Exalted: Modern – Guns

May 10, 2011

One of the most fundamental changes to the world since the Usurpation is the invention of gunpowder-based weaponry.  Exalted had relied heavily upon Essence-based weapons, or even highly calibrated bows and arrows (all of which still exist, in various forms).  However, in a world ruled by mortals, the ability to equip an army with ever-improving weaponry led to the development of the bullet, and all the many variations of guns.

While a detailed armory is outside the scope of both this ‘blog and the Exalted system in general, no examination of the modern setting would be complete without rules for firearms.  What I present here are broad strokes, intended to provide the outline of a wide category of firearm.  Individual weapons may vary as much as a Storyteller will allow, and the addition of wide-bore barrels, custom grips, calibrated sights, etc. are intended to be modeled with the various qualities of equipment described in the Exalted core.

In general, guns have several qualities shared amongst them.  Primarily, guns reduce the DVs of mortals to 0 before all other modifiers are applied.  While this represents a significant advantage, fuck mortals.  Exalted (as well as any Essence-wielding being) can apply their Parry and Dodge DVs without undue penalty.  Additionally, guns do not add the wielder’s Strength to their damage, since all the punch comes from the bullet (which modifies the gun’s statistics in much the same manner as arrows modify the statistics of bows).  Firing a gun uses the Archery Ability, and guns are compatible with all Archery Charms.  Finally, guns have an additional statistic, Clip, which indicates how much ammunition they can hold before needing to be reloaded.  Reloading a gun is usually a Miscellaneous Action.


This describes the most basic and common firearms.  These weapons are one-handed firearms, usually but not always semi-automatic, that deliver a solid hit without many bells or whistles.  Commonly wielded (especially by Exalted) paired, this represents the standard-issue weapon for most emergency services, military personnel, criminals, or just common citizens who seek to protect themselves.

Speed: 5/Accuracy: +2/Damage: 6L/Range: 60/Rate: 2/Clip: 9/Cost: 2


Longer range and more accurate, rifles are more expensive and less concealable than pistols.  Possessed of a longer barrel (and usually smaller clips), rifles are a hunter’s weapon, whether the prey be beast or man.  Many special forces units will also utilize rifles, usually of much higher quality than a standard longarm.

Speed: 5/Accuracy: +3/Damage: 6L/Range: 100/Rate: 1/Clip: 5/Cost: 3

Machine Gun

Designed to pour out large numbers of bullets in a small period of time, the machine gun sacrifices precision for rate.  While some machine guns can be properly modified (and some users can be properly trained) for accuracy, most machine guns are intended simply to lay down a field of fire.

Speed: 5/Accuracy: +1/Damage: 6L/Range: 40/Rate: 3/Clip: 30/Cost: 3


Like bows, guns have limited amounts of ammunition available to them.  Like arrows, bullets come in a variety of styles for a variety of purposes, and modify the firing weapon’s statistics appropriately.  They are usually sold by the box, with each box containing twenty bullets, but variants exist across the world, with prices changing according to the local laws, customs, and availability.

The standard bullet, or full metal jacket, functions like a broadhead arrow, modifying the weapon’s Damage by +2L.  A box of bullets is usually a Resources 1 purchase.

The armor-piercing bullet is a common variant, intended to punch through Kevlar or similar protections.  It grants the weapon the Piercing tag, and a box of armor-piercing bullets is usually a Resources 2 purchase.

The hollow-point bullet is intended to cause major damage to soft tissue, though is often less useful against armored targets.  Hollow-points add 4L to their weapon’s Damage, but they double the Lethal soak value of their target’s armor before soak is applied.

Sidebar: Gun Porn

This is not an accurate or comprehensive depiction of even a fraction of the guns or ammunition available in the modern world.  Nor does it take into account weapons such as tasers, rocket launchers, grenades, or the like.  It is not intended to.  The point of this post is to permit your Exalt to weather a hail of gunfire, slide down a bannister dual-wielding pistols, or to shoot a fly from between its wings at two thousand yards.  It is intended to provide base verisimilitude, not realism or simulationism.  If more detailed gun rules are to your liking, you are unlikely to find them here.


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