The Exalted Wheel – Core Mechanics

The Exalted Wheel

An Exalted-themed module for the Burning Wheel, by Seraaron

This is not a complete game!

Please visit https://exalted-wheel.wikia.com/wiki/Exalted_Wheel_Wiki to view the full document.

The following is just the core mechanics in a printable format. 

Note that there may be some minor differences between this version and what’s presented on the wiki, this is due to updates not being properly shared between versions. When in doubt, please assume that the wiki is the most up to date version.

This document was last updated on: 11/10/18

Disclaimer

This Burning Wheel expansion pretty much assumes that you are well versed in the rules of Luke Crane & Co’s Burning Wheel Gold (BWG) and with some of the lore of at least one of the three mainline editions of the roleplaying game Exalted (Ex1, Ex2, or Ex3). At times references may also be made to the Burning Wheel Codex (BWC) but this will mostly be for occasionally handy or convenient rules supplements. The Codex will aid play, but should not be required for the vast majority of content presented here.

Copyright 

To avoid copyright infringement, no specific text from any main source will be reproduced in part or in whole (except for brief quotes and excerpts). When necessary, appropriate page reference numbers will be given instead. This work acts simply to put a lot of the ideas presented in Exalted into the context of Burning Wheel. I believe this falls under the FAIR USE Act.

Catalogue I: Core Mechanics

ātma

This section covers the biggest change to the base BWG rules. Also known as  “Breath”, or “Essence”, “Qi”, “Chakra”, or simply “Soul”, Atma is functionally equivalent to Faith from the base game, but with a few tweaks. Firstly, the power is gained via a different Trait:




Enlightened Soul — Dt — 5 pts

Your being is marked with supernal power. You may be a god or demon, an exalt, a spiritually endowed mortal, or something else entirely. This trait opens the `Atma` emotional attribute at rank B3. If opened during character burning then this is improved by the number of lifepaths taken since enlightenment. (See the Burning Exalts section for more info).

Atma is like Faith: it is naturally open-ended, only successful tests advance it, it uses the same practise cycle, and it’s not affected by wounds or other external penalties.

Read the rest of this section to learn about the more nuanced ways in which Atma differs from Faith.

Note: This trait replaces the `Faithful` trait from the base BW rules. If this is acquired via a normal lifepath then use the aforementioned table to determine starting Atma rank.




Before continuing, it is recommended that any GMs reading this go and also re-read the `Religion` chapter in the Burning Wheel Codex (pg 270), if they have it. And remember that like everything else in this game, Atma is subject to the the `Say “Yes”, or Roll`, `Let It Ride`, and `Test-Mongering` paradigms.

Additionally: A new reader will have to excuse the use of some unfamiliar terminology going forward. Just keep reading and it should all make sense, but please comment if it does not. 

Working Miracles

The miracles of Atma work in largely the same way as Faith’s `Divine Interventions` (BWG pp 522-527), except that the power comes from within, not without, and the powers that you can use depend on your chosen `Mandalas` which are determined by your exalt type, caste, and other associations. 

The exact powers that one can utilise are discussed in more detail in each individual section for the different exalt types, but the following rules are applicable to all Atma tests.

Mantras (Prayers)

For Atma to be woven into a miracle—for the power to be channelled through the appropriate chakras and called into being—it must be set in place by a mantra. This is a name, a title, an axiom, a spiritual chant or prayer, or something similar that calls the Atma into shape. Ultimately, there is only one mantra, the one that forms the universe as we know it. The mantras that enlightened souls may sing are just verses, elisions, and refrains plucked from that one and eternal hymn.

This is arguably the most important but oft-overlooked part of using the Atma mechanics, like saying a prayer for Faith. It must be spoken or sung out-loud or physically woven with a dance or kata by the enlightened character. 

There is one exception: when the power uses its own subset of rules, like lunar shapeshifting, or dragon-blooded elemental bending. (These rules will always explicitly state that they don’t require mantras to be used). Powers without mantras cannot be woven into charms. 

Ma??alas (Spheres of Influence)

These function like the domains of gods (BWC pg 271), and they are determined at character creation. Choosing them works like choosing traits, but from a set list determined by your caste trait. A character’s mandalas inform the players and the GM about the limits of what a character can do with their Atma. 

