Dualistic Exalted

   The Dualistic Exalted were designed for those who wanted to either use the Exalted setting with much more human characters or for those who wanted to run dimension-hopping games. The Dualistic Exalted are still reasonably formidable, but they aren’t capable of defeating armies. Our little party wandered through Creation, Modern Earth, and the Weird West, among other places. Worked fine.

 

Dualistic Character Generation

   Dualistic Exalts come into being when an individual comes to be anchored in two dimensions at once. Dimensions have a built-in drive towards consistency; it’s part of what defines them. When someone or -thing suddenly drops in, it tends to be forcibly fitted in to an existing role – subsuming some similar entity (or analog, if any exist). If the travel was physical this is permanent and irreversible. If spiritual, it can be renounced, and the link broken. Regardless, the original visitor normally dominates the combination.

   Either way, while the link exists, the being in question combines the strengths of its components and becomes a conduit for an exchange of dimensional energies. Most such beings soon learn to tap into some portion of those esoteric forces, enhancing their attributes and abilities, tapping into the forces of either dimension at will, and manifesting a bewildering variety of prodigies.

   Whether they were or not to begin with, with their combined abilities Dualists are created as Heroic Mortals and then modified as per Undergoing Duality Exaltation, below. Already-exalted characters are too firmly anchored in one dimension to undergo Duality Exaltation.

 

Select Character Origin:

   Earth: Gain access to the Academics, Computer, Drive, Engineering, and Firearms skills. May not take the Artifact, Familiar, Knowledge, or Manse backgrounds, the Occult skill, or mystical merits. May take the Experience background at a maximum level of 2 if, and only if, the character background justifies it. Get 21 bonus points.

   Creation: May take the Knowledge, Manse, and Artifact backgrounds at maximum level of 2 (Artifact may be taken up to three times) if the character background justifies it. Gain access to the Advanced Thaumaturgy rules even if they’re not in general use and may take the thaumaturgic sciences as skills, with a cap equal to the user’s Occult skill. Get 21 bonus points.

 

Choose:

  • Nature: Chosen normally. Not usually stressed much.

  • Attributes: All have a base of 1, 6/4/3 points to spend. No more that one at 5 – and a cap of 4 is recommended. +1 per 4 bonus points spent.

  • Abilities: 25 points. No more than one at 5, but no other restrictions. +1 per 2 bonus points spent, +1 speciality per bonus point spent or +2 per ability point spent. One ability may be designated as “Favored”; no other ability may exceed it’s value, but it may be purchased or improved at half price.

  • Virtues: All have a base of 1, 5 Points to spend, may not go above 3 without spending bonus points at +1 per 3. Virtues will not be stressed; earth-origin characters may opt to ignore them and default to a base will of 5.

  • Willpower: Defaults to sum of two highest virtues or 5 if virtues are ignored, +1 per 2 bonus points.

  • Backgrounds: 5 Points, +1 per 1 bonus point. 12 Maximum.

  • Flaws: Maximum of -10 points, GM approval required. Gain +1 bonus point per -1 point of flaws taken. Some GM’s may allow additional flaws; it is suggested that flaws beyond -10 points be worth only half value.

  • Merits: +1 per bonus point spent. Thaumaturgic Rites and Arts cost 2 points each. No maximum.

  • Essence: 1. 2 for +10 bonus points, 3 for +25. Mortal characters do not get an essence pool and cannot attune to manses or artifacts unless they take relevant merits.

  • Intimacies: As usual.

 

Undergo Duality Exaltation

  • Gain access to the Focus ability at rating 1. You may transfer up to 2 dots from other abilities to it at this point.

  • Gain +2 Dots in each attribute category. No attribute may be raised above six however.

  • Gain +1 Essence. Dualists do not automatically gain an essence pool, but do gain the ability to sense energies alien to either one of the dimensions to which they are linked – such as magic and radiation for Earth/Creation.

  • Gain immunity to infection, drugs, radiation, toxins, and diseases unless the agent in question is administered in both worlds. Heal at twice the normal rate.

