Ships & Sailing

VEHICLE TRAITS
All First Age vehicles have a number of special traits
appropriate to their function, each of which is explained
as follows:
Speed: This is the craft’s top sustainable speed, with
the number before the slash given in yards per tick and
the second number in miles per hour. During mass combat
or other situations in which ticks pass at a rate of one per
minute rather than one per second, multiply the first speed
value by 60 to obtain the vehicle’s mass combat speed. Note
that, except where noted, vehicles cannot generally dash,
or rather, the speed given is the maximum speed possible,
and the usual penalties for dashing are compensated for by
the need for the pilot’s attention.
Maneuverability: This trait gauges the overall responsiveness of a vehicle to its pilot. In most cases, this value is
given as a positive number, indicating the number of dice
added to all rolls made to control the craft. Half this value
(rounded up) is its Dodge DV against attacks while piloted
(vehicles lack a Parry DV). Note that some ungainly devices
actually impose a penalty on piloting rolls, as represented
by a negative Maneuverability. The letter following a craft’s
maneuverability (R or S) indicates whether the craft is piloted using a pool of (Dexterity + Ride) or (Wits + Sail).
For some vehicles, characters must have a minimum
rating in certain Abilities in order to pilot them at all. These
minimums are provided after Maneuverability in parentheses. Most commonly, the Ability in question is Sail or Ride,
though some sophisticated devices require minimum Lore to
understand the complex controls. For every dot by which a
character fails to meet the minimum Abilities required for
piloting, subtract two from the vehicle’s Maneuverability.
Pertinent specialties add to Ability scores to meet these
minimum requirements.
Endurance: Some vehicles have limitations on their
operation, whether due to limited power cells or fuel,
hearthstone requirements or perhaps components that
must be maintained to avoid degrading performance or
even total systems failure. Any such limits are explained
after the Endurance header.
Crew: This trait has two values separated by a slash.
The first is the crew complement necessary for standard
operation. For each crewmember the vessel is short of this
number, its Maneuverability drops by one. The second
number is the minimum crew. If a vessel has fewer than
this number of crew members aboard, it cannot operate
at all. Some sophisticated vehicles have minimum traits
in parenthesis after crew, exactly as with Maneuverability.
Crew members must meet these requirements in order to
count as crew, reflecting the need for specialized training to
operate extremely sensitive and elaborate controls.
Cargo: If a vehicle can accommodate passengers beyond
its crew complement, such will be listed here. If a vehicle
is operating on a skeleton crew, add the unused portion of
the crew complement to the maximum passengers it can
accommodate. Vehicles that can carry a specific weight or
size or cargo also have this information in the Cargo heading. Storytellers should remember that these values aren’t
ironclad. Squeezing a couple of extra bodies into a passenger liner capable of holding 100 people is not a big deal,
though some of the bunks will be more crowded than usual.
In contrast, doubling the passenger manifest might not be
physically possible, but even if it is, the conditions will be
extremely cramped and uncomfortable and quite possibly
unsanitary and conducive to disease. Logic and reason should
guide Storyteller adjudication of overload effects, whether
penalizing Maneuverability or Speed or both.
Armor: A vehicle’s Armor is given as standard soak
values separated by a slash. Note that vehicles do not have a
natural soak, and as such, effects that depend upon armored
soak apply in full to a vehicle’s Armor (such as piercing
attacks halving the protection value). Like all inanimate
objects, artifact vehicles have a Hardness equal to their
soak, allowing them to ignore most lesser attacks. Unlike
with inanimate objects, however, damage in excess of soak
is rolled rather than automatically applied. In addition,
magical effects that do not damage objects made of the five
magical materials have no affect on artifact hulls.

