The Odyssey [Exalted, ?]

Discussion in 'Roleplaying & Quests' started by Rihaku, May 3, 2013.

  1. Rihaku

    Rihaku The Internet

    0) This is a continuation/sequel to The Sword That Ends the World, that story is considered a "soft canon" prologue or extended character generation. Please limit posts in this thread to 100 pages; some back-of-envelope calcs suggest we may be contributing to lag. That said, this is a soft cap, so for indexing purposes don't make a new thread if it goes over. I will endeavour to make new threads at safe intervals, ~90 pages or so.​
    1) Readers participate to control the actions of one character. There may be exceptions.​
    2) Experience can be gained through completing objectives and also through reader participation. Each new participant gives you 1000 points of XP. Experience also accrues from posts, likes, and a general impression of the thread's activity.​
    3) Write-ins, detailed plans, and fan-works are encouraged. They can all grant very substantial experience bonuses with modifiers for length and quality.​
    4) Majority rule is not necessarily the order of the day. A compelling argument can be worth more votes than blank support.​
    This is a quest, the spiritual (and, in some ways, actual) sequel to The Sword That Ends the World. For those familiar with that game, material from it is canon up to the chapter Scars. For those unfamiliar, no prior knowledge is required to play in this quest. [The story-only thread contains a compilation of the canon chapters of Sword, for new players looking for context as well as old ones that would like a refresher. However, one should not assume any of the other facts about the Sword setting will carry over to this one.]

  2. Rihaku

    Rihaku The Internet

    The Realm is the colossus that bestrides Creation. Magnificent, sprawling, it embodies all the glory and excess of Imperial Britain or Dynastic China. Each year, an ocean of blood is shed by its wars. Every month, a civilization is ground into dust under its booted feet. Every day, ten thousand men die with its name upon their lips, as sacrament or as curse. Cultures shattered, tongues forgotten, cities carved from earth and sky; high society, silver mountains, fields salted, fire and sword: all these lie within the grand sweep of its history. On the toil of untold millions, the Realm stands as a shining, bloodstained beacon of human and superhuman achievement. It is an empire of horror and grandeur.


    You are Ulyssian, born to House Sesus of the Dynasty. As a citizen of the Realm, you've been taught from birth to idolize and aspire to its heroes: the Exalted of the Immaculate Dragons. Princes of the Earth and capable of superhuman feats, they hold every privilege and position of significance - social, spiritual, or military. Many children dream of Exaltation, but the Dragon-Blooded are not made, they are born. The overwhelming majority of Dragon-Blooded Exalt before the age of seventeen.

    As you approach your nineteenth year, it became increasingly clear that you were not an Exalt born. Though you are doomed to mere humanity, however, you have not resigned yourself to mediocrity. With the reinstatement of Headmaster Zao, the Imperial Naval Academy has returned to his unusual merits-only entry exam. For the first time in many decades, there is the possibility of a fully-commissioned mortal officer. Of course, the inherent skill of the Dragon-Blooded has always meant that such an exam was no barrier to a full class of Exalts. Who ever heard of a mortal commanding a Prince of the Earth?

    No one, until you arrived. Somehow, you managed to attain a score in the top ten percentile of a field composed entirely of Exalts. Somehow, you were accepted.

    Since your acceptance, you've arrived at the Naval Academy and were placed, among with four others, under the coveted supervision of Headmaster Zao himself. This is a position that has lead to no little jealousy and resentment from many of your classmates, especially given your status as a mere mortal. Nonetheless you have persevered, determined to prove to the Realm and yourself that though you are not Exalted, you are not their lesser.

    The Empress may have disappeared, but the power of her eleven Dynastic Houses has waxed if anything. As a Dynast, near-royalty, you were expected to Exalt early. Your cousins and friends certainly did, for all that they worked one-tenth your share. Every year you did not, your parents and mentors turned their attention ever-so-slightly away, until the age of your majority, when you were a Dynast in name only. Determined to prove yourself worthy of that name, you redoubled your efforts and redoubled them again. You were not handed your power. You were not born into it. Through hard work and excruciating practice, you will earn it.


