Friday, November 12, 2010


Exalted is a game of epic fantasy storytelling, made by White Wolf. In Exalted, you play (what else?) one of the Exalted, a group of humans chosen and elevated by the gods in order to protect and take care of the mortal realm. In the ancient past, the Primordials, the creatures who made Creation and the gods, ran everything, but as the gods watched their master grow decadent, carelessly destroying things or warping the minds and bodies of living beings simply because they could, the gods decided their masters needed to go. Cleverly, the Primordials had created the gods such that the gods could not revolt directly - but, with the aid of one or two Primordials who agreed with the gods, they created a group of mortal warriors to fight the war for them. It was a brutal, bloody, terrible war, but in the end the gods won, and left the caretaking of the physical world to their warriors, the Exalts.

The greatest Exalted were the Solars, created by the greatest of gods, the Unconquered Sun; it was they who were placed in charge. The Lunars, creations of the moon goddess Luna, were placed as advisors, mates, bodyguards, and friends to the Solars, while the Sidereals, chosen of the Five Maidens, were put in place to plot and plan and keep reality running. The Dragon-Blooded, children of the Elemental Dragons, were the footsoldiers of the Exalted. As time went on, the Solars, too, grew decadent and cruel, and the Sidereals, with the help of the Dragon-Blooded, hatched a plot to overthrow the Solars, kill them, and keep their mystic Exaltations from reincarnating in new hosts. When the Solars died, and died hard, the Lunars who survived fled to the boundaries of Creation, where the Wyld, the stuff of chaos, bled into the borders of ordered reality, and hid.

The Dragon-Blooded took over, with the Sidereals directing them from behind the scenes, until the spirits of the defeated Primordials grew restless - and decided to try to kill or corrupt all of Creation. The spirits of dead Primordials, the Neverborn, crafted an army, using the spirits of 13 former Solars as their generals and stealing some of the hidden Solar Exaltations as their greatest warriors to destroy reality. The Yozis - the Primoridals who surrendered and were imprisoned - use their control over demons, and a handful of stolen Solar Exaltations, to try and corrupt the world and free themselves. The Fair Folk, formless creatures who simply want to return creation to the chaos of the Wyld, await the chance to enter reality, and the hold of the Dragon-Blooded on the Realm they have crafted is slipping. Into this come the Solar Exalted, their Exaltations freed after millenia of imprisonment; to what cause will they lend their great power? And if you were one of these Chosen of the Sun, what would you do?

(Alternately, for an amusing take on the setting's history and culture, go here:

As a Storyteller game by White Wolf, the Exalted system bears a number of similarities with other White Wolf games; attributes and abilities remain mostly unchanged. To create a Solar Exalt, first I need a background; I'm thinking a character who aspires to be a thief so great, literally no one will ever know he was there. This moves into choosing a caste; there are 5 castes of Solars, Dawn, Zenith, Twilight, Night, and Eclipse. Night is the caste that best fits my concept, with favored skills like Athletics, Awareness, Dodge, Larceny, and Stealth. It also has a special ability that allows me to not only mute my expression of power when I get (and use) my supernatural powers, but also to extend that muteness outwards from me, making me harder to notice. Seems handy to me. Then, I move on to attributes; as a Solar, I get 8 dots for my primary set, 6 for my secondary, and 4 for tertiary. Since I want to be a Night caste thief, I need to be pretty physical, so that will be my primary; I'll put 4 points in Dexterity, and 2 each in Strength and Stamina. I'll take Social as my secondary, and put 2 points each in Charisma, Manipulation, and Appearance; finally, for Mental, I'll put one point each in Intelligence and Wits, and 2 points in Perception.

After that, I move on to abilities. My caste abilities, listed above, are easier for me to advance once play has started, and I can pick another five Favored abilities; I'll choose Investigation, Lore, Socialize, Thrown, and Martial Arts. I have to put one point each (at least ) in each Favored ability; I'll put one each in all but Investigation, where I'll put two. I then have 22 points left to distribute in abilities; I want to be good at my caste abilities, and can't raise anything above three yet, so I'll put three in each of my caste abilities: Athletics, Awareness, Dodge, Larceny, and Stealth. That leaves me with 7 points; I'll put another point in each of my Favored abilities (actually, 2 more in Thrown), and then my last point in Survival, just in case.

