMO. If you can come up with a way to dodge a city-destroying meteor blast that stops the game while everyone gapes in awe, you deserve it. It's just a question of where you set the treshold for the best stunts. Resplendence
- With my agreement, Eryk, I would like to note that the reference is to unparryable / undodgeable attacks, which is something different from a perfect attack. If you have an attack that can't be dodged, such as Cascade of Cutting Terror, a stunt in which you flip over the side of a marble column, kicking a crack at its base as it spins into the air, and leaping up so that you spin at the same speed and arc as it to keep yourself safe behind, then grab the top as the cascade falters and flip over, launching towards your foe... I'd allow you to roll to dodge it. If it's Accuracy Without Distance (Perfect), well, the arrow just curves around the column and you're screwed. But nice stunt. - FrivYeti
- Nice example, but the effect isn't important to the stunting system. I'm having trouble thinking of more third degree environment stunts though. :/ Resplendence
I like the option of bonuses to things where extra dice wouldn't work. Especially the obstruction stunts, which would be wonderful for Abyssal Exalted, to complement their theme of removing dice anyway. The rest of it is interesting, and could certainly be a useful guideline, but I don't think it fits the core feel of Exalted. Canon stunts do all those things (as far as making the impossible possible), and give the dice bonus, and they provide a fail-safe in that you get a second roll to recover if you fail or botch so that you don't screw yourself over. Honestly, the difficulty gets so high on super-creative actions like the one FrivYeti described, the bonus of up to 3 dice can be rather small. Conversely, even if the difficulty isn't high, it makes for a much less over-the-top feel if you merely say "you can do it" as opposed to "not only can you do it, because that would be so cool, but here's a little boost to help you get it done." The principle in Exalted is normally supposed to be, "a stunt is something so cool that the Storyteller wants to see it happen, just because it would be cool." - IanPrice
- Good point, even though I have to think about how to use it myself. Anyway, you can consider environmental stunts as guidelines for what can be made possible and still hand out a bonus for it. Resplendence