Heroic Wounds System
In this variation of the standard rules, heroic characters – all Exalted and most other serious players, but not extras, as the Storyteller sees fit – are never subject to being felled by a single powerful blow. No single attack can reduce a heroic character into its next wound penalty category (-0, -1, -2, -4, Incapacitated, Dying) unless the character’s current category was completely depleted before the attack. Any excess damage is negated.
This rule helps insure that characters – both players and antagonists – never go down without a fight. It increases the value of flurries somewhat (and thus the value of flurry breaker and tick-long defense effects), while decidedly decreasing the value of attacks and weapons which deliver a single overwhelming pool of damage. Arguably, it emphasizes Ox Body variations which concentrate health levels in a single category.
Because it takes at least five attacks to take down an heroic opponent, this rule can lead to longer battles in some cases. To create encounters where the players will face a larger number of enemies who are weaker than them, but not extras, try eliminating one or more wound categories (for example, a pseudo-heroic enemy might have 3x -0 and 4x -2 health levels, but no -1s or -4s, and thus take a minimum of three hits to down).