Health Levels: Since most vehicles are not alive, they do not have health levels in the strictest sense of the word. Their structural integrity is analogous, however, so the name remains constant. A vehicle’s health levels are not differentiated by wound penalties, but instead use the following table:
Health Level (Abbreviation) Effects

  • Undamaged (U) – None; operates normally.
  • Minor Damage (M) – Half Speed and Maneuverability (rounded up); -1 external penalty to piloting rolls.
  • Critical Damage (C) – Speed drops to one quarter normal rate (rounded up); Maneuverability 0 (if normally positive); -3 external penalty to piloting rolls; consecutively unbroken successful piloting actions required to avoid automatically crashing.
  • Inoperative (I) – Ceases functioning. See Inoperative effects by craft type.
  • Destroyed (D) – The vehicle immediately explodes, crashes, falls apart or otherwise suffers violent destruction. Vehicles must be repaired to regain lost health levels (see p. 6).

Weapons: The integrated armament of a particular vehicle type (if any) is listed in standard attack formats. Artifact weapons explained elsewhere in this book are simply listed with an appropriate page number.

 

FAST COURIER EXCELLENT AIR BOAT
Speed: 15/30mph
Maneuverability: +2S (Lore 1, Sail 2)
Endurance: Requires the pilot to attune the vessel’s Essence
engine for a commitment of four motes.
Crew: 3/3
Cargo: Seven passengers, plus up to three tons of cargo; or
20 passengers, plus one ton of cargo.
Armor: 6L/6B (Gas bag: 2L/2B)
Health Levels: Ux5/Mx10/Cx3/Ix2/D (Gas bag: Ux2/
Mx5/Cx2/I/D)
Weapons: None normally.
Other Notes: As a vehicle of purely Second Age construction, this ship’s armor lacks the Hardness ubiquitous to First Age artifact vehicles.

 

LARGE TRANSPORT EXCELLENT AIR BOAT
Speed: 10/20mph
Maneuverability: +2S (Lore 1, Sail 2)
Endurance: Requires the pilot to attune the vessel’s Essence
engine for a commitment of four motes.
Crew: 6/3
Cargo: Seventy troops, plus 10 tons of cargo; or 25 passengers, plus 20 tons of cargo.
Armor: 8L/8B (Gas bag: 3L/3B)
Health Levels: Ux10/Mx7/Cx5/Ix2/D (Gas bag: UX4/
Mx10/Cx4/Ix2/D)
Weapons: None normally.
Other Notes: As a vehicle of purely Second Age construction, this ship’s armor lacks the Hardness ubiquitous to First Age artifact vehicles.

 

SWIFT RIDER (ARTIFACT •••)
Speed: 40/80mph
Maneuverability: +0R (Lore 1, Ride 2)
Endurance: Requires a hearthstone plugged into the control
panel to operate, and the pilot must also attune the vessel
for a commitment of five motes.
After 250 cumulative hours of operation since its last maintenance, it begins to suffer one level of unsoakable bashing
damage every further 10 cumulative hours of operation it
is overdue.
Crew: 1/1
Cargo: Two riders, plus a pair of saddlebags; or one rider
and 200 pounds of cargo.
Armor: 10L/10B
Health Levels: Ux10/Mx5/Cx4/I/D
Weapons: None.
Other Notes: A swift rider and its pilot both have a Dodge
DV equal to ([the pilot’s Dexterity + Ride + Essence] ÷
2), and the pilot may use her Parry DV to defend against
attacks launched at her vehicle or herself

 

