[SotC] Spirt of the Unconquered Sun

Tindel

Retired User
#1
I recently got a chance to read through Spirit of the Century. I like it - a lot. My gaming group has found that d&d or exalted is too crunchy for everyone's tastes, while something like wushu is too...fluffy? SotC seems like a great midpoint between the two, plus aspect mechanics are really cool.

So, i'm going to pitch a campaign idea at some point for the group using this system, but beforehand i'd like to get a bit of rules mastery. To that end, the first thing i'll do is to rip apart the rules and drag them kicking and screaming into a new configuration :p.

The objective - to make SotC do solar exalted with a minimum of rules modifications.

Some ideas i have from my first read through:

Aspects don't need any modifications at all, aside from picking setting-specific ones.

Skills simply need to be renamed, for the most part. Some skills like resources and contacting are handled as backgrounds in exalted, but that shouldn't be a problem. This should be the easiest part of the conversion.

Stunts is where charm mechanics get transferred over, if at all possible. Since SotC characters have significantly fewer stunts than exalts have charms, i was thinking of approaching charms a bit differently. You wouldn't get new charms, you'd get new 'styles'. Each style would give you a few abilities that could be accessed in different ways.

An example - solar melee style would give you the system equivalent of heavenly guardian defense, iron whirlwind, glorious solar saber, 1st excellency, fivefold bulwark stance and solar counterattack. Something like iron whirlwind would require a fate point to activate, while the rest would be available at will.

Perhaps there should be two levels of power for each ability based on whether an anima flare is present or not. Alternatively, maybe there should be an 'essence' skill which needs to be rolled against at progressively harder difficulties every time you use a charm ability. When you fail that roll, your anima increases by one step. I'm more partial to the first option.

Mechanical effects seem fairly straightforward for the most part. Excellencies simply increase your effective skill level while they're active. Iron whirlwind (and extra action charms in general) would let you affect everyone in the same zone with a single action. Counterattack charms let you get a free shot in (this may bog down resolution too much, highly possible this class of effects needs to be scrapped), glorious solar saber means you're never unarmed...perhaps let it add an extra level of stress on a successful attack. Fivefold bulwark should increase your defenses as if you're taking a full defensive action for the rest of the combat.

I think perfect defenses need to be approached a bit differently. Since SotC doesn't have death spiral health levels, a thought occurs - have every activation of a perfect defense add a point of stress. Perhaps go further, have every activation of a perfect defense add a point of stress in the alternative stress track. For example, HGD adds a point of stress into the composure track rather than the health stress track. Something like elusive dream defense would eat into the health stress track. Not sure if adding a fate point requirement on top of that is a good idea, though i'd provisionally say no.

Social charm effects may be problematic. My first reaction was to have powerful social charms affect aspects directly, but that would kind of make the composure stress track useless. On the other hand, aspects don't absolutely dictate a character. So something like husband seducing demon dance might create an aspect 'in love with solar steve', which steve could then tag to help his rapport (presence) persuasion attempt. Saying the aspect is 'magically in love with solar steve' may be a better idea. Thoughts?

The gadgets rules seem to cover artifacts with no modifcation required aside from naming things a bit more Creationish.

So - anything that seems radically wrong and/or badly thought out? Am i missing anything important? General thoughts?
 

sabbatregent

Usuario Registrado
#2
Man, if you do cook up a FATE mod for Exalted, please PM me. I have this annoyingly pesky player who want's to play Exalted, but none of the GMs here is willing to learn all the rules, since real life tend to impose on that.

That being said, I would recomend you to go to the Files section of the Fate Yahoo Group, on http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/FateRPG/files/, and check out Skyfall.

It's a FATE build that does something very similar to the styles thing you propose to tackle the charms. It even uses a mana pool, like Exalted's Essence, so that wouldn't go away either. Some of the Styles of Skyfall could actually be used in Exalted.

Good luck with the project!
 

Tindel

Retired User
#3
Man, if you do cook up a FATE mod for Exalted, please PM me. I have this annoyingly pesky player who want's to play Exalted, but none of the GMs here is willing to learn all the rules, since real life tend to impose on that.

That being said, I would recomend you to go to the Files section of the Fate Yahoo Group, on http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/FateRPG/files/, and check out Skyfall.

It's a FATE build that does something very similar to the styles thing you propose to tackle the charms. It even uses a mana pool, like Exalted's Essence, so that wouldn't go away either. Some of the Styles of Skyfall could actually be used in Exalted.

Good luck with the project!
Thanks for the link, i'll look into it.

I'm trying pretty hard not to include an explicit essence pool mechanic in this conversion - I wasn't the biggest fan of it in exalted, and considering fate points there isn't a need for it in here. It doesn't seem like trackng an extra resource would really add anything interesting.
 
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Rob Donoghue

Registered User
Validated User
#5
We did this for a while, and while I can't find my notes, the <a href="http://www.logrus.com/~moose/ex2.pdf">character sheets</a> may offer some insight.

One thing we did was effectively use essence rating as the essence pool, so characters had essences of 2 or three. However, rather than making it deplete, we just said that that was how many points could be spent during each exchange.

Adopting the charms from first ed was actually pretty straightforward, and we shorthanded the notation so that "Awareness+" meant "Each point of essence increases awareness by 1", with "Investigation++" being an increase by 2 (suitable for automatic successes) and so on.

Honestly, the mechanics were nice, but the real power of things came from the character generation. For us, the phases were:

1. Memories of the First Age
2. Memories of the First Age
3. Youth
4. Exaltation
5. Since Exaltation

We all had a shared youth, as part of the background, but what was most magnificent was that each of our memories of the first age had to involve another player's character, and while _we_ had that memory, the other person didn't, at least not initially. That created a wonderfully nuanced web, as in the case of one character remembering being killed by another, but not knowing why, and the other character knew why, but didn't remember acting on it.

