The Unconquered Sun chooses his champions from the greatest of humanity to be its champions. They are the wisest scholars, the greatest generals, and the most esteemed of diplomats. To be a Solar is to be creature of extremes—they are the mightiest of heroes, and often the most cunning of villains.
Solars turn their powers inwards, enhancing what Abilities they pursue. As well, they alone can reach past their natural limitations, using high-level Powers sooner than any other Exalt.
Lineage is the single most important thing to a Dragonblooded, as the blood of the Dragons may flare up and grant Exaltation. Every single Dragonblood can trace their heritage back in an unbroken chain towards the Elemental Dragons themselves.
As such Dragonblooded form complex societal webs, rife with intrigue, politics, and backstabbing—particularly in the world-spanning empire that is the Realm. Even the far flung, forgotten branches of their family trees will not be safe from such social pressures.
Every Dragonblood gains access to the five elements: Fire, Water, Air, Earth, and Wood. As well, as the current masters of the world, they gain the ability to naturally lord and command over peoples without restraint.
Luna, the Many-Faced Moon chooses their champions from those that cannot be bound—not by definitions, not by laws, and certainly not by any forms of slavery. The Chosen are raw, primal heroes, channeling the raw might of nature, the soul, and the chaotic might of the Wyld.
Lunars gain access to Shapeshifting, Beasts, Spirit, and the Wyld. As well, their gain access to a Half Form, which allows them to enhance and change their natural attributes as needed.
The Chosen of Fate, overseen by the Maidens of Destiny, come into power because they will have always been given that power. To be a Sidereal is to accept and understand this circular nature of reality. The Chosen of the Stars fight and guide the flow of Fate, Destiny, and the nature of reality itself.
Sidereals are gifted powers over the aspects of Fate. They may also weave in their own goals and visions into the tapestry of reality. In addition, they gain access to powerful and strange Martial Arts that stretch and bend the nature of reality.
The force of Oblivion seeps at the hidden edges of Creation, consuming and destroying what is so that nothing may replace it. Those mortal unlucky enough to be caught in these forces will find themselves split, empty, partially consumed. Within that shell of a broken soul, the power of the void can take root and form an Abyssal.
Abyssals are creatures that are neither alive nor dead, trapped in between realms. Much like the shadows, they take the form of the strongest light source—in this case the Solars—but their substance is nothing of them. What an Abyssals chooses to do with their profane and destructive power is their choice, be it to become a speaker for the dead, spirits of vengeance, or even those that wish to hearken the end.
The powers of the Abyssal revolve around Blood, Flesh, Shadows, and Memory.
Before even the Age of Glory, there was a war among the Gods, who overthrew their cruel masters. These creatures chafe at their imprisonment and seek to wreak their unfocused and impotent rage upon the creations of the Gods.
Infernals are their solution, a force of power given to those that are not worthy to hold such destructive force—and so will use it casually and callously in whatever force this unworthy mortal deems as “right and good.”
Their power is an abomination—a thousand pieces of stolen power from the other Exalts, taken from the foolish over millennia in exchange for pieces of the Yozi’s great, destructive power, and then stitched together into a demon that merges with the mortal.
Infernals draw their powers from the nature of their masters themselves, devoting to one path or another. As well, their form can be overwhelmed with their power, showing the power of their demon in a brief moment of unholy power.
The Machine God left careful arcane instructions to his followers, to build and create protectors while he slept and healed from his grievous wounds. From these byzantine and incomprehensible instructions are born the champions of his followers, and protector of his sleeping form.
Alchemicals are mortal souls born into an artificial body—built by mortal hands, but gifted the spark of exaltation by the sleeping god. They will always have a small community to protect and lead.
The power of the Alchemical is focused on the magical materials: Orichalcum, Jade, Moonsilver, Starmetal, and Soulsteel. Their powers are modular, allowing swapping of charms and powers as they see fit.
Attributes are a character’s raw, innate skills. They represent the capacity and limitations of the body, mind, and soul. Attributes may be trained and expanded on, but often take quite a bit of time and effort to do so which is represented by their experience costs.
All Attributes start at Rating One, and may reach up to Rating Five. There is nothing, save death, that can decrease a character’s Attribute below One.
Strength represents both the raw muscular strength a character contains, as well as the intuition and practice to use it effectively.