WINDBLADE-CLASS PERSONAL TRANSPORT (ARTIFACT •••)
Orichalcum: These models are faster, with a Speed
of 50/100mph.
Moonsilver: These models are more nimble and responsive, with Maneuverability 7.
Starmetal: These models weave and dip across the
skeins of fate as well as air, adding two to the Dodge DV of
craft and pilot beyond normal.
Jade: Built exclusively of blue jade, these models have
small integrated cannons that fire lightning pulses from a
forward-facing spur mounted on the underside. Each blast
costs the pilot five motes and has the following statistics:
Speed 6, Accuracy (pilot’s Dexterity + Archery), Damage
(8L or 12B) piercing, Range 100, Rate 1. Variant models
have an integrated elemental lens instead.
Soulsteel: At will, the pilot can extend jagged blades
like bat wings from each side of the craft. The pilot attacks
by “ramming” opponents with these blades as a Speed 5, Rate
2 attack. The craft takes no damage from this ramming, but
the target suffers 10L + attack successes. Opponents killed
by these blades are typically beheaded or cut in half.
Speed: 34/70mph
Maneuverability: +4R (Lore 1, Ride 3)
Endurance: Consumes 10 motes per hour; suffers one level
of unsoakable bashing damage for every 50 cumulative hours
of operation since last maintenance.
Crew: 1/1
Cargo: Pilot’s personal possessions only. Particularly heavy
loads, such as a pilot carrying a second person in her arms,
halve Speed and apply a -3 Maneuverability penalty.
Armor: 10L/15B
Health Levels: Ux7/Mx4/Cx3/I/D
Weapons: Usually none; jade and soulsteel models have
weapons as noted.
Other Notes: Characters fl ying on aWindblade-class personal
transport are treated as holding a tower shield (see Exalted,
p. 377), but this protection is not compatible with other
shields or cover (only the best value applies). A piloted
transport and its pilot both have a Dodge DV equal to ([the
pilot’s Dexterity + Ride + Essence + craft’s Maneuverability] ÷ 2), and the pilot may use her Parry DV to defend against
attacks launched at her vehicle or herself.

 

BATTLE CARRIER (ARTIFACT ••••)
Speed: 10/20mph; 50/100mph in overdrive
Maneuverability: +1S (Lore 1, Sail 1)
Endurance: Requires a hearthstone from a two-dot (or
better) manse plugged into the control panel to operate, as
well as a seven-mote commitment by the driver.
In addition to the normal servicing required by a light
implosion bow (see p. 130), after every 50 times the driver
overdrives the Essence engines, the battle carrier must undergo routine maintenance and repair. In addition, every
time it is used to ram a vehicle or structure counts as an
additional time that the engineers were overdriven. Every
10 times the engines are overdriven after this limit reduces
the vessel’s Speed in both normal and overdrive modes by
20%, until the engines cease to function.
Crew: 1/1
Cargo: One talon of soldiers, plus their personal gear; or a
pair of common warstriders and their support personnel.
Armor: 20L/25B
Health Levels: Ux15/Mx10/Cx10/Ix5/D
Weapons: A light implosion bow.
Other Notes: None.

 

CHARIOT OF THE INFINITE HEAVENS (ARTIFACT ••••)
Speed: 39/80mph
Maneuverability: +2R (Lore 1)
Endurance: Requires a hearthstone from a two-dot (or
better) manse plugged into the control panel to operate.
Some models have security features as noted above. Requires
maintenance every 20 hours of use, lest it suffer one unsoakable level of lethal damage per 10 hours in arrears.
Crew: 1/1
Cargo: Two passengers, plus their personal gear
Armor: 12L/18B
Health Levels: Ux10/Mx5/Cx4/Ix2/D
Weapons: Usually none. Variant models (also Artifact 4)
mount a light implosion bow (see p. 130) on a gimbaled
mount for a gunner to fire, but the weight of this weapon
reduces the craft’s Maneuverability to -2 and reduces Speed
to 29/60mph.
Other Notes: Understanding a sky chariot’s crystal instrument panels requires knowledge of Old Realm, though
characters who do not read this language can still attempt
to pilot the craft at -2 Maneuverability. The pilot and
passengers in one of these craft are treated as having 25%
cover or 75% cover if attacked from below.