    [ ] Hand of Destiny - You are destined to become a mortal of great import. Though the obstacles in your way will be titanic, circumstances will align in your favor. One might say you have friends in high places, though you know it not. You are far less likely to die and more capable of directly opposing the efforts of the Exalted. Should you Exalt, you lose any mechanical benefits but may retain the favor of those who have cultivated your destiny for your entire life. No Terrestrial Exaltation possible. Favored Instructor: Reminiscent Ivory, Grand Strategist.​
    [ ] Late Bloomer - All things come to those who wait. Within your soul lies the potent for a Terrestrial Exaltation, though it remains latent still. Nonetheless, you are a full-blooded main branch member of House Sesus, and your resolve will be rewarded in time. Guaranteed Terrestrial Exaltation at some point. No Celestial Exaltation possible. Favored Instructor: Mnemon Verona, Master-at-Arms.​
    [ ] Tinkerer - Power was not handed to you. You'll forge it with your own two hands. Though you were neither especially talented or deficient in the arts of crafting and thaumaturgy, they are your primary sources of advantage when dealing with those whose innate powers exceed yours. With the (reluctantly-given) resources and infrastructure of both a Great House and the Naval Academy, you will show that ingenuity can be a more than adequate substitute for mere power. No Terrestrial Exaltation possible. Favored Instructor: Tepet Numida, Essence Scientist.​
    [ ] Pure - No fated circumstances, no latent Princedom, no especial access to magical infrastructure. No inherent advantages. Greater than the power of an Exalt is the spirit of the Exalted. Even a mortal can accomplish wonders, if he adheres to that spirit. Favored Instructor: Lung Fen Zao, Headmaster.​
    Your Favored Instructor will be disposed towards you and will likely be an enormous asset in your time at the Academy. Choose well. As Zao is already your Supervising Instructor, choosing him as Favored makes him marginally more inclined to teach you.​
  3. Rihaku

    Rihaku The Internet

    Character Mechanics

    You can skip the next two posts if you're not interested in the nitty-gritty of the mechanical system.

    Sesus Ulyssian

    XP 0

    Banked 309,400

    Heroic Mortal


    STR 5
    DEX 5
    STA 5

    CHA 2
    MAN 3
    APP 3

    INT 4
    WITS 5
    PER 5


    Archery 3 (+3 Longbows)
    Melee 5 (+3 Swords)
    War 5 (+3 Against Exalts)

    Integrity 5 (+3 Sheer Will)
    Performance 1
    Presence 4 (+3 Manipulation)
    Resistance 5 (+3 Disciplined)
    Survival 3

    Investigation 5 (+3 Careful Analysis)
    Lore 4 (+3 Exams)
    Medicine 4 (+1 First Aid, +2 Poison)
    Occult 3

    Athletics 5 (+3 Agility)
    Awareness 5 (+3 In Battle)
    Dodge 5 (+3 Against Exalts)
    Larceny 5 (+3 Sleight of Hand)
    Stealth 5 (+3 Ambush and Assassination)

    Bureaucracy 3 (+2 The Realm)
    Linguistics 4
    Ride 1
    Sail 3
    Socialize 3 (+2 Realm Culture)


    Compassion 2
    Conviction 5
    Temperance 2
    Valor 5


    Willpower 9
    Luck 5
    Ascending Destinies - +1 success to all physical actions. In combat, +1 success once per round. +1 Virtue channel when performing a physical action.

