A Way To Run Nation-building/Downtime in Exalted

 I find Exalted works best when you include explicit downtime mechanics. Like the typical ‘adventure’ stuff is what happens every two to three years of in game time and you fill in the rest with ‘what did your character do’ type of nation-building stuff. And that these should be abstracted, and not really run as… well, as characters ordering around minions.

When I was running my highly successful first age Dragonblooded spec ops/Ghost in the Shell campaign, the actual missions only occurred every two years or so of game time. The rest of the time the players ‘ran’ their Special Bureau Section 0, acquiring resources for it, expanding its networks of contacts and spies and informers, paying off various Celestials and so on. None of this was really done ‘in character’, though character traits were often helpful.

In effect I created a ‘super character’ for the organization they worked for, and player earned resources which were spent in a way very similar to XP to increase the organization’s traits. Players then made Organization Trait + Skill rolls (usually Bureaucracy, Craft, Larceny, Lore, Socialize or War) to do various actions, with failed actions inflicting ‘damage’ on the organization that resulted in reduced traits (“You botched your Contacts + Larceny roll? Turns out the Deliberative noticed your spy ring and a couple of Solars killed off the ones you sent to learn about that project. You lose a point in Contacts.”)