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Onyx Path: The Architects – Exalted Exigents Preview!


Matt
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Hi, all, Dixie here with a preview from Vance and Elliott of The Architects from upcoming Exalted book, Exigents: Out of the Ashes. I can’t wait to share the whole book with y’all, and look forward to making my own bespoke Exalt in the future. Based on today, should I make an Exigent of feasts? Of the harvest? Of gourds? So many options!

Enjoy!


The Architects

As cities form and grow, they shelter not only mortals, but also the myriad gods who oversee the things of city life — gods of markets, neighborhoods, streets, and buildings. The ranks of the divine also swell with gods who oversee discord between neighbors, privy-spread illnesses, and the dark alleys where contraband is bought and sold. Foremost among these is the city father, god of the city itself — and above even him is Wun Ja, Goddess of the Shining Metropolis, She Who Hath Laid Ten Thousand Bricks.

The Architects are Exigents who are Chosen by both Wun Ja and a city father, empowered as a hero and champion for a city. To them, the city isn’t just home, but a purpose, a confidante, a weapon, and countless allies and informants. Woe betide any who trifle with her on her turf, for an Architect has myriad ways to excise a threat to her city.

Example Home Cities

The following list of Foundation Attributes and magical material resonances for various cities is intended to help in coming up with them for your own home city, and to provide a quick and easy choice if you’re playing an Architect of one of these cities and like the selection. It’s not set in stone — none of these cities canonically have Architects, and you can pick a different set of traits for one of these cities if the one provided isn’t a good fit for your vision of that city.

  • Chiaroscuro: Charisma, Stamina, Wits; Chiaroscuro glass.
  • Fortitude: Manipulation, Stamina, Strength; soulsteel.
  • Gem: Charisma, Intelligence, Perception; adamant.
  • Great Forks: Appearance, Charisma, Stamina; starmetal.
  • The Imperial City: Appearance, Charisma, Manipulation; red jade.
  • Lookshy: Dexterity, Intelligence, Strength; white jade.
  • Sijan: Charisma, Intelligence, Perception; soulsteel.
  • Whitewall: Dexterity, Stamina, Wits; blue jade.

Chosen of Wun Ja

Wun Ja was once one of the greatest gods. In the bygone First Age, the Exalted built city upon magnificent city across Creation’s face, many of which eclipsed the Second Age’s greatest metropolises. Wun Ja’s standing in Heaven has fallen, yet she retains many connections from better days and has leaned upon them to buoy her fortunes. She’s traded countless favors and broken law after law to preserve her divine portfolio. Though her methods may be corrupt, her conviction in upholding the well-being of cities won her the flames of the Exigence when she cried out to the Unconquered Sun to help save a city on the verge of annihilation.

Cities and Foundation Attributes

To help pick Foundation Attributes for your home city, the following are a list of traits and city features associated with each Attribute.

  • Appearance: actors; sex workers; fashion and traditional clothing; entertainment; festivals; ornamental architecture; public art; monuments; palaces; parks and gardens.
  • Charisma: artists; musicians; poets; actors; merchants; priests; philosophers; politics; cultural influence; legal systems; public forums; markets; temples; diplomacy.
  • Dexterity: athletes; artisans; couriers; cavalry; archers; roads, bridges, and other transportation infrastructure; crime; hunting; exploration; mounted travel; espionage; crime.
  • Intelligence: savants; scavenger princes; artisans; physicians; shamans; thaumaturges; sorcerers; libraries; academies; hospitals; bureaucracy; banking; artifacts; manses; sorcerous workings.
  • Manipulation: merchants; actors; charlatans and confidence men; propaganda; politics; official corruption; markets; legal systems; crime; gambling; secret societies; insular communities.
  • Perception: scouts; bounty hunters; shamans; criminal investigations; secret police; surveillance; espionage; diplomacy; exploration; elevated structures and terrain.
  • Stamina: manual laborers; cataphracts and other armored soldiers; city walls and fortifications; aqueducts, sewers, and other sanitary infrastructure; dams; ruins; fertile farmland; granaries; mines; harsh weather and environments.
  • Strength: manual laborers; soldiers; mercenaries; athletes; warmongering; imposing architecture; military bases; dueling culture; metalworking; winches, pulleys, and cables.
  • Wits: civic tradition; hunting; roads, bridges, and other transportation infrastructure; caravanserais, hostels, and other itinerant lodgings; shantytowns, tenements, and slums; lighthouses; wilderness reserves; exploration; seaports and trade routes.

