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  1. The sun was already sinking in the west and the first torches being shuffled up into the stands when they called the woman the shouters called Song of Blades to the arena. The exhibition had been less than overwhelming thus far, and the crowd was restless; the remains of several gladiators were still being hauled off the field along with the young river dragon they'd battered nearly to death before it finished them, and more than a few of the crowd were short a fair amount of coin on the result. Still, the evening's crowning match was sure to be worth betting on. Song of Blades was viper-swift, a slender whipcord of a girl whose preternatural grace had let her elude death at the hands of far more experienced gladiators and whose exotic beauty spawned rumors that a Southern demon had begotten her. On the other hand, betting against Belgar of the North was usually a losing proposition; the massive barbarian from the frozen wastes could make the stands themselves shake with the impact of his massive war-club, and he'd survived an unequaled five seasons in the gladiatorial circuit with only a single loss in a wrestling competition in Great Forks. He was already working the crowd, demonstrating his bone-shattering strength against heavy barrels and tossing half-filled crates of feed about like sacks of millet. Fat Thilneas ceased fondling one of his hired girls long enough to gesture to one of the servants. "Bring her out."
  2. There are so many things we do not understand in the daily goings on that we call life. History is flawed, countries come and go, and time waits for none of us. Wars are waged, lives are lost, and millennia upon bloody millennia we assume ourselves to be the dominant force in our world. But, alas my friends that was not always so. No, there was a time when we were but the onlookers in a land that history has never mentioned, a time of war, turmoil, and blood. It was a time of adventure, of Gods, monsters and sorcery. It was the time of the Exalted. Normal men and women granted the power of gods. Chosen by the Celestial Incarna to lead the people and guide the world into an age of prosperity and peace and for a time it was so. This was the First Age of Creation, and it was a time of miracles beyond description. The sorcerous might of the Exalted knew no limit. Armies expanded the borders of the world itself. Cities flew through the sky on Essence engines, and for five millennia the Solar Deliberative ruled Creation with the Lunar stewards watching over the people, the Sidereals guided destiny acting as advisors and bureaucrats, while the army of Terrestrial Exalted kept the lands safe from any of Creations enemies. It did not last however. The Solars grew arrogant, and as hubris claimed their hearts and minds they eventually found themselves the target of a great coup. The Sidereal whispered in the ears of the Terrestrial generals that if they rose up to slay their masters they could win, with their help. And so it was that with their great numbers the Terrestrial Exalts slew their master and usurped their world. Crafting an elaborate prison from jade they worked sorceries to trap the souls of their Solar masters within it to ensure they would not be permitted to reincarnate. Under the rule of the Terrestrial Exalts, who started calling themselves the Dragon-Blooded, the people were looked down upon as slaves and peasantry. There was no peace, there was only tyrannical rule under the essence laden clenched fist of the Scarlet Dynasty. But… The will of the Lawgivers… the Savants of the Sun… the Heroes of the Dawn… the Solar Exalts is indomitable. After 1,500 years of being trapped within the jade prison that was cast to the blackest depths of the White Sea one by one, little by little, the Solar Exalted have begun to shatter their bonds and free their shards of power from a long, cold and unjust sleep… And the world became more interesting over night. But more of that later… our story is but one of thousands, but it begins in a small outlying village in the Republic of Chaya. A beautiful land filled with lush forests bordering the southern jungles of Rathess. In the small community of Hekran’s Ferry only six hundred mortal souls lived and worked. A fishing village on the east bank of the Sandy River was home to those who, like most of Chaya, was only nominally loyal to the Realm and their now missing Scarlet Empress. A Circle of Solar Exalts had found their way to the community some six months ago, the Wyld Hunt nipping at their heels with every step. It is here in this small hamlet they were able to lick their wounds and gather information on the state of the Scarlet Empire. They labored every day, doing their best to not cause problems for the good people of Hekran’s Ferry. And for six months none have been aware that they were in the presence of god-kings. Except for one… Elsbeth. She was a young woman who was both beautiful and feared with in the rickety fences of her community. There were no secrets the Exalts could keep from her. Innocently she’d ask them questions and drink deep their answers, when they chose to answer. In the months since their arrival the Circle had gained something of a follower in the girl. Always finding time to be near one of all of them completely obsessed by how above average their lives were compared to her rather dull one, but she was a good young lass who tended to her chores and always kept a smile on her face despite the curse she carried with her. The curse of visions. Cryptic, eerie and completely random the girl would deliver the fate of the world as her body convulsed while the Maidens of Fate spoke through her. Several times over the