    Combat Pool 13
    Health Levels 8

    Experience Costs:

    Mental and Physical

    Attribute Rank: 5,000 XP
    5th Attribute Rank: 10,000 XP

    Specialty Rank: 2,000 XP
    Skill Rank: 3,500 XP
    5th Skill Rank: 7,000 XP


    Attribute Rank: 10,000 XP
    5th Attribute Rank: 20,000 XP

    Specialty Rank: 4,000 XP
    Skill Rank: 7,000 XP
    5th Skill Rank: 14,000 XP

    Virtues can be raised by roleplaying. You can also bank XP in the event of your Exaltation. If you commit to banking it when you get it (i.e. now), you will receive 10% extra XP when you finally do Exalt.
  4. Rihaku

    Rihaku The Internet

    Combat Mechanics

    The system functions very similarly to the base Exalted system, with some major changes, inspired mainly by the Riddle of Steel RPG. These can be summed up as:

    1) No tick system

    2) Rather than using your full dicepool for every attack and defense, you split up your Combat Pool between different actions each round.

    Your Combat Pool is simply (Attribute + Ability + Speciality + Equipment bonuses). Mundane equipment doesn't give a bonus. We will focus on pure 1v1 combat for the moment, since that's what seems to be immediately relevant. At the beginning of the first round of combat, check for initiative via opposed (Wits + Awareness) roll. Both players simultaneously declare whether they will be [attacking] or [defending]. If one attacks and one defends, proceed as normal. If both attack, the character that wins initiative likely wins the duel. If both defend, they circle each other and move on to the next round. It is advantageous to attack, so typically the character that wins initiative attacks and the one that loses, defends. To act otherwise is the province of the overwhelmingly powerful, the quick, or the desperate.

    The steps of combat are:

    0) Roll initiative if it's the first round. Refresh Combat Pools.
    1) Players declare attack or defense
    2) Attacker spends dice from his combat pool towards his attack. Defender does the same to construct his DV.
    3) Attack is resolved. The winner of the exchange in 2) now determines whether he is attacking or defending (the winner almost always decides to attack)
    4) Attacker and Defender spend dice from their combat pools again. Their roles may have changed.
    5) Second exchange is resolved and round is over.

    That means, in any given round, your character may attack twice, defend twice, attack and then defend, or defend and then attack. Your Combat Pool can be augmented via Willpower, Channeling Virtues, Luck, Internal and External Factors, or Charms (typically Excellencies). Dragon-Blooded, for example, can add up to (Ability + Specialty) dice to their combat pool every round, if they can afford the motes.

    Damage is calculated as (Margin of Success + STR + Weapon Damage - Enemy Soak)/2, round up, in Health Levels. When a mortal takes damage, he suffers Shock equal to twice the number of Health Levels taken. Shock is subtracted directly from your combat pool; if it reduces your pool to 0, leftover Shock rolls over into the next round. He also suffers Pain, a persistent Combat Pool reduction each round, beginning the round after the wound was inflicted. Pain is equal to half Shock, rounded down. For mortals, getting hit is very, very bad. A margin of success of 0, unlike in Ex2, is considered a miss - the defender wins the exchange.

    Exalts suffer Shock equal to the number of Health Levels lost, and leftover Shock does not roll over for them. They suffer Pain commensurate to this reduced level of Shock. They may have Charms to further reduce this.

    Your weapon is a broadsword, an all-rounder weapon with a damage value of 2. It does not add to or penalize your combat pool. You are wearing masterwork lacquered field plate, with a soak value of 4.


    Here are your maneuvers; Ulyssian knows pretty much every maneuver that can be performed with a sword. There are many decision points whereby you can gain an advantage.

    Offensive Maneuvers

    Used when you declare an attack, but not necessarily offensive in nature. Some maneuvers have a Combat Pool activation cost, listed in parenthesis.

    Feint (0+ CP) - As a normal attack, but after the enemy declares defensive dice, you may add additional dice to your attack at a rate of 2 CP : 1 die. Each successive feint against the same opponent raises the activation cost of this ability against that opponent by 1 CP.