The names of most of the spheres are intentionally designed to be vague and interpretive; they often embody multiple things, and there’s usually some cross-over between similar spheres. It may be possible to strictly tie a few abilities to them, but generally their use is situational and context dependant, and open to GM and player discretion.

E.g. integrity, compassion, metallurgy, bureaucracy, celeration, larceny, survival, rituals, liberation, protection, investigation, reflection, peace, linguistics, resistance, style, etc.

Any spheres that appear to also be named after a canonical Burning Wheel skill-type or ability may always be applied as such, but more liberal or literal interpretations can be applied also. For the purpose of highlighting them on a sheet they should always be written as proper nouns.

E.g. Power, Peasant, Forester, Health, Will, Special, Perception, Circles, etc. 

The lists given in the caste traits are meant to evoke certain archetypes but are by no means exhaustive, so feel free to make up new ones to suit your character concept, but note that some mandalas are more applicable than others. They are a bit like wises in this sense—the more specific they are, the easier it is to justify producing certain effects with them, but the less generally applicable they become. 

Learning New Spheres

You can buy additional mandalas at character creation with rps, or get them in-game during downtime using the same mechanics as the Practical `Schools of Magic` (BWC pg 266). Write down a list somewhere of all of your known mandalas. They count as gear.

Buying mandalas with proper nouns uses the same price list for `Schools of Magic` (BWC pg 265) with the following additions: 

  • The Sorcerous mandala costs 18 rps, or 9 Adoption Ob. 

  • The Wises type is separate from Special and costs 17 rps, or 8 Adoption Ob. 

  • Each Stat or Attribute mandala costs 25 rps, or 12 Adoption Ob. 

  • All other mandalas cost 10 rps, or 5 Adoption Ob and 3 months.

  • Steel and all other emotional attributes cannot be adopted as mandalas.

Caste Mandalas

The other exceptional spheres are the first (and therefore required) mandala listed in each of the exalted caste traits. These are the unique and defining aspect of each caste. They can be learned by other characters but cost 45 rps, or 16 Adoption Ob and 6 months. They should also be written with a capital letter.

Eg. Fire, Battles, Love, Light, Earth, Shadow, Serenity, Journeys, Divinity, … 

(Each caste mandala also has a second interpretation of its meaning given in parentheses).

Failed Adoption

As with practical magic, the Adoption Ob can be divided any way you like into a Will test obstacle and a Resources test obstacle. Failing the Will test means that you simply cannot adopt the mandala, which rides for an entire campaign. If you pass the Will test but fail the Resources test then the mandala is perverted and margin of failure is added to all Atma tests which use that sphere until you’re taught the right way (BWG pg 267).

“But I’m not an exalt!”

Not all enlightened beings are exalts, but all exalts are enlightened. Characters that have gained the Atma attribute through another lifepath—such as the religious lifepaths—will get one mandala of choice, for free, so long as it pertains to the doctrine of their religious setting or domain of their gods. This might also change the common miracles available to them (see below), but that has to be discussed on a case-by-case basis. They will have to buy any extra mandalas with their rps or learn them in-game.

Sidebar: Power Scales

This will be a useful bit of terminology going forward that may save us time from explaining things several times over, and which you can also employ in your game discussions: 

  • Exponential scales start slow but can quickly get out of hand. For example, a ten-fold exponential scale for area of effect would look like this: 0 = Single target; 1 = Presence (i.e. paces = Will); 2 = Presence x10; 3 = Presence x100; 4 = Presence x1,000; 5 = Presence x10,000 (i.e. several kilometers, probably). 

  • Linear scales are simple multipliers, you always get out what you put in: For example, a bonus dice that scales linearly may look like this: 0 = +0D; 1 = +1D; 2 = +2D; 3 = +3D; 4 = +4D; 5 = +5D.

  • Logarithmic scales ramp up quickly but then give diminishing returns on investment. For example, a logarithmic scale of time might look like this: 0 = Single test; 1 = Scene; 2 = Session; 3 = Arc; 4 = Campaign; 5 = Permanent.