Dexterity is the fine control, reflexes, and agility a character has over their own body
Charisma is a measure of how a character can outwardly express themselves to others through active communication.
Insight is a measure of how a character can understand others by observing their actions, words, and expressions. A character with high Insight would be able to correctly guess and understand an other’s motivation to predict their next actions—as well as manipulate them.
Intelligence is a measure of how a character can think logically, organize thoughts, absorb information, and connect together disparate pieces of information.
Wits is a measure of intuition, common sense, and fast-thinking. Whenever a character needs to react quickly, come up with a clever quip, or intuit something with their “Street-Smarts,” they will use Wits.
Abilities are skills that have been honed, trained, and developed through education and experience. Abilities range from Zero (0) to Five (5).
Natural Abilities are those that any mortal (and thus Exalt) has the capacity learn, train, and perform actions with. Characters may always roll with a Natural Ability, even if they have 0 in the rating.
Mastery of physical weapons that deal damage through projectiles. Covers all weapons that have a launcher and projectiles, ranging from bows and arrows to slings to the exotic flamepiece.
Exalted does not require the Player to keep track of their character’s ammunition. You only run out when it is dramatically appropriate, as decided by the Player.
Athletics is a measure of physical motion, and covers anything that might constitute aerobic exercise.
Mastery of the body, allowing attacks from any part of the limb, ranging from kicking, punching, tripping, or grappling. While often performed unarmed, Brawl has a selection of weapons that can be used, such as brass knuckles.
Mastery of the close-quarter weapons, such as swords, axes, or clubs.
Note: Each point of Physique increases your Health by +1.
Physique is the measure of fortitude and well-being, strength and hardiness: the ability to shrug off attacks, poisons, and any debilitation of the body or mind.
Mastery of physical weapons that deal damage hurling weapons at enemies, such as knives, spears, and even improvised objects.
Bureaucracy relates to all matters legal, organizational, and mercantile.
Command covers the skills necessary to manage, inspire, and otherwise direct people, typically in large groups.
Integrity is a measure of how tightly a character can keep to their convictions, goals, and objectives without being influenced by outside forces.
Investigation focuses on the ability to search, uncover, or otherwise procure specific details, often revealing things that others do not want revealed.
Performance is the measure of not only how well a character is in the technical nature of singing, dancing, or other such artistic expression, but the ability to convey meaning and thoughts through those actions. A skilled performer not only knows how to entertain their crowd, but also knows how to incite that crowd into a frenzied riot should they desire.
Socialization is a way to relate and talk with people, making them feel heard and personally connected with them.
Deception is the art of trickery, manipulation, and physical stealth. Its masters are adept at getting people to do what they want without them even realizing an outside influence is even there.
Awareness is a measure of alertness and impromptu understanding of events through any and all of the senses.
Craft is used to produce, analyze, and repair physical constructs and moving parts. A crafter knows how to take raw discard material and turn it into a wondrous, machines intended for mechanical and aesthetic purposes.
Note: See the special Action Recall Fact
Lore is both the breadth and depth of understanding in the world, ranging from geographic knowledge to religion and philosophy.
Medicine is the study of the body and how it operates, spiritually, mentally, and physically. Those with high Medicine will know how to treat injuries, gather herbs, and strike at essence flow lines to heal (or harm) their patient.
Navigation is the ability to traverse terrains—from land, to sea, to jungle—and come out unscathed and on time. A trained Navigator will know their hand at reigns, the stern of a ship.
The art of not being seen, from physical stillness to knowing how to blend into a crowd. Also includes some tricks of the trade, such as lockpicking.
Survival is the ability to tame the wild-lands, ranging from scavenging, to identifying dangerous animals, as well as how to track others.
Supernatural Abilities are those that are beyond the reach of even the most talented mortal. No amount of training or skill can induct a mortal into a Supernatural Ability-only by special circumstances will the domain of the Gods be opened to them-such as Exaltation. Even then, it is often a limited selection.
For example, those chosen to be a Dragon-Blooded are opened up to the Elemental Abilities of Fire, Water, Air, Earth, and Wood, but are restricted from the Lunar’s Shapeshifting Ability.
A minimum of Rating One is required to perform any Supernatural Ability, and it cannot be learned without a specific Merit or Exaltation.