past months our heroes has seen her deliver these message and each time her mother would plead with their guests to never tell a soul lest the Dynasts stationed in Larjyn to the south come and put her to the sword as anathema to Creation. Among a mid summer day as our heroes were taking a break beneath ‘Father Oak’, an incredibly large and shady tree just several yards outside the northern fence that marked the last property line. It was usually the favored gathering spot for festivals and holiday gatherings, and today it was the shade for future masters of Creation. “Guys!” Came the distant yell of an innocent voice, young, vibrant and full of life. “Silly butts! Here you are. I’ve been looking everywhere.” And guest. The alluring young Elsbeth, tiring from her long jog around the area, collapsed to her knees. Her long and rather old and worn dress kept her delicate legs free from grass or loose pebbles. Elated that she had found her friends Elsbeth plopped a basket down into the soft grass. “Um, you were all working so hard this morning helping out after that storm last night I thought I’d make you lunch. It’s certainly not the greatest, just fen berry jam with peanut spread, but it’s about all we have here.” Her smile was warm enough to melt the northlands. “Oh, and some chilled mika tea. Great for afternoons in the shade.” Setting each item out to the side of the basket as she spoke, the young lady pulled her long blonde hair to one shoulder to keep it from obstructing her vision as she tended to the mid day meal of her Exalted friends.
  3. Callum stopped and looked around, something felt odd, something similar to the cave. An odd name, manse, he thought to himself. Sometimes the memories of his solar essence provided him with useful knowledge but more often than not they only compelled him to find and destroy the wicked, avenge his family and village on any person or monster that would attack the helpless. Behind him he heard a soft whine, he looked back and Eilein was staring at him, clearly curious why he had stopped but also worried. She could sense his sadness and more often than not the memories of his solar essence led to memories of his lost life and then to sadness. He smiled at her to reassure her that he was fine. She quickly perked up her ears springing up and her tongue lolling out in that goofy wolf smile. Callum shook his head, in many ways the young she-wolf reminded him of his daughter, especially in her demeanor. She could go from serious to playful in an instant, it hadn’t taken him long to name her after his child. He continued on, twilight was wrapping it dark velvety arms about the forest and Callum was hoping to catch something, anything, for dinner. While he could live off the forest alone Eilein didn’t eat her vegetables, again much like his lost daughter. At that thought he chuckled, it was pretty silly thinking a wolf would make a meal of vegetables. Well I’m not going to catch anything standing the dark, he thought as he got moving again, And Eilein isn’t going to catch much for another few months at the least. Half an hour later he was padding quietly through the dark, his bow notched and ready, after a small boar. It would be more than enough for the two of them for at least a day, maybe longer. Up ahead a light flared and the boar, startled, bounded off into the bush. Caught flat-footed Callum could not continue and the prey was lost, “Damn,” he said quietly. Eilein padded up behind him and whined, “Yes, I’m hungry too. Hopefully the snares caught a rabbit for you.” At the mention of rabbit Eilein perked up, she loved rabbits and Callum had laid more than a few snares out for them as a back for when he could not take down a small deer or a boar. Looking back toward the direction that the light was Callum found that he could make out a faint light still remaining. It silhouetted what looked like a structure, Strange, nobody lives anywhere near here. Moving as quietly as possible, with Eilein a few steps behind him, Callum moved toward the light, curious what it was he had stumbled upon. He reached out and poured essence into his anima, wrapping it around him and cloaking his presence with it, for a brief moment a wolf’s head shown above his own then faded to darkness as he moved forward once more. Ahead he now saw a ruined building, and it appeared to be just one of many, possibly an entire town or city left here and abandoned since the first age. He crept into the building and picked his way amongst the shattered stone and rotted wood. Soon he found himself looking into the courtyard nestled within the grasp of the crumbling villa. The area was cleared and within a small fire produced the light he had seen from the forest. Sitting near the fire was a young woman of perhaps twenty and an older man. They were conversing quietly and the old man appeared to be teaching the woman something. Callum watched for a time and then the woman rose. Facing the man she began to make strange gestures while incanting words in a tongue unknown to him. Suddenly a golden circle inscribed with strange symbols and sigils appeared above her in the air and burst into bright light. Startled Callum took a step back and slipped on a piece of loose stone. He landed hard and a grunt escaped him. The woman, startled, turned and looked in his direction. She was greeted with the sight of a man, dressed in buckskin, sitting on his rump. His head was wrapped in brown and green strips of cloth only his eyes showing. He had an axe at his side and a bow and quiver on his back. Despite being wrapped in leather the end of the bow shone in the light and betrayed their orichalcum material. Behind him a wolf, small and clearly and adolescent, crouched.