    Beat (1 CP) - Swat the target's weapon away, unbalancing and possibly disarming them. As a normal attack, but no damage is done. On a success, the defender cannot use his Parry DV in the next exchange. Every two successes in the attacker’s margin reduce the defender’s CP by 3 as a Shock effect. Can only be used as the first action in a round where initiative was rolled.

    Evasive Attack (1 CP) - An attack designed to limit enemy offensive options rather than kill. Increase the TN of this attack, and of your opponent’s current or next attack, by 1.

    Lock / Bind (2 CP) - Locking with the enemy’s weapon in such a manner as to open up a clean follow-through. As a normal attack, but each success in the attack’s margin penalizes the enemy’s PDV in the next exchange by 1 CP, in addition to normal damage.

    Parrying Strike (1/3 CP) - Useful only if both you and your opponent have declared an attacking action. Allows you to divide your CP between attack and PDV in the same exchange. The activation cost is 1 for one-handed weapons, and 3 for two-handers. Weapons that can shift between one and two hands use the one-handed cost.

    Commit (Variable CP) - Spend up to (STR) CP; increase your weapon's Damage by 1 for each CP spent.

    Defensive Maneuvers

    Total Evasion (0+ CP) - Attempt to disengage from combat. Dodge with TN 5. If successful, you interrupt the flow of combat. Typically followed by re-engaging (roll Initiative again), attempting to flee (generally, a contested Athletics check), or attempting to hide (a contested Stealth vs. Awareness check). CP cost increases by 2 for each subsequent Total Evasion in the same scene. May not be possible depending on environment.

    Block Open for Strike (2 CP) - Deflect an incoming attack such as to leave your opponent wide open, then exploit the opening. If you defend successfully with PDV, each success in your margin adds one die to your next attack against the target.

    Counter (3 CP) - Receive the opponent’s attack and use its force against him. As Block Open and Strike, but every success the attacker rolled becomes a die in your next attack.

    General Maneuvers

    Can be used when attacking or defending.

    Exploit Reach (0 CP) - Skilled combatants can make it difficult to close with a long weapon, or repel a short one. If your weapon is significantly longer than your opponent's, you may add 2 dice to defense actions against them. If your weapon is significantly shorter than your opponent's, and you successfully strike them, you may add 2 dice to further attacks against them. Some weapons, such as Goremauls, cannot Exploit Reach.

    Steal Initiative (2+ CP) - Pay to force an immediate re-roll of Initiative. Activation cost increases by 2 each time it's attempted. Can only be used on the first exchange of a round.

    Half-Sword / Choke Up (3 CP) - Pay the activation cost to enter Half-Sword stance, which reduces your weapon’s effective reach. Reduce your attack TN by 1 when Half-Swording, due to the increased control and leverage. You may release Half-Sword stance in the middle of an attack; this restores its normal TN but increases its weapon damage by 3. Only certain weapons can be used Half-Sword.
  5. Rihaku

    Rihaku The Internet

  6. The Nomad

    The Nomad Not Elsewhere Either

    Magus Quest is dead ? Shame....
    But hurrah for the Sword s resurrection!
  7. Tetsurou

    Tetsurou Communist Penguin


    Welcome back Rihaku.
  8. A new Rihaku so soon, and that back in exalted?
    HecateGW likes this.
  9. Rushil

    Rushil Not-so-Active Member

    Hell yes.

    [X] Pure
  10. HIMP_Dahak

    HIMP_Dahak This post approved by Desus.

    Dragonblood [Late Bloomer] sounds fun. Especially given we're not using actual Exalted rules. We'll be weaker, but not a mook like 2e rules, and still perfectly capable of killing Exalts. And we haven't done DB yet!
  11. [X] Tinkerer
  12. Rihaku

    Rihaku The Internet

    The prelude segments have been posted to the story-only thread.
  13. Rihaku

    Rihaku The Internet

    Well, Sword was "dead" too, but that is not dead which can forever lie.

    We will indeed be using a new mechanics system for Odyssey, though it won't be the one I used for Sword.
  14. God and the Snake

    God and the Snake Semi-professional Killjoy

    Oh yeah, we are live!