Since Supernatural Abilities are so closely tied with an Exaltation, Gods, or Creature of Power, most will be detailed in their respective books. Occult, however, is the only Supernatural Ability that is available to all Exalts, and even some mortals.
Sorcery is the method of twisting, changing, and exploiting the rules of reality to the practitioner’s favor. The methods of doing so are arcane, often requiring long, drawn-out rituals to perform correctly.
Occult encompasses many thing, but focuses primarily on Environmental changes, summoning of demons, and control over the spirits of the world.
All Exalted, and even some mortals, have the potential to learn Occult. However, they must be Initiated into the arts by some teacher or force. A Player should be able to point to one of their Merits as a reasonable source for their tutalage.
Occult, as a raw ability, can be used to sense the flows of essence around the player, as well as setup low magic rituals which are called “Thaumaturgies”. Examples include reading tea leaves, laying down a protective salt circle, or performing an exorcism.
As well, studies in Occult will often give a base level understanding of the difference between Spirits and otherworldly creatures of power—though it will always be filtered through a light of what the practical application is.
Occult is a broad skill, one that manipulates the very Essence that life in Creation relies upon, so it can sometimes be unclear to allow anything and everything through. So, there are a few guiding restrictions when using Occult and creating custom Spells:
It takes time. Aside from the most basic uses, Occult is highly ritualistic, rarely being able to used in single action. It also often may only be done in specific times of the day, or with certain reagents.
The cost is typically higher than other powers, and more often than not dips into Anima.
Changing the unwilling is particularly difficult, and cannot be done at introductory powers.
Having occult confers a certain base level knowledge about spirits, demons, and other aspects of Creation—however it should be treated as a compliment to Lore, not a replacement.
A general rule of thumb is to think of Occult concerned more with the “practical application” of such knowledge, with Lore focusing more on the historical, cultural, and general knowledge.
|Read Tea Leaves||
While the stars are visible, spend at least 15 minutes performing a ceremony brewing, drinking and then studying tea.
After which, roll (Int + Occult). If 3+, you may ask the Storyteller a single question about the Fate or Destiny of a character that drank from the tea. The Storyteller must answer truthfully, but may do so cryptically or through riddles.
|Unquenchable Flame||Gather and arrange a set of rocks, no wider than the width of a horse, in a geometric pattern favored by Hesiesh, the Dragon of Fire. After striking each stone with either a wooden or steel rod, flame will erupt and burn between the rocks without need of fuel, nor doused by all but the harshest of winds or rain.|
By chanting, forming ritualistic circles, and performing a concentrated twisting of Essence, the sorcerer can banish a ghost or other underworld creature back to a Shadowlands.
This cannot be done with any unwilling, undefeated creature that has an Essence Rating.
|Words of Dreams||By staring into a polished mirror, pond, or other reflective surface, and by sacrificing some symbolic link to the target such as a lock of hair, the Sorcerer can appear into the dreams of the target the next time they sleep.|
The provided Abilities are not considered comprehensive or exclusive list-simply a selection that is expected to be most useful in the Exalted setting. Creating abilities and charms custom to specific characters or settings is not only allowed, but it is encouraged!
There are a few guidelines that must be followed when creating a new ability:
An ability must be well-defined. If a couple of words do not communicate what the ability is about, and what it encompasses, then the theme needs to be refined some more.
It cannot be too broad. The provided abilities in the book should be the upper-limit on how broad of a theme an ability should be.
It cannot fully encompass another ability. There will often be overlap between abilities, which is allowed, but the custom ability should not simply be an ability and something else.
When creating charms for a custom ability, using and altering existing charms is perfectly acceptable.
When making a new ability that has the same design space as an other ability, many of the charms will be exactly the same. A character may use such purchased charm in both abilities, (so long as they meet the minimum ability requirement.) They do not need to purchase the charm twice.
Drive. Useful for a modern setting. Involves the natural handling of high-speed craft, ranging from finding ways around a complicated city to performing daring maneuvers to shake off pursuers. Pulls heavily from Navigation.
Firearms. Useful for a modern setting. In standard Exalted setting, firearms are the exception, a rare bauble and interest to be found. But in a modern setting, this would supplant the Archery ability as the primary ranged ability. Many of the charms would be similar.