 

RESPLENDENT DOLPHIN-CLASS UNDERSEA COURIER (ARTIFACT ••••)
based entirely on sensor readings.
Speed: 20/40mph on surface; 12/25mph submerged
Maneuverability: +1S (Lore 2, Sail 3)
Endurance: Requires a level-2+ hearthstone plugged into
the control panel to operate, and the pilot must also attune
the vessel for a commitment of five motes.
After 250 cumulative hours of operation since its last maintenance, it begins suffering one level of unsoakable bashing
damage every further 10 cumulative hours of operation it
is overdue.
Crew: 1/1
Cargo: Seven passengers in comfort, plus four barrels (or
equivalently sized cargo, such as two additional passengers
carried uncomfortably in the locked hold).
Armor: 15L/15B
Health Levels: Ux8/Mx6/Cx4/Ix2/D
Weapons: None (though a few have added mounts for a
single light implosion bow, which must be removed and
stowed prior to submerging or the weapon is ruined and its
drag halves the vessel’s submerged Speed)

 

SIEGE STRIDER (ARTIFACT ••••)
Speed: 10 (dash 30)/20mph
Maneuverability: -6R (Lore 1, Ride 2)
Endurance: Requires a level-3+ hearthstone plugged into
the control panel to operate, as well as a 12-mote commitment by the driver.
Because of the inherent stability and simplicity of four-legged
locomotion, this artifact requires maintenance only every
100 hours of operation. Every hour of combat counts as two
hours of operation, however. Every 10 hours that maintenance is in arrears, the ordinary penalties caused by lack
of warstrider maintenance begin to accrue. Also, the blast
cannon must be serviced after every 100 firings.
Crew: 1/1
Cargo: None.
Armor: 24L/24B (Hardness: 26L/16B)
Health Levels: Ux10/Mx5/Cx5/Ix5/D
Weapons: Blast cannon.
Other Notes: The siege strider possesses a Strength of 20
and hand-to-hand combat stats as follows:
Name Speed Accuracy Damage
Defense Rate
Siege Strider Claw 6 +0 +12L* +0 2
*This damage is treated as piercing damage against all
inanimate objects.

 

SWIFT MIDDAY BRILLIANCE-CLASS LIGHT WARSHIP (ARTIFACT ••••)
Speed: 15/30mph under sail; 24/50mph under power
Maneuverability: -3S under sail; -1S under power
Endurance: None
Crew: 15/4 (or 1/1, if piloted by an Essence-channeler
using the drive system)
Cargo: Two common warstriders curled in a fetal position,
one talon of infantry or equivalent cargo.
Armor: 30L/30B
Health Levels: Ux35/Mx20/Cx10/I/D
Weapons: None; varies

 

WHIRLIGIG-CLASS COURIER (ARTIFACT ••••)
Speed: 3/6mph under sail; 10/20mph under power; 20/40mph
on overdrive
Maneuverability: -3S under sail; +1S under power
Endurance: The pilot must attune the vessel for a commitment of five motes.
Although this vessel’s engines do not require maintenance
from normal operation, because of the extreme strain overdriving puts on them, the engines must undergo refitting
after every 50 times they are overdriven in either mode.
Every 10 times they are overdriven after this reduces the
vessel’s Speed in both normal and overdrive modes by 20
percent, until the engines cease to function.
Crew: 4/3
Cargo: Five passengers and 12 tons of cargo belowdecks,
plus up to four tons of cargo lashed to the deck; or 15 passengers and six tons of cargo belowdecks, plus up to four
tons of cargo lashed to the deck.
Armor: 20L/25B
Health Levels: Ux15/Mx10/Cx10/Ix5/D
Weapons: None; varies

 

WARBIRD (ARTIFACT •••• OR •••••)
Speed: 60/120mph (180/360mph in steep dive)
Maneuverability: +3R (Lore 1, Ride 2)
Endurance: Requires a level-2+ hearthstone plugged into
the control panel to operate. Requires maintenance every
20 hours of use, lest it suffer one level of unsoakable lethal
damage per 10 hours in arrears.
Crew: 1/1
Cargo: 2 passengers or equivalent weight in cargo.
Armor: 10L/15B
Health Levels: Ux10/Mx5/Cx4/Ix2/D
Weapons: Claws (Speed 5, Accuracy +3 ([Dexterity +Ride] to hit), Damage 12L (16L with dive), Defense –, Rate 1);
some mount First Age weaponry.
Other Notes: Riders have 75% cover from below and 50%
cover from all other directions. First Age models have cannon weapons and do not need maintenance.