  • Increase Base Health Levels to 2x -0, 4x -1, 4x -2, 2x -4, Incapacitated, and (possibly) Dead. Dualists may make a Stamina + Focus check to survive in the second universe if “slain” in one, but may not return until fully healed.

  • Select a Heart Ability (NOT Focus). Rolls using that ability gain automatic successes equal to your essence.

  • Select four (non-Heart) abilities other than Focus to Master. Rolls with those abilities gain +2 bonus dice.

  • Develop Prodigies – special abilities awarded by the game master. Dualists may never have more than (Will) Prodigies. They will usually develop one game-master designed Prodigy shortly after their Exaltation, and will usually develop another of their choice within a few weeks without cost. Developing additional Prodigies will require expending experience and a lot of work.

   While no more than three specialities may be applied to any given action, the Dualistic Exalted are remarkably versatile: their specialities are no longer tied to specific abilities. A speciality in Cooking could be used with Craft to actually cook, with Lore to know about obscure foods, or even with Ride to make bait for horses.

 

Dualistic Experience:

  • Increase Attribute: Cost of Current Rating x 4, maximum of 6 or Essence, whichever is greater.

  • Increase Ability: Cost of Current Rating x 2, maximum of 6 or Essence, whichever is greater.

  • New Ability: Costs 3

  • New Speciality: Costs 3

  • Increase Virtue: Cost of Current Rating x 3, maximum of 5.

  • Increase Willpower: Cost of Current Rating x 2, maximum of 10.

  • Increase Essence: Cost of Current Rating x 10, maximum of 8.

  • Eliminate Flaw: Cost 2 x BP benefit of the flaw.

  • Add Merit, Art, or Ritual: Cost BP Cost x 2.

  • Gain a new Prodigy: Cost 20, maximum of (Will) prodigies.

  • New Flaw: Gain BP Cost x 2 UNLESS acquired through gross stupidity.

  • Increase Focus: Cost Current Rating x 4, maximum of (Essence).

  • Increase Mastery: 5 per extra Die in one of the character’s four Mastered abilities, maximum of (Essence+4) extra dice.

  • Add an Automatic Success with the Heart ability: 5 per success, to a maximum of (Essence+4) extra successes.

  • Acquire Background: Initial backgrounds are conserved; if you lose one on a permanent basis, you get to convert those points into another background. Acquired backgrounds may be turned into conserved backgrounds at a cost of 3 XP per dot. If not “fixed” in this fashion they can simply be removed by story events in the same way that they were acquired.

 

Focus

   Focus is what gives Dualistic characters the ability to operate in other dimensions easily. It lets them tap into the laws of either of their “home” dimensions at will, allowing them to make things work in dimensions where they shouldn’t. For example, an Earthly character in Creation can use a laptop computer or earthly antibiotics while a Creation character on Earth can use Thaumaturgy. Of course, this assumes that you make the check.

   Focus is normally rolled as a reflexive check when you’re trying to get something to work, but can be rolled actively if you’re trying to use it to produce an effect directly. Characters may opt to use (Manipulation + Focus) OR (Stamina + Focus) when they acquire the Focus ability; they may not change thereafter.

 

  • Standard (D0): Carry an unattuned small item or a sizable attuned item with you when transferring between universes, locate an item you’ve paid points for (and thus linked to you), strike a match or get a gun to fire in an incompatible universe, use a short-term thaumaturgic Art effect, negate minor magical or technological effects, or speak the local language (regardless of whether or not you know it).

  • Challenging (D2): Activate a minor item for a scene (radio, gun), carry a briefcase-sized unattuned item with you when transferring, activate a notable item or a minor item at range (get a grenade to detonate after you throw it, resist single-universe compulsions and psychic attacks, call an item you paid points for (and thus attuned) to you, produce a very minor item, use an immediate, localized, thaumaturgic Science effect or a moderate-term Art effect, make very minor items adapt to the local universe IF some local equivalent is available, or survive in a slowly-lethal environment by creating an environmental “bubble”.