Cooking. Typically, this ability is not marked on a character sheet, as it does not impact the story much. But if you are a grand cook, to such a great extent that you wish to form charms and powers around it, it can be its own specialized ability.
A Merit is any sort of benefit or background that may help the character, outside of their normal internal powers would grant.
Merits are often intimately tied to a character’s story—they have wealth because they were born into it—and typically may only be gained or upgraded during character creation, or through the Projects system during campaign.
Almost all Merits are location or context-dependent, and so are often restricted based on the nature of the story campaign.
When you purchase Contacts, for example, you must specify what their nature is, and their location. i.e. “The assassins of the Eastern Forests.”
Multiple merits of different locations and types can be purchased.
Most of the time a Merit is just a statement of fact about your character, and should simply shape the story with its presence—Followers will do what you say, wealth backs a bribe attempt with truth, and an ally will generally be helpful if they can be. A good rule of thumb is that if the difficulty of the action is less than the rating of the merit, it simply just happens.
On the rare cases when the outcome is uncertain, an appropriate [Attribute + (Ability or Merit rating)] may be asked for. For example, you may raise a glorious ancient artifact to prove your worth to a crowd with [Composure + Artifact rating], attempt to convince an ally to do a dangerous task for you with [Charisma + Ally], or know a piece of obscure Lunar history with [Intelligence + Fact: Silver Pact Member]
At the storyteller’s discretion, a Merit can be exhausted for a period of time after a large, impactful use of the merit, and be unable to be used except in limited ways. For example, after a character with Wealth (4) manages to bribe the Prince of a city into their pocket, the Storyteller declares that this is a serious use of their Wealth merit, and that all significant expenditure of their wealth is now tied up into this one action and must recover.
The Storyteller designates the length of time the merit is exhausted, though this cannot last longer than a single story.
Loss of Merits
Merits, unlike Powers purchased by the player, are not guaranteed to be protected for the duration of the story.
Temporary restrictions to merits—such as an Ally being unable to help in this situation, even if the merit isn’t exhausted—is explicitly allowed. However, the Storyteller should always be judicious about such decisions.
During dramatic parts of the story—and with coordination between Storyteller and Player, merits can be permanently removed. This may be done through such things as a stunning defeat, or a tragic change in an Ally’s cause.
Facts are simple, undeniable statements about the character that may help them in their adventures. They are the most free-form of all the merits, and encompass anything from a description of a character’s origin to markers of accomplishments.
Facts are typically chosen during character creation, awarded at the end of a Story, or to mark completion of a significant world Project.
Facts are set to 3 dots for ease of use—they are significant enough to impact the setting significantly, but not world changing. It is intended to be a “rule of thumb” for what should be written on the character sheet.
If there is a need for a higher or lower merit to be written down, it should become its own custom merit.
The Character is an official in an organization. Their rating represents how much organizational power the character has.
The Character may instruct subordinates to Perform a Task without question, so long as it is in line with the goals and morals of the organization.
Backing 2 would either represent being the head of a local organization, or the leader of a local chapter of a global organization, whereas Backing 5 would represent being the head of a global organization of great note.
Special Note: Bonds must be purchased by all bonded characters, though they need not be the same level.
Your soul has been entwined with another, uniting your Destinies. The character instinctively knows if their Bond is in danger, and the general direction they are in.
Influence to directly harm, endanger, or otherwise disadvantage their Bond is treated as Unacceptable Influence. This may be used reflexively.
You have a network of contacts in a given location and class of society willing to give you information. So long as you are in a location of your contacts, there’s always someone with a friendly face, or who knows someone who knows something.
The Character is a leader and/or target of worship for a religious cult. They unquestioningly follow your commands, but will also require periodic guidance, attention, and often may do unwanted things in their fervor.
Wealth is a renewable source of money. A character with any source of Wealth needs not worry for basic necessities or sustenance, and may always purchase a place to rest.
Targets can be paid (or bribed) to Perform a Task without needing a roll or any Social Influence. Some characters may refuse this offer, or even be offended by it.
Allies are individuals, groups, or organizations that a character may call upon to aid them in their endeavors—proven to be an asset.
Allies are not at the whim and mercy of the character—they have their own lives and concerns to deal with, but they can be assumed to not willingly or knowingly hurt the player character.