 

GLORIOUS DRAGONFLY-CLASS PATROL BOAT (ARTIFACT •••••)
Speed: 2/4mph under sail; 15/30mph under power; 30/60mph
on overdrive
Maneuverability: -3S under sail; +2S under power
Endurance: The pilot must attune the vessel for a commitment of seven motes.
Although this vessel’s engines do not require maintenance
from normal operation, because of the extreme strain overdriving puts on them, the engines must undergo refitting
after every 50 times they are overdriven in either mode.
Every 10 times they are overdriven after this reduces the
vessel’s Speed in both normal and overdrive modes by 20
percent, until the engines cease to function. Each hour that
the engines are overdriven in both modes simultaneously
counts as two hours for purposes of maintenance.
Crew: 4/2
Cargo: Nine total crew and passengers and four tons of
cargo belowdecks.
Armor: 25L/25B
Health Levels: Ux25/Mx10/Cx10/Ix5/D
Weapons: A medium implosion bow and either a pair of
medium Essence cannons, a pair of warstrider fire lances or
an oversized elemental lens.

 

INDOMITABLE CONQUEST PLATFORM (ARTIFACT •••••)
Speed: 29/60mph
Maneuverability: +4S (Lore 1, Sail 2)
Endurance: Requires a level-3+ hearthstone plugged into
the pilot’s throne to operate. The pilot must also attune to
the control console, costing one mote. Every 25 hours of
cumulative operation since the vehicle’s last maintenance
infl icts one level of unsoakable bashing damage to it.
Crew: 1/1
Cargo: 12 infantry or f ve mounts with riders (assuming
horse-sized mounts) or one warstrider crouched in a fetal
position; other comparably sized and weighted cargo may
be substituted.
Armor: 15L/20B
Health Levels: Ux15/Mx7/Cx5/Ix3/D
Weapons: None
Other Notes: Understanding an indomitable conquest
platform’s crystal instrument panels requires knowledge of
Old Realm, though characters who do not read this language
can still attempt to pilot the craft at -2 Maneuverability.
Characters inside one of these vehicles have full cover and
may not be attacked as long as all windows and doors are
secured. Irises can be opened enough to grant 90% cover
for seeing out or 50% cover for archers to fire out, or even
opened wide enough for three armored warriors to walk
through or a single led horse to enter or exit the craft.
Models equipped with energy shields may deploy them as
a coruscating bubble of light around the hull. Such shields
increase the craft’s Armor to 25L/30B. More importantly,
the shield is solid to immaterial beings and disrupts magic
entering it from outside. Reflexively roll 10 dice whenever
a being tries to use a Charm or spell to affect anyone inside
the shield against a difficulty of the attacker’s permanent
Essence. On a success, the magic is absorbed and deflected by
the shield, though this does not stop the magic from affecting
valid targets outside the shield. Shield-equipped variants
require a level-4+ hearthstone set in the command throne,
and they cannot cloak. Also, they can move at only Speed
10/20mph with an active shield. If the shield generator is
destroyed, the resulting explosion inflicts 20L to everyone
and everything within 300 yards of the blast.
The third and rarest variant of this craft has neither cloaking
device nor shield, but instead, carries a moderately powerful
air elemental imprisoned in its engine. Using the spirit’s
Portal Charm augmented by an intricate bank of Essence
capacitors, these vehicles can teleport themselves up to
100 miles away, making up to three “jumps” per day using a
miscellaneous action. The pilot must have previously visited
the destination point, or exact topological coordinates must
be fed into the engine ([Intelligence + Lore] miscellaneous
action at difficulty 4). During translocation, a corona of
blue-white lightning crackles over the hull with a deafening
thunderclap. The vessels never teleport into solid objects.
If blocked from their destination, they appear as near as
physically possible. Teleportation-equipped vehicles require
a level-4+ hearthstone to function.
Tactical enchantments imprinted into the command throne
of an indomitable conquest platform subtract two motes
from the cost of all War Charms activated by a seated pilot
(to a minimum of one mote).