We eventually switch to try Weapons of the Gods, then Exalted 2nd for the rules, but if we had not done the chargen in fate, I swear, the game would not have had half the sheer _oomph_ it did. Sadly, it's defunct now, but the <a href='http://www.angrygamer.org/~ashwath/Fifty/'>GM's notes</a> are still up online, and worth a look.


-Rob D.
 

Andurion

Registered User
Validated User
#6
We all had a shared youth, as part of the background, but what was most magnificent was that each of our memories of the first age had to involve another player's character, and while _we_ had that memory, the other person didn't, at least not initially. That created a wonderfully nuanced web, as in the case of one character remembering being killed by another, but not knowing why, and the other character knew why, but didn't remember acting on it.
That's a clever approach, kind of like the standard SotC creation but reversed (characters "guest star" in the beginning phases as opposed to the final ones).
 

CLAVDIVS

Postmodern Futurist
Validated User
#8
Oh SHIT yes.

Some specific thoughts: Charms are very specific powers that do a particular thing, while stunts can be a bit more broad. I'd suggest grouping charms according to what in general you can do with them, and making stunts out of those groups. For example, Iron Raptor Technique, Sandstorm-Wind Attack, and Blazing Solar Bolt all allow melee attacks at range, so I'd make a stunt out of them that just lets you do exactly that (perhaps spent a Fate if you want to have your weapon available for defense until your next action); all the rest is narration.

Counterattacks: rather than allowing a separate attack, how about when you defend with Fists or Weaponry and win, the shifts you get are treated as a successful attack? You'd have to decide if they can get Spin and return damage if they get 3 or more shifts, or if they have to choose one or the other.

Lastly, for aspects: For the Exaltation phase, I'd suggest requiring one of the aspects to mention your caste. Not that you have to have an aspect of just "Dawn caste" or "Night caste", but perhaps "Courage of the Dawn" or "Silent like Night".

EDIT: Cleaned up phrasing (saying 'stunts' when I meant 'charms').
 
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Tindel

Retired User
#9
Lots of good info here.

Let me try to address some specific topics:

Character creation.

You guys are right that I should've looked over this section more carefully. Rob's listing of creation phases is excellent, but i'll throw out the idea that this place is the most effective point to customize your campaign. If you're going for a campaign heavily pushing how the new exalts first age incarnations affect their current lives, then his phases are really good. My campaign had perhaps 4 sessions where this ever became an issue, and i'd be more interested in starting out at a higher power level, so my creation phases might look like...

1.Childhood
2.Exaltation (I agree with claudius that mention of your caste should be worked into here)
3.Adventure with your entire circle
4.Adventure alone against a powerful foe
5.Major change to Creation that you were at least partially responsible for

Kasumi's thread about advanced character creation would be a good resource for alternative phases, as well.


Charms:

Looking over the character sheets that Rob linked to, and considering claudius' thoughts, perhaps putting entire styles into a single stunt is too much. SotC gives less stunts than exalted gives charms, but only by about 1/2. Plus, stunts are always on unless explicitly cited that you have to pay for them somehow, which makes them stronger than their equivalent charm most of the time. There's also a lot fewer mechanics to hang effects off of, which means you don't need as many stunts to be powerful.

Some effects that should probably require resource use - excellencies, perfect defenses, extra action charms. Excellencies because increasing your effective skill level is really, really powerful in SotC. you only roll 4 dice, which are likely to have no real effect on your total effort on a given task. An excellency which could, say, double your superb-class skill is vastly more important than the dice in that case. I'm thinking that flattening out the skill pyramid might be a good idea if excellencies are present - by that i mean you'd start with 4 skills at good, 5 at fair and 6 at average. In that way you could reinforce the point that magical beings are really, really better than normal folks without bloating the system too much. Tying in animas, i'd envision 4 levels of excellency use - 1st would be always-on, +1(2?) to any skill attempt. 2nd would be no anima flaring, spending a fate point which would give you +3(4?) to any skill attempt. 3rd would be anima flaring, always-on, which gives +2 to any skill attempt. 4th would be anima flaring, fate point spent which would double your skill for a task. Anima flare activation would have to be voluntary in that model.


I like the idea of having counterattack charms affecting spin rather than giving more attacks. Perhaps make it so that if a counterattack effect is present, then as long as you succeed at defense you automatically get spin. The question then becomes, should counterattacks be always-on abilities, or tied to resources in some way? I'd probably use ready in eight direction stance as a model and say that anytime the character is in that stance, they get the counterattack effects.

This makes me think about 'Stance' type charms and how they can interact with aspects though. Assume that you get a new aspect 'ready in eight directions' when you activate that charm. You could invoke this as normal to help any defensive attempts (by using a fate point), but this opens up the interesting kung-fu movie schtick of 'ah ha! i know the weakness of that stance because i studied the nine-direction attack approach scroll!' which would allow it to be compelled. Any scene-long effects that get translated over might be best represented by having them give temporary aspects when invoked.
 

fifth_child

The devil in these details
Validated User
#10
If I were to go for a Charm-by-Charm conversion to Stunts, probably the biggest change I'd make is to collapse any Charms that are just better iterations and their previous versions into a single Stunt.

CLAVDIVS said:
Lastly, for aspects: For the Exaltation phase, I'd suggest requiring one of the aspects to mention your caste. Not that you have to have an aspect of just "Dawn caste" or "Night caste", but perhaps "Courage of the Dawn" or "Silent like Night".
Good call.
 
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