The Rating of Allies represents both the scale and influence of the ally: Rating 1 would be a competent mortal guard. Rating 3 would be an Exalt or a medium spanning organization. Rating 5 would be a high-rating God or an organization such as the Guild.
Allies in Combat
Exalted is a story about the Player Characters, not about the companions they have surrounded themselves with.
By default whenever combat breaks out, any Allies will get tied up in their own battle group—splitting off part of the attack force and dealing with them in a parallel combat scene that is only visually referenced, not mechanically.
However, the Player Character may choose to “Bark Orders” at an ally, which allows the Player to use one of their two actions as the Ally.
Artifacts are items that contain wondrous, supernatural effects upon the world. Artifacts typically have some sort of inherent supernatural usefulness to them that is immediately available on purchase of the artifact.
Evocations are Powers the artifact contains that must be awakened by additionally purchasing Evocations with xp.
Rating 2 Artifacts are minor wonders: they have some sort of inherent supernatural usefulness, such as a water skin inlaid with jade that filters and purifies all water within. Rating 2 Artifacts have no Evocations.
Rating 3 Artifacts may have a Lesser Evocation
Rating 4 Artifacts may have 2 Evocations, and have a Greater Evocation.
Rating 5 Artifacts have up to 3 Evocations, 2 Greater Evocations, and 1 Capstone Evocation.
Each purchase of this merit represents a new language the Player Character has learned to speak, read, and write in.
Note: All Characters start with 2 Languages, typically their Local Tongue, and the trade Language Riverspeak.
Specific local tongue.
The Trade Language, Rivertongue (if not already known)
Directional Language: While not a true language in itself, a Directional Language is a collection of general speech patterns and dialects that would fit as “close enough” with the local tongue of anybody living in the respective Cardinal Directions (Air, Wood, Fire, Water) to communicate most thing.
High Realm, what is spoken by the elite in the center of the Realm. (Realm has completely taken over and eliminated Earthtongue).
Note: “Common” is relative to the character, and depends on the setting. A character from Autochthonia would find Autochthonian common, after all.
Old Realm, which is what most First Age scrolls are written in, and still spoken by many Gods and Spirits.
Dragontongue, the language of the Shogunate, enforced to be the common language before the Realm came to existence. Some traditional sects of mortals still hold onto this tradition.
Malfean, a terrible tongue spoken only by demons.
Autochthonian, A tongue spoken from those trapped inside the body of the great Maker.
Allows a mortal to purchase Techniques of a specific Style, (excluding Greater Techniques), and grants them a 3 mote pool that may only be used on the style’s Techniques.
A Mortal may learn this merit on their own, though it is rare.
A mutation represents any non-standard body configuration that may be useful to the character. This is a boon (or curse, depending on attitudes), is granted by sourcerous workings, the gods, and the eddies of the dangerous Wyld.
|Toxin Resistance||1||You can ignore small levels of a specified class of toxin, and gain a Moderate Advantage when resisting larger quantities.|
|Natural Armor||1||You have scales, leather, or other natural armor. You are never without your armor.|
|Tail||1||You have a tail, which can be used as a limited-dexterity appendage.|
|Fins||2||You may move normally through water. Your fins may be hidden or disguised.|
|Wings||2||You may fly through the air. Your wings cannot be hidden.|
|Wings (Hideable)||3||You may fly through the air. Your wings can be hidden at any time.|
|Extra Limbs||3||You have another pair of dexterous arms and hands (or legs or tentacles)|
Most Supernatural Merits require Storyteller Approval to purchase, or to grant to followers.
Gain access to a Supernatural Ability normally outside your purview. This must be given as a boon from a supernatural entity that already has access to that Supernatural Ability.
Mortal Sorcerers must have this merit to access Sorcery or Necromancy.
Endowment grants access to a mote pool of 10 if the character does not have one. This mote pool may only be used for this specific Endowment.
If a Mortal Exalts with this merit and that supernatural ability is granted to them, they are refunded the merit costs.
3—Use of the Ability, but restricted in some way: For example: Shapeshifting may be granted, but only into only one creature.
4—Use of the Ability, restricted in some way. In addition, they may purchase Lesser Charms.
5—Use of the Ability in its entirety and the ability to purchase Charms normally.