    Leaning towards Pure, because I like the way it sounds.
  15. Darik29

    Darik29 Verified Delicious

    [X] Late Bloomer - All things come to those who wait. Within your soul lies the potent for a Terrestrial Exaltation, though it remains latent still. Nonetheless, you are a full-blooded main branch member of House Sesus, and your resolve will be rewarded in time. Guaranteed Terrestrial Exaltation at some point. No Celestial Exaltation possible. Favored Instructor: Mnemon Verona, Master-at-Arms.

    Sounds interesting, and playing as a Dragonblooded is awesome, when done right.
  16. Rihaku

    Rihaku The Internet

    Remember, as usual, the weight of argument is greater than the weight of sheer numbers. I would not suggest going for Pure unless you guys are prepared to invest the effort and thoughtfulness required; it is a lot more dangerous.
    Fellgar likes this.
  17. The Nomad

    The Nomad Not Elsewhere Either

    I really don't know what to choose. Late Bloomer is appealing because I'm suffering from a dearth of Dynastic games. I also like the mystical SCIENCE! approach of the thaumaturge in the Tinkerer, and would also like to play as a potential Sidereal with the Hand of Destiny (the Great Curse might simulate the effects of SB groupthink quite well - or is it the other way around?).

    Well, I'm not too sure for now; since it is pretty late here and the vote may be concluded by the time I wake up, I will provisionnally choose

    [X] Hand of Destiny

    At least, unless a convincing argument sways me by then.
  18. [X] Late Bloomer

  19. Just to clarify, does a choice of Pure mean 'No Exaltation Ever' or is it simply a statement of intent to surpass all obstacles through sheer effort and spirit? To be all that a mortal can be?

    At the moment, though, I am leaning towards Tinkerer. Sheer will alone may be insufficient, but when reinforced by knowledge, skill, effort, and ingenuity, great things may be achieved. In the field, the majority of Exalts seem more concerned with the extent and exercise of their power, rather than the nature and metaphysics behind them. If you know and manipulate the rules (to the extent possible), then perhaps you can manage to play at least a slightly different game than everyone else. And if you set the game, you also impact the winning conditions.
  20. I will go to bed in a matter of minutes and can't really muster any kind of argument for either options-which all sounds interesting by the way- so I post mainly to signal my participation.
  21. Rihaku

    Rihaku The Internet

    All options are capable of Exalting. Pure just means you get none of the advantages the others do.
  22. [X] Tinkerer
  23. HymnOfRagnarok

    HymnOfRagnarok Oh RNG who art in Heaven, deliver us from evil.

    I'm...unsure to be honest. I was getting the heavy impression from the end of Sword that our guy was definitely not your bog-standard mortal even before the Exaltation. And aren't those the same names?

    So this could be time travel to the eternal recurrence, where given a long enough timeline everything will repeat itself.

    Learning towards Late Bloomer or Hand of Destiny myself. Former because it's a completely different track from before. Latter because Rihaku tends to be pretty good at giving us cool fates/hidden secrets to strive towards and then surprising us anyways.

    It'd be especially interesting to go the way of strategy, or even Tinkerer, and problem solve that way because with the argument-weight system, the good plans can shine through without worrying about voting blocs and whatnot.
  24. God and the Snake

    God and the Snake Semi-professional Killjoy

    [ ] Late Bloomer

    I want to give it a shot.
  25. Rihaku

    Rihaku The Internet

    The primary differences between Ulyssian and a Heroic Mortal circa Exalted 2.5 were:

    1) They operated under different mechanical systems
    2) Ulyssian's base character is built on a lot more XP than the average Heroic Mortal. He's close to peak Heroic Mortal as far as combat capabilities goes - the strongest a normal human can ever be.

    Other than that, he was just a mortal, though an exceptionally determined one.
    buytbuyt and Fellgar like this.