Exalted Mutations III – Movement, Senses, and Life Support

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So far, Part I (basic rules and Essence Awakening) and Part II (Healing and Durability), have covered some of the most basic functions – so next up we have enhanced movement modes, unusual senses, and the ability to survive in exotic environments.

Unlike an essence pool, healing abilities, and durability – all things which are almost universally handy – most character’s conceptions don’t really call for the ability to fly, being able to sense dangerous wyld “radiation”, or the ability to breathe water. Such things can be very handy at times, and can offer characters a good way to differentiate themselves from others and let them show off once in awhile – but finding ways for a character to show off is less of a problem in Exalted than in many other systems.

Still, if you want an exotic character, adding a few mutations – or a charm which lets you take them on when you need them – is a quick and simple way to go.


These mutations are often pretty handy; charms and sorcery can grant a lot of these abilities – but require motes and time to use, while a mutation is just THERE.

On the other hand, most scenarios won’t call for any enhanced movement abilities or supply special steeds or something to provide them so that everyone gets to play. Secondarily, you don’t want to leave the rest of the group behind, and you certainly don’t want to have to try and handle everything yourself – which means that most of the time you’re going to have to restrain yourself, stick with the rest of the party, and simply use your enhanced movement abilities as a tactical edge. They’re useful that way, but hardly overwhelming.

Now I’m not going to be providing complex details on movement powers. “Slow” is at a fraction of Dex, Fast is at a multiple, and the situation will tend to trump things; if you’re racing through a forest, there’s not much chance of catching a flyer – unless they’re a bad one and can only go a little ways before having to use another treetop to get a new takeoff.

All forms of enhanced movement grant one bonus success on appropriate athletics rolls, making botches impossible. If you’re a swimming mutant, you aren’t going to flub your roll to stay afloat under any normal circumstances.

  • Brachiation: May swing and climb with no need to roll for ordinary activities (1), move at normal ground speeds (2), swing along at galloping-horse speeds in relevant environments, such as a forest, a maze of pipes in Autochthon, or similar (4), always have poles/vines/ropes/chandeliers handy to swing on (+1).
  • Clinging: Enhanced climbing (1), slow wall-crawling (2), at normal ground speeds (4), able to support large weights (+1). Very slick surfaces may call for athletics checks, but never at more than D2.
  • Flight: Half falling damage (1), immune to falling damage (2), slow flight/gliding (4), fast flight (6), superheroic flight (8). Able to carry heavy loads (+1), with inertialess maneuvering (+1).
  • Running: Creatures that can’t normally walk, run, and jump – or are unsatisfied with their abilities along those lines – can buy crawling (1), normal ground movement (2), enhanced leaping (4), and light foot (6). No need for traction (+1). Most characters start off with two points worth of this mutation.
  • Swimming: enhanced swimming (1), at normal ground speeds (2), at high speeds (4), able to tow large amounts of weight (+1), able to swim up waterfalls and such (+1), with no penalties for fighting or maneuvering in the water (+1).
  • Tunneling: Very slow (1), half walking pace (2), walking pace (4), running pace (6), may selectively leave or close tunnel (+1).
  • Enhanced Movement Mode: +2 to Dex for calculating speed, +2 to appropriate maneuvers (jump for ground movement, acrobatics for flight, diving for swimming, etc), and +1 to any competitive rolls (1). Double these bonuses for (2), triple them for (4), and quadruple them for (6). These bonuses apply to a particular movement mode only – most commonly land movement.


Senses are pretty straightforward; you pay your points and you acquire the ability to detect something that most people can’t. The more powerful the sense, the more expensive it becomes.

Senses have, in general, have had special die-rolls and such eliminated and their price increased to compensate; endlessly rolling to see if someone’s senses work is a pointless nuisance – but if you must have it, I’ve included a modifier to reduce the cost again.

In general, I recommend taking senses that get you more information, rather than simply taking senses that negate penalties. Information-gathering senses are a quick and easy game master aid; if there’s hidden information that most other characters will not find, the character who can has a few built-in moments of stardom, there’s an obvious reason why NPC’s haven’t found said clue, and the characters unique trick automatically shines. Senses that simply let the character see in the dark or negate some penalty aren’t nearly as handy for the game master – and are only important until someone else produces some other way to compensate.