Charms

City-Avatar Embodiment

Cost: 10m, 1wp; Mins: Appearance 5, Essence 4

Type: Reflexive

Keywords: Metropolis

Duration: One scene

Prerequisite Charms: Civic Unity Icon

The Architect embodies the multitude, seeming more like a teeming throng or a colorful festival to those who see her than a lone individual as she speaks in ten thousand voices. She gains the following benefits:

  • Ties to the Architect (or to someone a character believes her to be) aren’t applicable when she makes influence rolls. Instead, Ties to the Architect’s home city or to a group that has a sizable or noteworthy presence in that city apply as though they were Ties to the Architect. If a character has multiple such Ties, the one most advantageous to the Architect applies.
  • Trivial characters can’t assert Resolve against or spend Willpower to resist her instill, persuade, and threaten rolls.
  • She can understand and be understood by anyone who speaks a language that has a large or noteworthy community of speakers within her home city, even if they aren’t currently speaking one of those languages.
  • Her influence rolls benefit from Plaza-Captivating Allure for free.
  • She waives Living Monument Inspiration’s Willpower cost.
  • She recovers Essence more rapidly in social situations. Once each character has had the opportunity to make a social action in an exchange, she gains five motes, repeating this for subsequent “rounds” of social interaction.

Metropolis: In a city, the Architect may choose when she uses this Charm to be affected by Ties related to that city rather than her home city.

Villain-Abjuring Covenant

Cost: 5m, 1wp; Mins: Charisma 3, Essence 2

Type: Simple

Keywords: None

Duration: (Essence + Charisma) days

Prerequisite Charms: Call to Action, Towering Skyline Travelogue

The Architect casts out those the community cannot abide, marking them as outsiders within their own homes. She touches a character and rolls (Charisma + [Bureaucracy, Presence, or Socialize]) against his Resolve. In combat, touching an unwilling character is a difficulty 1 Brawl or Martial Arts gambit. If successful, she leaves some form of visible mark on him that brands him as persona non grata. Anyone who resides in the same city or community as the marked character and has a Resolve lower than the Architect’s Charisma is treated as having a Minor Tie of contempt toward him. Outsiders like traveling merchants and other itinerants and residents with negative Major or Defining Ties toward the city are unaffected, and must glean the mark’s meaning from observing the behavior of others. If the Architect welcomes the target back into the community, the mark vanishes and this Charm ends.

With a Charisma 4 repurchase, the marked character withers away under the Architect’s opprobrium. He suffers a -3 penalty on rolls to obtain or maintain shelter or lodging by any means within the city or community where he resides. Each day, he must roll (Stamina + Resistance) at difficulty (Architect’s Essence). If he fails, he cannot gain any sustenance from food or water within the city or community where he resides that day: water he drinks tastes of city sewers, while food turns to soot in his mouth.

Portal to Portal

Cost: 5m, 1wp; Mins: Dexterity 5, Essence 3

Type: Simple

Keywords: Keystone (Wits), Metropolis

Duration: Instant

Prerequisite Charms: Crowd-Avoiding Grace

The city opens its doors to the Architect, revealing impossible passageways. She steps through a door, window, or similar portal, and emerges from another such opening within medium range. This counts as her movement action for the round. She can’t travel through locked or barred portals unless she first bypasses that obstruction.

A second purchase of this Charm lets the Architect bring up to (Essence x2) characters with her through the doorway.

Metropolis: In cities, this Charm’s range extends to long. Its Willpower cost is waived when used at short range.

Keystone: An Architect with Wits as a Foundation Attribute may learn this as a Wits Charm, with Gewgaw-and-Bauble Arsenal as its prerequisite. 

Door-Denying Laughter

Cost: 10m, 1wp; Mins: Intelligence 5, Essence 3

Type: Simple

Keywords: Keystone (Wits), Metropolis, Shaping (Terrain)

Duration: (1 + extra successes) days

Prerequisite Charms: Shifting Streets Approach

Remove the door and any house may become a prison. While within an artificial structure, the Architect rolls (Intelligence + [Craft, Larceny, or Occult]) gambit against the Resolve of an enemy within medium range. In combat, this is a gambit, with a difficulty of (target’s Willpower/2, rounded up). If she succeeds, that character can’t leave the structure for (1 + Intelligence roll extra successes) days. If he would exit the structure, he instead returns to the point where he entered it. This only affects physical travel — walking out a door, jumping off a roof, or smashing down a wall to walk out would all be affected, but not teleportation or the like.

A character motivated to leave by a Major or Defining Intimacy can spend one Willpower to roll (Wits + [Integrity, Larceny, or Survival]) against the Architect’s Intelligence roll successes to break free. If he fails, he can’t try again for an hour.

Metropolis: In cities, the Architect doubles 9s on the roll.

Keystone: An Architect with Wits as a Foundation Attribute may learn this as a Wits Charm.

All-Knowing Busybody

Cost: 5m; Mins: Manipulation 2, Essence 1

Type: Reflexive

Keywords: None

Duration: One scene

Prerequisite Charms: None

The Architect aligns her Essence with the flow of news and rumor through the city, establishing herself as a prince of gossips, yentas, and busybodies. She gains the following benefits:

  • She stands out as an eminent gossip. Anyone looking to spread or hear news, rumors, or gossip will perceive her as the ideal person to share stories with, treating this a Minor Tie of fascination toward her.
  • If she successfully reads the intentions of a character who’s shared news, rumors, or gossip with her that scene, she can discern whether his stories are mostly true or mostly false.
  • She adds an automatic success on instill rolls with any Attribute to convince people to believe in her news, rumors, or gossip.
  • She reduces Scandal-Dishing Incitement’s cost by two motes.