Common Miracles

All enlightened souls have access to the following powers unless explicitly stated otherwise. Remember that the use of these powers must fall within the scope of one your mandalas, and the miracle must be conjured with a mantra. If is not then the power simply cannot be invoked.

If all players and the GM agrees that the nature of your intent has some cross-over with one or more other known mandalas then a single bonus die (+1D) may be awarded for the test.

Boon — Ob 2

See BWG pg 524. Open-ends an ability for the scene. A boon can also be employed to produce a narrative effect similar to `Spooky Stuff` for Spirit Binding (BWC pg 311). Sometimes, these can work in conjunction (again, so long as the mandalas align).

For example, lighting up a dark room with your halo might have the effect of open-ending your Observation skill if you have the Forester mandala, or the Reading skill if you have the linguistics mandala. The intent still matters, but you can get creative with how it looks.

Margin of success does very little here.

Aid — Ob 4

See BWG pg 524. Adds +1D to a single upcoming test. Marginal successes may be spent to linearly increase the effectiveness or duration (i.e. to make it last multiple tests). 

Note: The `Wait and Release` component of the Aid power may be used but you cannot have more than one Aid “stored” at any one time. Also note that area of effect cannot be altered with margin of success, Aid must always target yourself.

Minor Miracle — Ob 5

See BWG pg 525. This constitutes all game-breaking, rules-bending, and fiction-altering effects. Typically the effects of miracles only last for a single intent. Depending on the context they could have instantaneous or absolute effects instead. 

For example, if a minor miracle was used to re-attach a freshly lost limb, then it will not fall off again at the end of the scene. If used to summon a weapon for a fight, then it will only hang around for the duration of that fight.

When appropriate, marginal successes can be used to exponentially increase the area of effect, to linearly increase the effectiveness, or to logarithmically increase the duration. Use of such successes here depends largely on the original intent though.

Note: This power can be used to cause indirect harm or hinderance, but it cannot simply deal damage. As seen in the example above, it can be used to manifest tools or objects of your desire. You can get quite creative with these kinds of miracles, but try not to get too bogged down in implementing strict mechanical effects—that is the domain of true spell-casting

Intercession — Ob 8

See BWG pg 525. This kind of miracle basically negates all damage or other failure consequences from a single source, excluding your own use of Atma. This power can be used instantaneously, but failure causes immediate hesitation for a number of actions equal to the margin of failure and makes you lose a challenging or difficult Atma test.

Major Miracle — Ob 10

See BWG pg 525. This is the big one. The stuff out of legend. Channel forth your patron god to manifest within your very being and enact a single task and intent. Regardless of success or failure, there will be consequences to such acts… Working out the mechanical effects of such intents is probably fruitless. They will usually cause dramatic changes in the local region, especially when they go wrong!

Witness Me!

An exalt can spend 5F, 3P, and 1D when they fail a Major Miracle to have it succeed anyway, but this will kill them instantly, martyring them in the process. 

Consequences

A fairly unique property of Atma is that the exact success and failure consequences are not typically determined before the roll, this is because every Atma test can conclude in one of two ways: Tax or Anima Flare.

Tax

Often the simplest option is to suppress and internalise the expended energy, redirecting it through still-open channels and quelling the inner fires. This results in a Tax test as per the rules for Sorcery (BWG pg 504) except that there are two kinds of Tax:

  • If the channeling you used was physical or spiritual then use a Forte-based Tax.

  • If the channeling you used was mental or social then use a Will-based Tax.

(Which kind of Tax test you make is ultimately determined by the GM, when it’s not obvious).

Curb Your Enthusiasm 

Like the opposite of a Linked Test: If you failed the Atma test then you’ll gain +1D to your Tax test, but if you got success above the Ob then the Tax test will suffer +1 Ob. This is because using Atma twists at the fabric of reality, and Taxing retards the visible effects of that. Once the player knows their Tax Ob, they can choose whether to take the test or release the grip and flare their anima.

Anima Flare

The anima is a colourful and partially material manifestation of a character’s inner aura or halo. The description of one’s anima is thematically directed by exalt-type and caste and the mandala used, but ultimately determined by the player. Some players like their anima to always manifest in the same way, and so write it down or draw a picture. Others prefer their anima to be more free-form and make it up in the moment. Some are flashy aureola, others are subtle velificantes. Regardless of how cosmetic they are, they are always obvious to onlookers, revealing to them that you are a supernatural being. 

