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Dave ST

Exalted: And No, It's Not Avatar (much)

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Exalted: Dragon-Blooded

It was discussed in chat and for those of you interested in this potential game, here are a few possibilities for background stories for the world and setting itself. It will be open to 5 players, one from each Aspect. Aspects will be granted based on the merit of the character submission and how well they’ll fit into the story, not first come first serve.

Some may get stuck with an Aspect they don’t like, but I implore you consider that it’s not the Aspect that makes the character; it’s you and how the character is played.

A few possible scenarios include:

1. 2,500 years ago the Dragon-Blooded claimed creation by finally overpowering all the other Exalts (with the Sidereals help) and then finally turned on the Sidereals. What remains is the world the Dragon-Blooded Empire desired. Every shard now rests within the Jade prison at the bottom of the blackest sea trench.

The squabbling over the Scarlet Throne led to The Parting. Each of the Dynastic Houses led their families to their respective poles within Creation. Over time the saturation of the Essence generated by their pole robbed each house of their right to Exalt into anything but an Exalted of their Aspected Element. Fire to the South, Water to the West, Wood to the East, etc. In return for this sacrifice each Aspect was given its own nation to rule in its own corner of Creation.

  • A. You are all established members of your respective families, possibly war heroes and Stewards of the land. This sets you up as nobility and assumes your PCs are experienced, adult Dragon-Blooded.
  • B. Average Jane and Joe Dragon-Blood. You’re just getting out of your Finishing School and respective training academies. You are ready to begin accepting your responsibilities within your homes and set out to make a name for yourself.
  • C. You are the Bad-News-Bears of the Dragon-Blood society. For some reason you are just about the worst at everything there is. Perhaps you are an Immaculate Monk who doesn’t ever get the katas right, or you’re the worst swordsman your family has seen in generations. You’re the target of ridicule and harassment and there’s always someone (everyone) who’s better than you. You’ll never amount to anything… or will you?

2. The Dragon-Blooded won the war. It was a hard fought victory and Creation suffered greatly for it, but they won; only to be betrayed. Call it divine justice, or Fate but when they were at their weakest and their numbers dwindled the most, they suffered from a betrayal they knew all too well and had perfected a millennium ago. It was not the spirits or the Gods that rose up against them but the very people of Creation. Mortal men and women who’d spent all their lives and their ancestor’s lives watching the Exalted tear apart the world with war and famine and destruction and who suffered for it: the people of Creation. The very Wyld Hunt techniques they used on the Solar and Lunar Exalted were now turned upon them and for decades the people hunted them and branded them demons like the Solar Anathema until there were none left. Not a single one left…

2,500 years have passed in a world where the Exalted are extinct. As legends say, the power of the Dragons lies not in a shard… but in the blood.

  • A. You Exalt into greatness; an ancient ancestor of yours was an Exalt of exceptional breeding and his power remains potent after all these centuries. Congratulations. You have power, the people worship you like a God and suddenly all of Creation is your oyster! So uh… what now?
  • B. When your blood burns with the power of the Great Dragons you are looked upon as a monster, a demon anathema and are cast from your home, your family. You barely escape with your life and now must decide if you will become the monster they believe you to be, or their Steward in the coming dark times…
  • C. Well, at least you weren’t branded anathema, but now that you’re Exalted no one pays any attention to you. You are an outcast and you barely have any control of your abilities. You were a loser before you Exalted and now you’re an even bigger loser than before, sans friends and family.

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My vote is for 1C or 2B, personally. It's no fun if phenomenal cosmic power (itty bitty living space) is handed to you on the proverbial silver platter. smile

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Looks like the 1Cs and the 2Bs are where this might be headed.

I was asked: If there are no Exalted, what will the challenge be? The answer is that the PC will be dealing mostly with mortals. Without the Exalts the mortal people inherited all the power and technology of the Exalts.

Thanks to Lookshy and several other God, Demon, and Ghost-Blooded, the Exalts made a habit of passing down the secrets of updating and creating most magitech, up to and including creating artifacts. They also taught mortals how to awaken their own Essence and channel that power. To keep things a challenge but still make it interesting for the Exalts, most non-extra mortals will be Heroic Mortals with Awakened Essence. They will have their own Charms and dirty tricks up their sleeves.

On a side note, keep in mind the setting guys. Remember, if there is no Immaculate Order, then the Terrestrial Martial Arts more than likely went with them, although there still may be a Sifu out there in the world... somewhere.

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If we are going with 1C OR 2B what, if any, are the restrictions on where Ability points need to be spent?