 

MANTA-CLASS TRANSPORT (ARTIFACT •••••)
Speed: 49/100mph
Maneuverability: +1S (Lore 2, Sail 2)
Endurance: Requires two level-2+ hearthstones plugged into
controls on the bridge to operate. Both pilot and copilot
must each commit three motes to their control stations
during fl ight. After a Manta-class transport has operated
for 100 cumulative hours without maintenance, it suffers
one level of unsoakable lethal damage for each 10 hours
it is in arrears.
Crew: 5/2 (Lore 1, Sail 2)
Cargo: Two warstriders curled in a fetal position, one talon
of infantry (short distances only, as there are no living accommodations) or equivalent cargo.
Armor: 15L/20B
Health Levels: Ux20/Mx10/Cx7/Ix3/D
Weapons: Two warstrider fire lances (see p. 159) on turrets
in either side beneath each wing, capable of aiming at most
targets except those directly above.
Other Notes: Passengers can open slits in either side of the
hull to fire bows or other personal ranged weapons from
within, and such characters have 75% cover. Otherwise,
all passengers and crew have total cover and may not be
attacked.

 

 

 


RULES
Inoperative Vehicles: Airborne vehicles reduced to an
“I” health level plummet to the earth. Unless a vehicle is
fl ying extremely low to the ground (Storyteller’s discretion),
this crash should happen only after every passenger takes
at least one action, providing the opportunity for heroic
last-ditch piloting or bailing out and jumping to safety, etc.
Turning an impending crash into a rough landing requires a
difficulty 5 piloting roll with the pilot’s final remaining action.
Passengers still suffer 10B from a rough landing, while the
vehicle suffers an additional 30B, but this is usually much
less damage than an actual crash would infl ict.
Ground vehicles reduced to Inoperative grind to a halt.
In an environment with minimal obstacles (an empty plain
or dune), this carries no further risks. In a forest or urban
area, however, the pilot must use her next action after the
vehicle becomes Inoperative to avoid crashing (difficulty
4). Success averts all ill effects.
Aquatic vehicles on open water rarely face immediate
obstacles that could prompt a crash, but the danger still
presents itself in shallow water, near reefs, in the midst of
a packed naval battle, traveling down winding rivers and
so forth. Treat aquatic vehicles as ground-borne, with the
added danger of taking on water (see “Sinking”).
Destruction/Crashing: Vehicles that crash or suffer suffi cient damage to reduce them to their “D” level are destroyed.
All passengers suffer dice of lethal damage equal to the vehicle’s
total maximum health levels, as does anything (or anyone) into
which the vehicle crashes. Particularly large vehicles powered
by Essence reactors might explode, inflicting signifi cantly
greater damage over a larger area. The capacity for explosion
is listed in the Other Notes section as appropriate.
Ramming: In order to ram a target, a vehicle must
be capable of reaching the target during its pilot’s action.
Ramming is an attack itself, using the appropriate piloting
pool modifi ed by Maneuverability as normal with Speed
6 and Rate 1. The attack can be dodged, but it cannot be
parried without an extraordinary stunt. If successful, the
attack infl icts damage to the target and ramming vehicle
as if from a crash. Some vessels are built with reinforced
ramming prows, providing a greater soak for the ramming
vehicle than usual.
Sinking: While vehicles do not bleed and suffer further
injury from damage the way living beings do, aquatic vessels do the reverse. Once a ship reaches its Minor damage
health levels, it suffers one die of unsoakable lethal damage
per minute until the hole is plugged and made watertight.
At Critical damage or worse, water pours in more quickly,
applying levels instead of dice. Once Destroyed, a ship’s
hull is so riddled with holes that it breaks apart, sinking
within a minute.
Emergency repairs require the appropriate raw materials on hand and a successful (Wits + Craft [Wood]) roll at
difficulty 3 (while suffering Minor damage) or difficulty 5
(while suffering Critical damage or worse). Such repairs take
one miscellaneous action in long ticks or fi ve minutes out
of combat. A separate repair roll must be applied for each