Some of the more common additional and enhanced senses are given below, but there are hundreds of other possibilities.

  • (1): Darksight (negates penalties for darkness), Spherical Perception (negates dodge DV penalty for being surrounded), See the Invisible, Spatial Awareness (negates the automatic unexpected attack from being completely surrounded), Fogsight (a +2 bonus to see things in the fog rather than a penalty), Directional Sense (always know the direction to a chosen elemental pole – or other magical power source, such as the nearest gate to a particular realm), Ultrasonic Hearing (hear extremely high-frequency sounds), Telescopic Vision, Fetter Sense (can detect if an object is a fetter – and for which ghost), Sense Blood Relations, Weather Prediction.
  • (2): Echolocation (can “see” all around, and with a better range in water), Deathsight (see illness and impending death), Thermal Sight, Aura Reading (get glimpses of peoples personality and of their power level), Diagnostic Sense (determine medical conditions), Analytical Taste (can get precise breakdowns of flavors and components), Analytical Scent (can track by scent and learn about targets emotions and physical condition via scent), Presence Sense (senses the presence of a particular type of creature – Raksha, Lunar Exalts, Humans, etc – nearby unless they’re hidden by special-purpose effects).
  • (3): Spirit Sight, Vibratory Sense (detect moving things and sense vibrations in a radius), Short-Range Clairsentience, Prophecy (get random clues and visions from the Storyteller), Motivation Sense, Social Sight (can see social and emotional bonds), Mineralogical Detection (can sense ores, crystals, fractures, and so on in the earth), Universal Translator (can sense the true meaning of any attempt to communicate information).
  • (4): All-Encompassing Sorcerer’s Sight, Telepathy, Medium-Range Clarisentience, Danger Sense (attacks are never “unexpected” unless the source is supernaturally hidden), Destiny Detection (can tell when something is important to the plot),
  • In general, (+1) to automatically get details about the subject of your sense, (+2) to automatically get a precise analysis of the subject of your sense, (+1) to automatically get (Int/2) successes with your sense, (+2) to automatically get (Int) successes with your sense. If the sense requires a die roll simply to operate, apply a (-1) to a minimum of (1).

Life Support:

These mutations render the user less dependent on a “liveable” external environment. This is yet another cool, but relatively unimportant effect simply because – once again – characters normally operate as a part of a group. Ergo, most of the places the storyteller will be sending you are going to have to be accessible to the rest of the group. Still, a few life support effects can make life a lot easier at times – and do allow for interesting moments, such as being the only one who can easily survive in the magma-filled underground passages and retrieve this weeks plot coupon.

  • (1) You can eat, digest, and live on any organic material. For (+1) you can do so with relatively harmless inorganic materials, such as sand and snow. For (+2) you do not need to eat or drink at all. For (+3) you can safely eat, drink, and live on horrifically dangerous substances, such as molten lead.
  • (1) You can tolerate normal weather extremes without difficulty. For (+1) you are also impervious to vacuum, high pressure, radiation, and similar hazards. For (+3) you are impervious to natural environmental damage and suffer only half the final effects of intentionally-created hazards. Thus, for example, you can wade through a volcano’s lava flows unharmed – but a spell that blasts you with lava is backed by the caster’s essence, and so will still have some effect on you. (-1) if your immunity is restricted, say you are only immune to volcanic heat, rather than glacial cold.
  • (2) You do not need to breathe as long as you can draw essence from your surroundings. That’s usually any one of Creation (includes Yu Shan and Sanctums), the Wyld (includes Tainted Lands), Malfeas (includes desert Holy Lands and other desecrations), or the Underworld (includes Shadowlands). For (-1) you cannot long survive outside an area where you can draw essence or require some alternative substance to breathe, such as water. For +2 you don’t have to breathe at all, anywhere – but you can’t combine this with an inability to survive in areas where you cannot draw essence.

3 Responses

  1. […] Basics and Essence Awakening, Healing and Durability, Movement, Senses, and Life Support: Revised rules for […]

  2. […] and Essence Awakening, Healing and Durability, Movement, Senses, and Life Support: Revised rules for […]

  3. […] and Essence Awakening, Healing and Durability, Movement, Senses, and Life Support: Revised rules for […]

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