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In Exalted, feats of strength (lifting/breaking/throwing heavy objects) are diceless actions based on your total (Strength + Athletics) pool. Page 127 in the core book provides a table correlating your pool with lift weights:

(Strength +       Lift (lbs.)
  Athletics)
    1             80
    2             160
    3             250
    4             350
    5             450
    6             550
    7             650
    8             800
    9             1,000
    10            1,200
    11            1,400
    12            1,600
    13            1,800
    14            2,000
    15            2,200
    16            2,500
    17            3,000
    18            3,500
    19            4,000
    20            4,500

According to the Feats of Strength section above the table, throwing a heavy object a distance of (Strength + Athletics) yards requires a (Strength + Athletics) total 5 higher than the total needed to lift it. So, a character with a total of 6 could throw an 80 pound object 6 yards. A character with a total of 20 could throw an object weighing a metric ton most of the way down an American football field.

But the core book is silent on the subject of a weakling trying to throw something heavy (for them). For characters with a (Strength + Athletics) total in the 1 - 5 range, how much weight can they throw? Most normal humans have attributes (including Strength) in the 2-3 range, and most would have Athletics 1; even the Elite Soldier template from the Antagonists chapter only has Strength 3/Athletics 3 (the Regular Troops template has Strength 3/Athletics 2, and the Citizen template has Strength 2/Athletics 1).

Granted, a character could stunt (adding 1-3 to the total), channel a Virtue (adding 1-5 to the total), or spend a point of temporary Willpower (rolling to add on average (Willpower / 2) to the total). However, stunting requires making the action cinematic and cool enough to get the Storyteller to award you the stunt, Virtue channels don't come back until the end of the story, and temporary Willpower is generally only gained at the end of a story, when suffering a Limit Break, when performing an impressive (+2) stunt, and when succeeding on a Conviction roll each morning. (Plus, Virtue channels and temporary Willpower have other uses often far more vital to the survival of the self and the party than "watch the weakling throw the boulder.")

So: can those weaklings normal humans (including your common farmer) throw hefty objects a few feet? If so, how much weight can they toss around? Or are us noodle arms forced to use extreme measures (stunts, Virtue channels, temporary Willpower) if we want to throw a bale of hay?

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1 Answer 1

Throwing stuff is hard

Consider the scales at which the book is describing the actions. The table starts at 80lbs—the weight of an anvil or suit of heavy armor. In the United States, having to regularly lift only 50lbs is considered a workplace hazard, meaning that most people are really not expected to do anything approaching what is in that table.

As for hay bales? This news story that I randomly discovered on the web has a prizewinning throw of a 40lb hay bale at 15 yards. That low weight/high distance combination doesn't show up in the rules, which is a significant problem with this table, but I would resolve it in the following way:

  1. Start with whichever number you have on hand (weight or distance).
    I'll start from distance here, which means Str+Athletics of 15 (table entry 10).
  2. Every increment you move towards the target weight on the table modifies the Str+Athletics requirement by 1/2 dot. Off the low end of the table, divide the weight limit by 2 every increment.
    We go all the way down to 0, which is 10 increments, so we're looking at a Str+Athletics of 10 to perform that Feat of Strength. This is near the mortal maximum, but we'll assume that as this was a competition he spent willpower and/or made a stunt, so he's probably got a Str+Athletics of around 8.

But what about a regular old farmer...

Let's say you have Str+Athletics of 4, which might be typical of a farmer. You've got a 40lb hay bale (entry 0 on the table), which means the Str+Athletics target there is 5. To get it down to 4, you drop two increments, which leaves a range of 3 yards. Not so bad.

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Continuing with records... the shotput record for a 16 pound shot is a bit over 25 yards. This still roughly follows @Grubermensch's estimation. The world record for deadlift (requiring only standing up, arms down) is 1100lbs (Str+Athletics of 9-10ish). Weird that real life fits the upper end of the scale, but not the lower. –  Falsenames Jun 29 at 7:32
    
If I understand you correctly, your suggestion then would effectively result in extending the table towards the negative with: 0=40lb, -1=20lb, -2=10lb, -3=5lb, -4=2.5lb? So, the page who rarely lifts anything heavier than his soup bowl (Str 1, Athletics 0) could throw a bag of four 3 feet. –  Brian S Jun 30 at 7:16
    
The issue here is really that Exalted does not handle "normal" people in its rules. That page "who rarely lifts anything heavier than his soup bowl" is capable of lifting 80lbs by the published table. There's not much we can do to get around that. –  Grubermensch Jun 30 at 15:34

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