  • Legendary (D4): Activate a major item (computer, tank) for a scene or use a notable item or power at range (large bomb, missile launcher, major ward), carry a person or similar sized unattuned item between universes, carry an attuned item up to the size of a house between universes, counteract a magical or technological effect by force of will, summon a spirit on earth, recreate an attuned item from nothingness, return to a universe where you were “killed” before completely healing, or survive in an utterly lethal region by creating an environmental “bubble”.

  • Incredible (D6): Shift between the worlds you’re linked with by force of will, work major weather control magic on earth, carry a large unattuned vehicle between worlds, create notable items, activate a grandiose item for a scene (fighter jet, major artifact), set up a house-sized area in which both sets of natural laws apply equally, assume a notable local role (with perks) when entering a universe.

  • Unbelievable (D8): Carry an army between worlds, use a fusion bomb in creation, shift into a dimension you’re not linked with, hurl something else into the inter-dimensional void, summon beings from earthly mythologies.

 

Common Prodigies

   These prodigies are the kind that can be intentionally developed. Instinct-driven or unconsciously-developed (I.E.: those created and assigned by the Game Master) prodigies are often considerably stronger and more versatile. Most Dualistic Exalts will start off with one Game Master designed prodigy and will develop one of their choice shortly thereafter. A prodigy can:

  • Provide automatic successes (usually 3 or 4) on Focus checks related to a particular ability or theme. This is a constant effect.

  • Grant a minor “super power”, roughly equivalent to a mid-level charm without a willpower or mote cost. This is a constant effect.

  • Grant access to a limited set of charms. The user will still have to learn them and must provide any required essence motes or willpower.

  • Enhance Thaumaturgy, reducing the cost of using any two arts by 3 motes or 1 willpower each and increasing recovery to 3 motes (or 1 willpower expended on magic) per hour.

  • Allow the user to simply manifest a package of gear. This includes various common items and may include a rank-3 or two rank-2 artifacts for characters from creation or equivalent high-tech items for earthly characters.

  • Grant limited time manipulation (hyperspeed, “overlapping” manifestations, occasional moments out of time, or similar stunts. These usually cost essence motes.

  • Grant limited dimensional manipulation (phasing, short range teleportation, remote strikes, or similar stunts). These usually cost essence motes.

  • Activate the user’s essence pool, raising it to (10x Essence +Willpower +Virtue Sum) and allowing exalted-level recovery and attunement to artifacts and manses.

  • Let the user acquire conserved “property”-based backgrounds by simply purchasing them, rather than by having to acquire them before they can be bonded.

  • Allow the user to have subsumed a notable role in the world they’ve crossed in to, acquiring 5 dots worth of it’s existing backgrounds and allowing the purchase of more relevant backgrounds at a mere 2 XP per dot.

  • Provide the user with an Alternate Form, similar to the “Concealed Form” wyld mutation with up to (Will + Stamina +4) additional points of mutations. This is not actually a mutation and may even extend to spirit forms or similar major transformations. Unfortunately, the form is ultimately designed by the game master – although the player is certainly free to make requests.

  • Allow the user to spend 1 point of will, 3 points of essence, or take a health level of damage three times per scene without actually draining their personal reserves.

  • Make the user’s usual outfit indestructible (this also provides +2/+2 Soak) and lets him or her carry piles of gear in the outfit’s apparently-empty pockets. Alternatively, the user can simply produce large quantities of some type of gear from no apparent source.

 

Initial Prodigies:

   These are some sample Game-Master designed prodigies. Characters can’t develop (and Players can’t select) these prodigies intentionally.

 

Hyperstrength:

  1. You may reduce the effective mass of up to (10 x Str) tons of material in your grasp to negligible levels and, incidently, ignore leverage and wind resistance while doing so. Masses up to twice that great can be reduced to the point where you can – just barely – heave them into the air or drag them along.

  2. You may dampen incoming physical attacks, gaining +4B/+2L innate Soak against them. Sadly, this does not affect energy-based attacks.

  3. You gain a +2 bonus to your effective strength in other situations.

 

Energy Nexus:

  1. You may power devices in the area as if you were a rating-4 powerstone (able to power up to six levels of devices). Alternatively, you may drain away energy with equal efficiency.