Scandalous Agora Rumors

Cost: 6m; Mins: Perception 3, Essence 2

Type: Simple

Keywords: Metropolis

Duration: Instant

Prerequisite Charms: City Mouse Eye

The Architect hears the secret voice of the city in the words of drunks, gossipmongers, and street children. She can use this Charm after a scene of listening to gossip or gathering information within a community, rolling (Perception + Socialize) at difficulty 1-5, varying with both the community’s size and its secretiveness. Her player asks the Storyteller one of the following questions, plus an additional question for every 3 extra successes:

  • What’s the public most concerned with?
  • How is a certain character or group perceived by the public?
  • Who holds the most power in this community?
  • Who can I talk to for more information about something that concerns this community?

If the Storyteller doesn’t have an answer in mind for a question, the Architect’s player should provide one, as if introducing a fact.

This Charm can only be used once per story, unless reset by spending (10 – Essence) days immersed in a culture she wishes to use it on.

Metropolis: In cities, the Architect doubles 9s on the roll.

Junkyard Colossus Technique

Cost: 5m, 1wp; Mins: Stamina 5, Essence 2

Type: Simple

Keywords: Metropolis, Perilous

Duration: Indefinite

Prerequisite Charms: Living Wall Fortification, Ox-Body Technique

The Architect wears the city’s skin, stone and asphalt permeating and reinforcing her body. To use this Charm, she must have Initiative 12+. She draws in nearby stone, garbage, and the like, a transformation that takes until her next turn to complete — but only if she doesn’t take any decisive damage first. Upon completion, she gains (lowest of Dexterity, Stamina, or Strength / 2, rounded up) temporary -1 health levels. These are filled before any of her other -1 levels  when she’s damaged. She can’t end her commitment to this Charm while any of these levels are damaged.

Damage to these health levels doesn’t heal naturally and can’t be restored by Medicine or healing effects based on living creatures. The Architect or another character can heal a damaged health level as a basic repair project for bashing damage or a major repair project for lethal or aggravated damage (Exalted, 242). What this process entails depends on the specific Craft used, but typically involves making repairs to a damaged body part or integrating other materials into her body. The difficulty is (Architect’s wound penalty + 2) for bashing levels, (wound penalty + 4) for lethal levels, and (wound penalty + 6) for aggravated levels. Completing the project takes three hours for bashing levels, eight hours for lethal levels, and a week for aggravated levels.

Metropolis: In In urban workshops, smithies, and other places of professional crafting, Craft rolls to heal these health levels receive (Architect’s Resistance) non-Charm dice.

Titan of the Crowds

Cost: 10m, 1wp; Mins: Strength 5, Essence 5

Type: Reflexive

Keywords: Metropolis, Perilous

Duration: Until next turn

Prerequisite Charms: Beast of Burden Sympathy, City-Shifting Quake

The Architect’s eyes glow bright with her anima’s colors as she draws upon the city’s might, borrowing force from every blow of a blacksmith’s hammer, every sword-arm honed in training, every laboring beast of burden. She gains the benefits of Legendary Size (p. XX). She doesn’t actually grow larger when she uses this Charm, although to some onlookers she may appear to, especially while her anima banner is visible. These benefits represent the Exigent’s power to embody the strength of an entire city and the extraordinary spiritual pressure exerted by her Essence. 

Metropolis: In cities, the first use of this Charm each scene waives its Willpower cost.

Civic Spirit Dedication

Cost: 1m, 1wp; Mins: Wits 2, Essence 1

Type: Simple

Keywords: None

Duration: Indefinite

Prerequisite Charms: None

A hundred cultures mingle in the cities of Creation, and the Architect may embrace them with her whole heart. After spending at least a scene interacting within the culture of a city — including enclaves of that culture outside of the city itself — she forms a Minor Principle reflecting that city’s culture, norms, laws, or political agendas. She gains +2 Resolve against influence opposing that Principle, and it can’t be fully eroded, only reduced to Minor intensity. The Architect can’t voluntarily weaken the Principle while this Charm is active; once it ends, the Principle still remains, but can be eroded normally.

This Charm can only be used once per story. If the Architect maintains it through multiple stories, she cannot use it again until she’s ended it and a new story begins.

The City’s Principles

Examples of Principles that could be conferred by Civic Spirit Dedication include:

  • Chiaroscuro: The wonders of the First Age lie waiting to be claimed by the fearless and the wise.
  • Fortitude: Strength and ruthlessness rise above all else.
  • Gem: Profit is what’s most important.
  • Great Forks: Luxuries and sensual pleasures make life worth living.
  • The Imperial City: The Immaculate Philosophy offers social order and spiritual fulfillment.
  • Lookshy: If you want peace, prepare for war.
  • Sijan: The dead deserve respect.
  • Whitewall: The unknown is to be feared and guarded against.
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