As a concept idea, I had in mind a Wood Exalt, an outdoorsy type who's more at home in the wilderness than in a city. Whether thats because he's a screwup by Dragon Blood standards (or perhaps his disdain for civilisation is the reason he's considered a screwup) or because he has to flee the mob and pitchforks, the basic idea for the character won't change much.

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Hrm. Personally, I'd think it would rule out, minimally, sorcery and any martial art not specifically geared toward mortals. I'm sure Dave probably has a clearer idea of what he wants, though.

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Originally Posted By: Sunshine
If we are going with 1C OR 2B what, if any, are the restrictions on where Ability points need to be spent?

As a concept idea, I had in mind a Wood Exalt, an outdoorsy type who's more at home in the wilderness than in a city. Whether thats because he's a screwup by Dragon Blood standards (or perhaps his disdain for civilisation is the reason he's considered a screwup) or because he has to flee the mob and pitchforks, the basic idea for the character won't change much.


I think we'll be going with 1C, that way you guys have a bit more to work with in the way of family structure and rivalries.

All characters must spend their points on the requirements for all Dynast Dragon-Bloods (Outcastes were assimilated in the Realm a long time ago, to keep things simple). So all PCs will have at least Archery 1, Lore 2, Martial Arts 1, Melee 1, Performance 1, Presence 1, Ride 1, Socialize 2 and War 1.

To put a bit more clarification on the 1C theme, your PCs are just the underdogs, for whatever reason devised by you. I'll help you out with a few examples:

1. You lack self-confidence. Because of this everyone can bully you and push you around and you refuse to stand up for yourself. You do things for others simply because if you don't you know they'll just bully into doing it anyways. Your family and the Dragon-Blood nation as a whole will see this as a certain weakness: you have no spine! One day, you will have confidence... and when you do, your enemies will tremble before you.

2. Just plain irresponsible. You're late all the time, you never have a plan and you ever think things through. It's always someone else's fault and you never see any reason to hold yourself accountable for any of your actions. It should be obvious that this would never fly in Dragon-Blooded society and you would bring great shame on your family. You have some growing up to do, but when that day comes you may very rise up to be one of the greatest leaders of an era.

3. Cruel. You're a dick, plain and simple. You ridicule and abuse all those around simply because you can. Who are they to stop you? You're a Dragon-Blood, and possibly royalty on top of that. People look down on you simply because you wear your weakness on your sleeve. Those who anger you, conquer you. You are a disgrace to your family and your cruelty means you rarely have friends to call on and in the Dragon-Blooded society an Exalt without allies is a dead Exalt.

4. Inept. You just are not good at anything. You have the skill to complete the tasks, but whether it's bad luck or what, you usually end up with an imperfect result. In social situations you say the wrong thing, or in school you froze up on all your tests, in training you just lacked the coordination to be competent. You know you're better than that though, but you've already embarassed your family enough to warrant them to have given up on you. Perhaps you're trying to hard, perhaps this ties in with a lack of self-confidence... whatever the case, you must overcome your own failures and rise to the hero you were meant to be.

I think you guys get the gist. These are just examples (and you're welcome to use them), but they don't pull heavily on your dots, did you notice that? They are strictly RP flaws that will be with you through out the story line. We won't be shedding these mantles anytime soon.

Your Dragon-Bloods will be relatively young, possibly fresh out of school so chances are you will not be 'masters' of anything, yet (not even the Universe, even if you have to have blond hair and a really cool sword). You characters should not have too many abilities in the 4 range, and certainly not any in the 5 range. I know this sucks, but it's viable for the age of the PCs.

Ein - The woodsy idea is good. Socializing is a big deal in Dragon-Blooded culture and a member of the family who refuses to mingle and rub-elbows is considered to not be playing with a full deck, especially when you are supposed to meet important people with your family and you decide to just party with the forest animals instead. We could dress that up a bit too, like he was supposed to be meeting his arranged bride (whom he doesn't really care for maybe?), but never showed up... the list could go on, so I leave that to you. Carry that a few steps further and consider how this would affect him and the other PCs within the group.

Keep the questions coming.

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So far I've seen and heard the concepts for a Fire Aspect (Vivi), Wood Aspect (Ein), and an Earth Aspect (Jeremy).

Edit - And an Air Aspect (Mala).

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For Martial Arts, unless you are an Immaculate Monk (with all the drama that comes with it), you can only purchase Five-Dragon Style or Terrestrial Hero Style.

You may not begin play with The Five Glorious Dragon Styles Celestial martial arts.

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Originally Posted By: Ledaal Kobek Adelle
I'm working on my character, an Air Exalted from House Ledaal.

Woohoo!