If anima flare is chosen then it instantly ignites and will continue to burn until the end of the scene. The `zone of notice` is roughly equal to your Presence, unless line of sight can be drawn. A character who continues to use their Atma afterwards and who chooses to flare anima again within the same scene, increases this zone of notice by ten-fold each time. Everyone in the area will begin to feel all the ambient energy being drawn towards the epicentre.

Fear The Divine

If the user’s Atma rank is higher than a witness’s Will then they must make an active Steel test for Wonderment, if it is lower then they just mark a passive test at the end of the session. (Add +1-3 Ob for differences in Atma Shade). Like Aura traits these tests can only be invoked a maximum of once per scene.

Note: This is often a useful side-effect of Atma, but it can also draw unwanted attention. If no one is around to witness an anima flare, then something else should be given as the consequence of use. The GM can even start a `Clock` (to lift a term from PbtA) when Atma is used excessively, and advance it appropriately thereafter with additional use. This can lead to new situations and some ultimately quite drastic scenarios, if you’re imaginative enough.

Other Consequences

Additionally—regardless whether the Atma user chooses Tax or Anima—most Atma tests should have their own extra failure conditions. These are based on the original intent of the task. Often this can just be as simple as “You don’t get what you want, the magic fails you”, but sometimes it can be more interesting (and can keep the story flowing forwards) if you add a twist, introduce a new character, or reveal new information off the back of the failed test.

Atma Advantage Dice

There may be other sources of bonus dice for Atma too, but these are the main ones:

Help

Enlightened characters may normally only help one another with Atma tests when their spheres of influence cross-over with the intent. In this case, the usual Help rules may be applied, except that if Tax is chosen then all Helpers must Tax independently, or if anima flare is chosen then all Helpers must flare their anima. (The leader of the Atma test chooses which).

After accruing 3D of help, you must use the `Join us in Prayer` rules instead (BWG pg 526), but with total Atma divided by 20, rather than Will.

Working Carefully

You may work Carefully when channeling Atma to get a +1D bonus, but remember that this allows the GM to introduce an additional time-based failure consequence, or to simply raise the stakes.

You may not work Carefully for a Tax test.

Atma cannot really be used Quickly, but marginal successes on miracles typically have their own use, and any leftovers can always be allocated to working Patiently for some extra flair.

Weaving Charms

“Charm” is the term we give to a miracle that has been woven and reproduced so many times that they have become commonplace. This works like `Weaving Magic into the Fibre of My Being` for Art Magic (BWC pg 289), except that you must successfully perform the miracle a number of times equal to 10 minus your Will exponent, and the miracle must of course have a name or title or mantra.

This is an extra bookkeeping step that not all players will be willing to track, but those who do will eventually gain a permanent +1D bonus whenever they attempt to perform the charm. It can therefore be useful to also write down a little description of what the miracle does and what it’s Ob is, alongside the Aptitude tracker.

Charm-like Traits

Additionally, there exist charms that impart a more permanent effect. These are created with the old Trait Burner from the Monster Burner (pg 68), except that they also require you to have an aligning mandala, and they may not shade-shift abilities. A list of examples is given in Catalogue III.

To learn charm-like traits in game, simply make an Atma test at an obstacle equal to the points cost. This test takes a number of hours per day for a number of months both also equal to the points cost. Failure generally just means that the time is wasted, and they must try again later, but it could mean that the trait gets an unintended effect or drawback instead. 

Starting With Charms

Those who wish to begin play with a few charms pre-established may do so by first describing the effect to the GM and deciding with them what kind of miracle it resembles, and which sphere of influence it falls under, to set the obstacle. Then multiply that Ob by 2 and add 1 to get the resource points cost of the charm. They count as gear.

If you wish to start with a charm-like trait simply spent the appropriate amount of trait points.

Note: You cannot start with a charm with an Ob or Pts cost higher than your Atma exponent.

Cults

Cults have ratings from 1D to 3D, depending on their size and influence. A cult’s rating may be added to a single Atma test of the patron’s choosing, once per session.