  4. It was mentioned in chat, so I've decided to give it a shot. Would anyone be interested in an Exalted game?
  5. 1. Decide your character's Caste, Concept, and Motivation. Make a note of your Caste Anima power- how to use it, what it does, what it costs, etc. 2. Prioritize your Mental, Physical, and Social Attributes by listing them as Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary, and allocate 8, 6, and 4 dots respectively. (Don't forget, they all start at 1 dot anyway!) 3. Make note of your Caste Abilities and choose 5 (different) Favored Abilities. As a Solar, you'll get 28 dots to spend on these, with the following restrictions: none can have a rating higher than 3 without spending Bonus Points, at least 10 have to go into Caste/Favored Abilities, and your Favored Abilities must have at least one dot each. 4. Allocate 7 Background dots (none higher than 3 without Bonus Points), pick 10 Charms/Spells (5 must be from Caste/Favored Abilities, must meet the Ability and Essence pre-requisites), allocate 5 dots of Virtues (none higher than 4 without Bonus Points), and choose your Virtue Flaw. (See Virtue Flaws below.) 5. Record your Essence, which begins at 2, but can be raised by spending Bonus Points. Record your Willpower, which is the total of your two highest Virtues. Your Personal Essence pool is calculated as follows: ([Essence x 3] + Willpower). Your Peripheral Essence pool is: ([Essence x 7] + Willpower + [sum of all Virtues]). You'll start with the standard 7 Health Levels (0,-1,-1,-2,-2,-4,INC) unless supplemented with Charms like Ox Body Technique. Bonus Points: You get 15, and you can spend them at any time during character creation. Point costs are as follows: Ability 2 (1 if Favored/Caste)Attribute 4Background 1 (2 if it's being raised above 3)Charms 5 (4 if Favored/Caste) Essence 7Intimacies 3 increases starting Intimacies to (Willpower + Compassion) Specialty 1 (2 dots per point if Favored/Caste) Virtue 3 Willpower 2 Merits and Flaws: We will be using them. There is a list in the 1E Exalted PG that we'll be working from, but if there's one in another WW game you'd really like to use, we can probably work something out via PM. You can have a maximum of 7 points in each. (If there's sufficient need, I'll compose a list of applicable Merits/Flaws from the book.) Qualities: They aren't actually used, but we're making an exception because we like them. Standard rules apply- the Attribute in question must be a 4 or higher. Virtue Flaws: Only a few are actually listed in the book, but over the years we've found a number of really interesting ones online. If you want to use one that's non-standard, just drop us a PM with the details. Intimacies: These are new to 2E. They're things your character cares about (causes, ideals, places, people, etc.), but aren't as potent as his/her Motivation. You automatically start with a number of Intimacies equal to your Compassion, though you can take less if you wish. They generally don't mean much, except in Social Combat, though they have been known to grant more concrete benefits in our games, like regaining a point of spent Willpower when acting in defense of an important Intimacy. Note that, like stunt dice, bonus XP, or regaining spent motes of Essence for particularly good roleplaying, this sort of reward is up to the ST. (If you're not familiar with 2E, we'll be happy to help you decide on your Intimacies based on his/her background.) History/Background: All characters should have one when (or before) they're submitted. The better and more believable the background, the more likely you'll get something nifty for it, and the easier it'll be for us to abuse guide your characters. In the past, we've handed out additional Artifacts, Bonus Points, etc. for histories that were exceptionally well-done. If you're having trouble, we've got a rather large document of questions (available upon request) that should help crystallize what your character is like and where they've been. If any of this seems vague, or if you've got any questions, feel free to post here and I'll edit the guidelines and clarify as necessary.
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