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Ok, I've got a point of background to ask: Are the Houses still divided into the Four Nations as you had originally said they were? And if so, does that mean the Earth Aspects take the Isle?

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Okay, now that we've stepped over into character creation time let's take a moment to talk about it. I'll go over it in the same order it's covered in the book, step by step. Don't worry, it won't be too tedious.

STEP ONE: CHARACTER CONCEPT

Choose concept, elemental aspect and Motivation.

-Motivations can be looked up in the Exalted Core Book on page 88. Motivations are important but try not to make it obvious, like to get over your 'demon'. (Demon is the term I'm using for your character flaw, spineless, ineptitude, etc...)

STEP TWO: CHOOSING ATTRIBUTES

-Nothing in this stage changes. No 5s.

STEP THREE: CHOOSING ABILITIES

Nothing in this stage changes. No ability may be higher than 3 without spending bonus points. 4s are permitted (within reason) but you may not have any rated at 5.

STEP FOUR: ADVANTAGES

Backgrounds - You may have 1 background rated at 5 (you'll need to spend bonus points to get it though!). For most of you I think this will be breeding, but that's okay. It's funny to see the five-star hopefuls all be the underdogs.

Charms - No change, aside from the Martial Arts stipulation, have at it.

Virtues - No change.

STEP FIVE: FINISHING TOUCHES

None of this changes.

-Don't forget your intimacies, page 76 of the Core rule book.

• BONUS POINTS

You may spend bonus in any manner you choose. You may buy Merits and Flaws under 2 stipulations: they many not all be centered around 1) making you a one trick pony or 2) make your demon more bearable. Also, you may not take the Exceptional Breeding merit.

I realize there a lot of cool Merits, and I don't mind players taking them but I've noticed that people tend to buy all the ones that remove any room for improvement for their PC. Merits make great rewards for players and I tend to use them like I do 'Plot Feats' in d20 games.

Merits may be purchased or awarded as the continues on. You may only have 10 points worth of purchased merits. This cap can increase through game play (the highest I've had it is 25). There is no cap on plot based Merits.

Please do not take flaws that might disrupt other characters of the flow of the game. Use your best judgement. smile

Quote:
Are the Houses still divided into the Four Nations as you had originally said they were? And if so, does that mean the Earth Aspects take the Isle?

Excellent question.

Yes, the five nation will be divided, so your home nation will be at your respective poles. The Primary Schools are located anywhere in Creation so chances are you went to one in your home nation. Secondary Schools (Cloister of Wisdom, House of Bells, Heptagram) are only located on the Blessed Isle. That means that all Dragon-Blooded have to return to 'the mother land'. This allows them to be taught their rich history and re-connect with the homeland. Each of the Aspected Houses now rules their respective nation. The Exception is Lookshy, all the Houses in Lookshy remained in the city as it acts as the Dragon-Bloods main source of trading and the link, via harbor, back to the Imperial City on the Blessed Isle. All member of the Lookshy Houses are now loyal to the Dragon-Blood Nations, and Lookshy acts as the one place that is joint ruled by all the nations. Kinda like a hub from where they meet to handle affairs of state.

There is no bad blood, really (aside from what is usual among rich, decadent aristocrats) but it is far from peaceful. Each of the nations now have their own sprawling capitol cities that rival the Imperial City and each have a culture very different from the other nations.

It's far from peaceful, however. There are still plenty of problems out there but the most troublesome are still Shadowlands and Wyld areas. To keep it simple, Shadowlands will not take you to the Underworld, but they are sill, in essence, an area of land where the dead rule. Very evil places, usually avoided.

I'll be dumbing down the Rakshasa (Fair Folk) a bit to better suit the campaign. As it stands in Core a single Catafractoi could obliterate 10 Dragon-Blooded easily.

Outside your nations the world is pretty much the same... barbarians, needy town folk, beast men, monsters, ghosts, goblins, The Guild, free cities, and whatever else we can think up as we go. smile

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I forgot my sheet at home, but I'll be working on writing her up again in the next day or so.

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I've got the sheet off to you, Dave. I'll try for the background write-up a bit later, but it may be tomorrow before I can get it done for you.

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Just because you are all so awesome, everyone can have 10 charms instead of the starting 7. You're welcome.

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Alright, this is what I have so far...

Ledaal Adelle - Fae tainted sorceress with a stoic personality. smile

Plot Hooks/Enemies: None ATM, unless I missed something in the write up.

V'Neef Meles - Quiet, and introverted.

Plot Hooks/Enemies: There are angry women (and their respective Houses) that are not very pleased with him right now. At least one will become a jealous thorn in all our sides as she seeks to ruin him for hurting her feelings. (you big jerk face!)