  2. You are immune to energy-based damage.

  3. You may discharge raw energy in various forms. This can recharge things, ignite fires, inflict damage (up to 12L by touch, 9L at range, or 6L to an area using [Dex + Throwing]), power magic (providing up to three motes per round), or simply illuminate and warm an area.

 

Invocation:

  1. You may tap into local powers to augment your magic. In general, invoking minor, major, and grand powers provide +4, +8, or +12 successes. Unfortunately sentient powers must be willing to help you, while non-sentient forces always demand something from you. In either case, they can only aid effects appropriate to their natures. Sentient forces can be asked to power an effect instead of simply augmenting one; the reduces the effective rank of the power invoked by one level.

  2. You may use Enchantment and a basic workshop to make actual artifacts of up to Level 3, albeit at the cost of a couple of days/a week/a month and 2/4/8 XP for level 1/2/3 artifacts. More powerful creations are theoretically possible, but will require MAJOR help and a lot more work.

  3. You may call on any favors owed to you by spirits without having to cast a spell to get in touch with them; the contact link is established automatically.

   Creation’s forces are generic and simply demand extra power (+3 motes, +3 motes and +1 will, or +6 motes and +2 will) to upgrade the results – and to count as Terrestrial, Celestial, or Solar Circle sorcery as far as dispelling goes. Creation also has LOTS of gods who make deals and grant favors according to their own whims. If you’re fool enough, you can tap into the powers of Oblivion or the Wyld to power your magic: failures cause severe backlash.

   Earth apparently doesn’t have easily-reached gods and seems to have no forces which augment magic. It does allow access to the modern “psychic” Sciences through the basic Occult skill.

 

Weird Science:

  1. You may repair any ordinary technological item in 1d10 rounds with a Focus check at D0 for minor items, D2 for large, complex items such as generators and cars, and D4 for things like jets and spacecraft. This costs a point of willpower if you have no tools or parts.

  2. You gain an essence pool of (Essence x 2 + Will) which you may (only) use to attune your creations.

  3. You may build and maintain (Int -1)2 points worth of incredible devices. In general, these equate to artifacts of levels 1-4. These can be built using an extended skill check to accumulate successes with nothing but a name using Focus or with any applicable technical skill if you can come up with a vaguely-reasonable sounding theory. Really good theories are worth +1-3 dice. An Artifact-1 requires 1 “point”, one hour per roll, and three total successes. Artifacts-2 require 2 points, one day per roll, and 6 total successes. Artifacts-3 require 3 points, one week per roll, and 12 total successes. Finally, Artifacts-4 require 4 points, one month per roll, and 24 total successes.

 

 

Dualistic Martial Arts

    Mortal Martial Arts are bought as Merits – mostly of the “Physical Mutation” variety with appropriate special effects. If you want to inflict lethal damage in HTH and parry weapons get “Claws”, handle the body-hardening effects with toughness, and so on. Anyone who wants to run a really extreme martial-artist type may use the “experience” background (with the usual limit of 2) as “Martially Trained” or something similar and spend the points on appropriate abilities.

   Heroic Mortals with active essence pools can learn the Terrestrial Martial Arts at a cost of 6 BP or 12 XP per charm. This is rarely a good deal, but these are the only charms which are automatically open to mortals.

   Dualistic Exalted with active essence pools can learn the Terrestrial Martial Arts at a cost of 4 BP (if they should somehow obtain some) or 8 XP per charm. They may eventually learn Celestial Martial Arts, but this will require months of training, a teacher, and 15 XP per charm.

 

Visit Zareth Eleris, a sample Dualistic Exalt.

Return to the White Wolf tab.

 

7 Responses

  1. This was a fun concept and actually turned out pretty well. The nice thing about was that, while the characters were tough enough to at least stand up to the really powerful characters in each universe, they were weak enough that nobody completely dominated the setting – the powerful setting-specific characters would always be bigger and nastier.

    • To be fair, on Earth I think that mostly counted organizations unless there really was something to all those “Chuck Norris” stories (or some powerful creatures hiding out). Helpful mutations and prodigies made them pretty powerful in a world full of baseline humans.

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