Trivial actions (those involving significantly less than a minute of time) are ignored. A character does not roll to pick a lock, she rolls to infiltrate a building. She might even enter if she gets no successes at all (a Night caste is rather likely to do such things).
Actions should be role-played as if they took a minute at a time, unless they specifically cover more time a la large construction projects.
Characters are rarely individuals. Every city, village, and town is a Character. Every army and fleet is a character. A third-circle demon with her full entourage of souls could be a single character.
Sometimes, however, they are an individual. Celestial Exalted, the Incarna, Malfeans, Primordials and Yozis are characters.
Individual Characters are divided into Classes, based on their raw power.
Abyssal, Chimerae, Lunar, Sidereal, Solar, Primordial, Yozi, Malfean, Incarna, Shinma
Beings potentially without peer, Supernals are defined by their lack of limitations on power. They are capable of bringing mighty nations to their knees.
Unformed Monsters, Deathlords, Essence 8-9 Gods and Elementals, Third Circle Demons (alone), some Behemoths.
Essence 6-7 Gods and Elementals, Enlightened Mountain Folk, Second Circle Demons, Dragon Blooded, Heart 4 Raksha, most Behemoths.
First Circle Demons, Dragon Kings, Essence 4-5 Elementals and Gods, Essence 4-5 Ghosts, Heart 3 Raksha, weaker Behemoths
Essence 2-3 Heroic Mortals, Heart 2 Raksha, Essence 2-3 Ghosts, Essence 2-3 Elementals, Essence 2-3 Gods, Unenlightened Mountain Folk, Spirit-Blooded
Essence 1 heroic mortals, Essence 1 Heroic Ghosts, small gods and elementals, Heart 1 Raksha
Least gods and elementals, heart 0 Raksha, common mortals and ghosts. Sucks to be them.
Individually, or even in mid-sized groups, extras don't get to roll dice. Not, at least, until there are over a thousand of them.
A single person is not much different than two. In order for numbers to matter in Nations, they must be abused.
For every power of five within a group (or rough approximation thereof), add +1 to die types and dice rolled for elemental Traits, and +1 Essence. For example:
- A hundred Heroic Mortals have 4d4 in Water and an Essence of 1, individually. Together, however, they have 7d7 in Water and an Essence of 4, as an army or other force.
- Three thousand such Heroic Mortals would have 9d9 in Water, and an Essence of 6.
- Twenty thousand would have an Essence of 7, rolling 10d10 for Water.
Some groups will gain special bonuses. For example, a perfect circle of any sort would grant a +2 bonus instead of +1.
The greatest forces in Creation have Shticks. These are based on the type of character involved.
- Dawn, Dusk: War and Combat
- Zenith, Midnight: Might and Natural
- Night, Day: Prowess and Subterfuge
- Twilight, Daybreak: Craft and Lore
- Eclipse, Moonshadow: Socialize and Expression
- Rising, Full: Combat and Might
- Waxing, Gibbous: Craft and Prowess
- Setting, Half: Socialize and War
- Waning, Crescent: Expression and Subterfuge
- Blind, New: Lore and Natural
- Battles: Might and War
- Endings: Combat and Socialize
- Journeys: Natural and Prowess
- Secrets: Lore and Subterfuge
- Serenity: Craft and Expression
While the Celestial Exalted have fairly firmly defined Shticks, Primordials and Incarna hold concepts to them, making them far more flexible. Gaia's is Life, Autocthon's is Invention, the Ebon Dragon's is Shadow. It's rare for these to not actually apply.
When a Stick is applied to a Test, the Character rolls twice and takes the better of the two rolls.
A Character makes a Test when they roll their Trait for any reason. This is often contested, but sometimes is merely progress towards a goal, and thus generic target numbers are set.
- 1 - Standard difficulty, simple for anyone reasonably trained and fit for the task at hand.
- 5 - A challenge. Only the best-trained mortals can achieve this regularly.
- 10 - Amazing. Still within the realm of mortal bounds, but this is often achieved by a team.
- 15 - Legendary. Even the best-trained mortal will struggle repeatedly to achieve this type of feat on their own.
TNs beyond 15 mean that they pretty much are either a group effort or the work of a divinity.
There are six main Traits, which all characters posess, even if they have a zero in it. Some characters (the Supernals) posess a seventh Trait, depending on their nature. Traits are of the form xdy, where y is the die type (d2, d3, d4, ... d10, d11, d12, and so on) and x is the number of dice rolled.
There are five Elemental Traits. All rolls have an Elemental nature to them, based on the types of skills and physical properties they cover. The words in paranthesis represent the Traits from Exalted Lite that the Element governs as a rather general guideline. These are also used as the basis for conversions.
- Air (Lore, Subterfuge, Compassion, Dexterity)
- Earth (Craft, Might, Willpower, Brawn)
- Fire (Combat, Prowess, Conviction, Wits)
- Water (Socialize, War, Valor, Presence)
- Wood (Expression, Natural, Temperance, Manipulation)
Equipment will affect these scores. For a city, things like walls, automated defenses, terrain and the like count as 'equipment'.
The Essence Trait is a class on its own. It represents the inherent magic of a character. It has two parts. The raw score, measured from -3 to 12, converted directly from Essence, and the Versatility, calculated from the number of Charms and similar devices that the character knows.
- A character may expend a point of temporary Essence in order to:
- Avoid taking a Wound
- Add their Versilitity Dice to divide between one or more Traits in a given Turn.
- A character's Wounds may never reduce the number of dice they get to roll below their Versatility.
Solars, Abyssals, Lunars, Chimerae, Sidereals, the Incarna, Malfeans, Primordials, Yozi and Shinma also have a seventh Trait, representing their sheer awesomeness. Each has a differing name for it, though they all share the mechanic. Any time the character type's primary Shtick comes into play (which can be often), they add this Trait to every die rolled.
- Like Essence, temporary points in this Trait can be spent:
- Avoid taking a Wound
- Unleash their penultimate skill. Rather than adding a raw number to the roll, they cause Trait (and Essence, if it is being spent as well) dice to explode. The numbers that explode are equal to their Seventh Trait, with a minimum of 2's and up exploding.
- Abyssals have Corruption - This applies to any contested roll. It's not them doing better, it's their opponent doing worse.
- Chimerae have Mockery - A blend of Corruption and Shapeshifting, this applies more often in the Wyld than in Creation.
- Lunars have Shapeshifting - This applies to any roll where they can make use of their key ability.
- Sidereals have Fate - This applies to any roll in which they have planned for the situation. They can also apply this to someone else's roll, positive or negative.
- Solars have Glory - This applies to any difficult roll, or showing off.
- Primordials, Malfeans and Shinma have Ancience - This applies to any and all rolls.
A Turn is a unit of time involved in a Test. Typically ranging from one minute to one week depending on its nature.
If a character fails a contested Test, they take a Wound in whatever Trait they tested it with. A character can take a number of Wounds equal to the number of dice they have to roll in said Trait, before they 'lose', whatever losing may mean.
Typically, taking a Wound in a Trait means that one less die is rolled for that Trait. This has a minimum of the Character's Versatility, however, meaning that many Exalted have a lot more to them.