Ragara Jona - Shy and a complete pushover.

Plot Hooks/Enemies: None at the moment, although a decent collection of bullies might follow; they aren't really 'enemies' per se, just dicks.

Dracian Ahroun (Peleps A'rune) - Fugitive from his house and a complete womanizing drunkard of wasted potential. Takes nothing seriously.

Plot Hooks/Enemies: (OOC info, PC is living under an assumed name.) A prodigal monk who simply walked away one day and disappeared into whispers. Dark Secret that involves another PC's family (not sure which of you yet). His twin sister Peleps Ivaka is a prodigal sorceress and was solely responsible for making Ledaal Adelle's time at the Heptagram a seven year nightmare.

Cathak Aeryn - Militant, disciplined, driven and passionate (read: brass bound bitch) she strives for perfection in all things. Cold, clean, methodical and thorough... a dyed in the wool killer. (read: virgin 4 evar!)

Plot Hooks/Enemies: Her glory-stealing elder brother always manages to show up whenever she or her allies are victorious, and as the ranking officer, claims it for himself. Her strong military background also doesn't leave much room for downtime, and there's always the chance she'll receive marching orders to some far-flung shadowland stuck in the middle of a burning swamp of acidic doom.

These may or may not be accurate. It's just what I've gathered from first posts, backgrounds, and discussions with players. Please feel free to let me know if any corrections need to be made.

**ST Note**

The typical age of a Dragon-Blooded student on graduation from their secondary schools is within the range of 20-22. I'd say 19-24 would be acceptable, depending on whether they were a quick study or a slow learner. It's essentially a combination of high school and college, and at the Heptagram for example, students are usually there for about 7 years.

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This is what I'll be bringing to the 'table'. I thought it best to post it so people would have an idea what to expect.

Keep in mind he does have a Face of 3 and a Reputation of 3, which means he is a legend in his own way. It will not be difficult for people to have heard of him, but after being missing for 5 years, picking him out of a crowd might not be easy.

Name: Dracian Ahroun (Peleps A'rune)

Marital Status: Single.

Age: 22

Sex: Male

Height: 6'0"

Weight: 191lbs

Physical Build: There was a time when Peleps A'rune possessed the frame of a powerful martial artist. Now, while he is still wiry and swift with thick arms and powerful legs, his midsection seems to have gained a few ale-tainted pounds. Although not 'fat' by any means, it's obvious the man could use a few sit-ups.

Exaltation: Water Terrestrial.

Appearance: A'rune is a very handsome man with long hair as black as the sea at night. When the light catches it, or when he is still for long periods of time it almost seems to move like the current of the ocean on a calm night. His skin is dark, like that of a man who has never seen a day indoors, but his most notable feature is his eyes. Dracian's eyes are like pearls harvested from the deepest seas. Faintly iridescent, they shimmer and gleam in pale, opalescent hues. Most people honestly think he's blind when they first meet him, a fact he sometimes uses to his advantage.

Personality Profile / Quirks: Dracian is a liar, con artist, thief and hedonist. He spends his time moving from one good time to the next, never worrying about the consequences of his actions. He'd rather talk his way out of problems than fight, possessing a whimsical attitude and witty assortment of what he calls 'jokes'. Frankly, he never shuts up.

Dracian is a coward running from responsibility and past weighed heavily with guilt. All his partying, carefree attitude and witty candor are nothing but a distraction to keep him from worrying about his very serious problems.

General History:

A'Rune was the firstborn of identical twins. He and his sister, Ivaka, were never far from each other while growing up on their family estate. When both displayed aptitudes far beyond other members of the house no one was surprised when they Exalted at an incredibly young age, simultaneously. The cunning and opportunistic heads of the house put into motion a plan that would make full use of the twins' abilities. Both seemed to possess incredible aptitudes: Ivaka for sorcery and A'rune for the martial arts. With a hefty sum of bribes and political maneuvering the twins were pulled from their primary schools and shipped away immediately to attend secondary schools that best suited their talents.

So it was that A'Rune began his study within the Cloister of Wisdom and within two short years, at the age of twelve had nearly mastered the Fourth Tier katas and was the envy of the students and the pride of his Masters. By sixteen he was such an accomplished martial artist that he was asked to personally visit the House of Bells for eight weeks and assist in the training of their most promising soldiers. He was the pride of the monks: educated, disciplined and honorable. Tales of A'rune's skills and ability spread like wildfire in the Dynasty; the prodigal boy who seemed blessed by D'Naad herself was challenged nearly every week, and in every case he was the victor.