attack that infl icted damage, though multiple breaches do
not generally increase the rate at which water pours in.
Compartmentalized First Age hulls suffer only a single
level of damage per damage incident from taking on water.
Therefore, a compartmentalized vessel that suffers damage
to bring it to a Minor damage level has one die of lethal
damage rolled after a minute, and then no further water
damage. If reduced again to another Minor damage level,
the ship takes another level of lethal damage after a minute,
then nothing, et cetera.
Attacking Aerial Vehicles: Ground-based opponents
cannot generally attack airborne vehicles in close combat
unless the vehicles swoop very low (such as to allow a pilot
or passenger to strike with a close combat attack of her own).
Use the rules for aerial targets on page 154 of Exalted for
such circumstances.
Piloting Rolls: Characters do not need to make piloting rolls to operate a vehicle through smooth terrain
(or while motionlessly hovering/floating) provided they
maintain a smooth trajectory and travel at half maximum
speed or less. Turning or otherwise maneuvering requires
a piloting roll, most often at standard difficulty, though
higher for hairpin turns, barrel rolls with aerial vehicles
and so forth. In rough conditions or while traveling faster
than half maximum speed, Storytellers may require successive piloting rolls at regular (or irregular) intervals
with a variable difficulty appropriate to the situation.
For example, handling a boat or skyship in heavy winds
is difficulty 3, while an actual storm is difficulty 5, and
a hurricane can reach 7+. Landing a skyship, docking a
boat or parking a ground-based vehicle in a specific spot
also requires a piloting roll. In an effort to move stories
along, Storytellers may reduce the success or failure of
long-distance travel to a single roll at a higher difficulty
than normal, reflecting the cumulative success or failure
of many rolls. Storytellers should do so only when there
is no real danger or hardship to the travel, though. Failing a piloting roll means that the vehicle is out of control or else cannot succeed in the maneuver. A failed landing of a skyship is a rough landing (see p. 32), while a failed docking might mean the ship accidentally rams the dock. By contrast, characters can usually attempt a failed action again in short order, though retry penalties accumulate for consecutive failures normally (see Exalted, p. 121).

During combat, a pilot must make piloting rolls with each action (or must at least make piloting rolls as part of a flurry). Failure to do so means the pilot has lost control of the craft and it travels in a random (but appropriate) direction at its current speed. If the pilot does not regain control with her next action (+1 to whatever the piloting difficulty would normally be), the vehicle crashes (if possible) or else continues veering off course. Storytellers should liberally interpret crashing to situations. For example, a boat on open water has nothing to crash into, but it can capsize or suffer some other mishap like miring in seaweed and whatnot. If the pilot regains control, maneuvers resume normal difficulty.

Botching a piloting roll is always very bad. Crashing is almost a given, though if the situation does not permit a reasonable crash, some other appropriate misfortune could happen. For example, a ship might careen off a wave at a sharp angle that hurls everyone on deck overboard unless their players make successful (Dexterity + Athletics) rolls for the characters to keep their balance.

Storytellers should remember that it’s bad form to kill off all the protagonists because of one bad dice roll. Such an ignoble demise is not in keeping with the epic heroism of Exalted. Fiery explosions and high action devastation are definitely in genre to the game, which is why losing control of vehicles is so bad, but characters should almost always have a chance to do something to save themselves from certain death. This nebulous something might mean steering a plummeting warbird into rough skidding landing that carves a mile-long furrow across the earth or leaping overboard before the thunderclap of a lightning ballista shatters a ship’s hull to flinders.