After abilities, I move on to Backgrounds. I have seven points here, and they're pretty useful; I'll put two in Resources, so I have some cash to fall back on, 2 in Contacts, so I'm in touch with the people who matter, and 3 in Artifact; with those, I'll nab myself an artifact Mask, which lets me alter my appearance at will and control any emotions I may show, as well as misdirect any observers as to my true motives, for 2 points, and then an Artifact chain shirt made of orichalcum for the third point - can't be too careful. then I move into the interesting part of character generation, charm selection.

Charms are the supernatural powers of the Exalted, and as a Solar, I start with 10; charms are each tied to an ability. First, I want to be able to Dodge any attacks; first, I'll take Shadow Over Water, which lets me ignore any penalties to a Dodge roll, and then I'll take Seven Shadows Evasion, a Perfect Dodge charm - this lets me dodge any attack I see coming, no matter what it is. Satisfied with that, I'll move on to Larceny. First, I'll pick up Flawless Pickpocketing Technique, which guarantees success on a pickpocketing attempt; then I'll take Stealing From Plain Sight Spirit, which lets my character literally steal anything in plain sight, and others won't, and in fact are incapable, of noticing it for some time. I'll take Lock-Opening Touch, as well, making it trivial to open even the hardest locks. Then on to Stealth; I'll pick up Easily-Overlooked Presence Method, which makes me hard to notice, then Mental Invisibility Technique, letting me compel others to ignore my presence. Finally here I'll take Vanishing From Mind's Eye Method, which lets me literally erase myself from the memories of others. Then I'll take Graceful Crane Stance, which lets me automatically keep my balance in almost any situation, and Spider-Foot Style, which lets me run on any surface, even vertical or upside-down, from Athletics. Finally, I'll go with a combat charm or two from Thrown; I'll take a First Thrown Excellency, which lets me add dice to a Thrown roll, and then Joint-Wounding Attack, which lets me stun and wound foes by hitting tendons, muscles, joints and the like.

After Charms, I move on to Virtues, which are not as fun but are important; they determine my Willpower, for one, and also the nature of my Flaw. The Virtues are Compassion, Conviction, Temperance, and Valor; I start with one in each, and then have 5 more points to add. I'll put three points in Temperance, which reflects my self-control and clear-headedness, and then 2 in Conviction, which reflects my resistance to mental and physical hardship. Guess I won't be very Valorous or Compassionate. This means, hat because my Temperance and Conviction combined equal 7, that that is my Willpower. I start with 2 permanent Essence, and a pool of Essence from those two permanent points equal to (as a personal pool) Essence x 3 + Willpower, and (as a peripheral pool) Essence x 7 +Willpower +total of all Virtues. Finally, I have bonus points to spend - 15, in fact. I'll spend 7 to get a 3rd point of Essence, 2 each to raise Stealth and Larceny to 5, 1 point to add a point in Dodge, and the last three to add Specialties of 3 dice each to Larceny and Stealth. So the final character looks like:

Dieb the Incorrigible
Night Caste
Physical: Strength 3, Dexterity 5, Stamina 3
Social: Charisma 3, Manipulation 3, Appearance 3
Mental: Perception 3, Intelligence 2, Wits 2

Caste: Athletics 3, Awareness 3, Dodge 4, Larceny 5 (Specialty 3: Con games), Stealth 5 (Specialty 3: Moving Silently)
Favored: Investigation 3, Lore 2, Martial Arts 2, Socialize 2, Thrown 3

Resources: 2
Contacts: 2
Artifact: 3 (Artifact Mask, Orichalcum chain shirt)

Athletics: Graceful Crane Stance, Spider-Foot Style
Dodge: Shadow Over Water, Seven Shadow Evasion
Larceny: Lock-Opening Touch, Flawless Pickpocketing Technique, Steal From Plain Sight Spirit
Stealth: Easily-Overlooked Presence Method, Mental Invisibility Technique, Vanishing From Mind's Eye Method
Thrown: First Thrown Excellency, Joint-Wounding Technique

Compassion 1, Conviction 3, Temperance 4, Valor 1

Willpower: 7
Essence: 3
Personal Essence Pool: 16
Peripheral Essence Pool: 37

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