Then one day, just days after turning seventeen, he disappeared. No trace of him remained and his body was never found. The Legend of A'rune, it seemed, had come to an end.

Name: Dracian Ahroun (Peleps A'rune)

Aspect: Water

Anima Banner: A phantasmal black dragon dances about Dracian's body, mimicking his movements and striking as he strikes.

Motivation: To live a free life, void of obligations, authority or responsibility.

Intimacies: Free of Obligations 3, Vow to never use Martial Arts 3, Punish Slavers 3

Attributes:

Strength 3 Dexterity 3 Stamina 3

Charisma 3 Manipulation 3 Appearance 4

Perception 2 Intelligence 2 Wits 3

Virtues: Compassion 4; Conviction 2; Temperance 1; Valor 2

Limit Break: Compassion

Abilities:

Air

Linguistics

Lore 2

Occult

Stealth 3

Thrown

Earth

Awareness 2

Craft (Magitech) 2

Integrity 2

*Resistance 2

War 1

Fire

*Athletics 3

*Dodge 3 (Multiple Opponents +2)

Melee 1

Presence 1

Socialize 3

Water

Bureaucracy

Investigation

Larceny 3 (Cheating at Gambling +1, Disguise +1)

Martial Arts 4 (Fighting Unarmed +2)

Sail 1

Wood

Archery 1

Medicine

Performance 1

Ride 1

Survival

Backgrounds: Allies 2 (Quinn, Esmerelda), Breeding 5, Connections 2, Face 3, Family 1, Henchman 3, Reputation 3, Resources 3

Merits: Daredevil 4, Signature Style ('Making It Look Easy') 2, Silver Tongue 3, Legendary Artifact (Plot Merit)

Flaws: Dark Secret (No points gained), Enemy (Peleps Ivaka) 2, Intolerance (Slavers) 2, Vice (Sex, Drinking & Gambling) 4, Wanted (House Peleps) 2

Charms: (+1 Elemental Surcharge already applied)

Air

Earth

First Awareness Excellency: (2m/die; Instant; Reflexive)

All-Encompassing Earth Sense: (4m; One Scene; Simple)

Fire

First Dodge Excellency: (2m/die; Instant; Reflexive)

Effortlessly Rising Flame: (3m; Instant; Reflexive)

First Socialize Excellency: (2m/die; Instant; Reflexive)

Warm-Faced Seduction Style: (3m; Instant; Supplemental)

Water

Wood

Martial Arts Charms (Water):

Five-Dragon Blocking Technique: (4 motes 1wp; One Scene; Simple)

Five-Dragon Claw: (1 motes; Instant; Supplemental)

Five-Dragon Fortitude: (1m/2B or 1L; Instant; Reflexive)

Five-Dragon-Force Blow: (2 motes; Instant; Simple)

Combos:

Sweeping Dragon's Tail (Five-Dragon Claw, Five-Dragon-Force Blow; 3m, 1WP)

Join Battle: 5

Attack:

Kick (Sp 5; Acc 7; Dm +6B; Df 5; Rate 2; Tg N)

Punch (Sp 5; Acc 8; Dm +3B; Df 10; Rate 3; Tg N)

Clinch (Sp 6; Acc 7; Dm +3B; Df --; Rate 1; Tg C, N, P)

Slashing Sword (Sp 4; Acc 5; Dm +6L; Df 4; Rate 3; Tg --)

Soak: 3B / 1L (Stamina)

Health Levels: Standard

Dodge DV: 4 (5 vs Multiple Opponents)

Willpower: 5

Essence: 3

Personal: 13

Peripheral: 32

Other Notes:

Equipment: Peasant's clothing, Rusty Old Slashing Sword, Wrath of 10,000 Dragons (bottled up deep inside)

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The Ragara Cousins- NPCs
Ragara Inoshi (Male): Inoshi is the quintessential gentleman warrior many ways. Determined, skilled in battle... all admirable traits, except he also has an extra dose of arrogance, extending to shades of contempt for those lesser than he and those who do not make the art of war their main concern. Naturally, as a weakling and a pen-pusher, Jona is someone who gets it hard from Inoshi.

Ragara Kujaku (Female): Kujaku is far more different. Vain and self-interested, she is more hedonist than 90% of the House, which doesn't say very much, but still... she spends money and trades pleasures like water, and the only reason the family and House puts up with her, is that she is very good at seduction, manipulation, and is willingly diverted to align her pleasures and talents in ways that benefit the House greatly in clandestine ways. She persecutes Jona because she is parts indolent and finds it convenient to make him 'do the work', whatever it may be.

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