A cult requires two things: An Affiliation with an organisation that worships you on a regular basis, and a Reputation within that organisation as its patron. Both must have the same rating (eg. a 2D Cult costs 50 rps in total). It functions like the usual rules for Affiliations and Repuations, except that the GM can invoke the `Creepy Clause` (BWC pg 261) as failure consequences when circling up members of your own cult. 

Mechanically—from the patron’s point of view—cults just work: they are a daily source of extra power. But from the cultists point of view; they are collectively praying, making sacrifices, performing austerities, and so on, all in the name of generating those bonus dice for you. As such, cults must be maintained. Usually as part of a Resources maintenance test by adding the Cult's rating to the Ob, or by using your Atma to answer their prayers every once in awhile.

Finally, using any Atma powers on your own Believers works at ?1 Ob.

Note: Private cults are illegal in the Scarlet Realm and in any other places where the immaculate faith is strong, so having a cult there can invoke the `Mortal Enemy Clause` (BWC pg 262). Most gods in the Realm can be assumed to have a 1D cult with the immaculate faith.

Miracles in a Conflict

Like Songs, Howls and Prayers (BWG pg 526), using Atma does not cost actions during a Fight (but they must still be bound by mantras). The only exception is when working Carefully, in which case it does cost an action—like casting a spell—but you get +1D to the test.

In Range and Cover a mantra may be woven by using up a free shot or by purchasing an action with a marginal success. If two actions are purchased instead, then add +1D.

In Duels of Wit the power must be scripted as an action, like a spell, but you can’t work carefully.

Note: To keep players honest in a Fight, Atma use must still be scripted, and it may only be used a maximum of once per exchange. It is recommended that you use some kind of card, token, or mark, to determine which volley the miracle will be used in.

The Deeds of the Chosen

An enlightened soul may spent a Deeds point to add their Atma rank to a single test within the range of their spheres of influence. That is, the exponent and shade of the dice are added as open-ended artha dice, which do not affect the test difficulty. (This does not mark a test for Atma, but the Deeds point goes into Atma instead of the tested ability).

Stunts

The usual spending limits on Artha (BWG pg 67) are lifted for enlightened beings. That is, for example, you can spend a Fate for `Luck` to re-roll all 6s, then you can spend as much additional Fate as you like to re-roll any traitor dice; or you can blow all of your Persona at once! Just remember that dice that get re-rolled by Fate are not themselves open-ended.

Whenever you use enough Artha to go over the limits like this—for the most fulfilling storytelling experience—it is recommended that you describe your efforts in zealous detail and then see if the dice agree with you. At the table, we call these moments out as “stunts”. (The nature of your description must still fall in-line with the original intent and task though, and be purely narrative).

New Restrictions: First, each traitor in a test can be re-rolled at most once from each source: Fate, Call-ons, and Deeds (i.e. 3 times max). Secondly, any Artha expended above the normal testing limits (i.e. 1F, 3P, 2D) does not contribute towards an Epiphany. It’s just for showing off.

The Limit of Miracles

No magical force or power in the universe can grant someone true immortality, bend space or time, create perfection, or resurrect someone from the dead. Such effects are under the dominion of the other chief deities, whose roles in The War were neutral. Some powers can approximate those effects, but there is always a catch. Additionally, miracles cannot be used to create more miracles or grant new mandalas. You can’t wish for more wishes!

Practical Magic (Exponent 5)

Once an enlightened character reaches an Atma exponent of 5 they may permanently open-end all abilities that are pertinent to their mandalas. (This will probably require some discussion, so if it happens mid-session then leave it until the end of the session to sort out).

“Why?”

Because once you’re at Atma 5, continually performing Boons gets boring and slows down pacing—especially since routine tests no longer matter at that level—it’s equivalent to just saying “Yes” all the time. 

Transcendental Power (Exponent 10)

As an exalt grows in power, they will approach an Atma exponent of 10. At exponent 9 they gain the Aura of Martyrdom trait. And at exponent 10 their mortal soul becomes unstable, and the shard of supernal power within them is instilled with primordial energies. This causes the destruction of the character—as the exaltation leaves their body—but their enlightened soul passes on into the axis mundi where they can be at peace.

The empowered exaltation moves on, and it’s next host will begin with +1 Atma for free. This is represented as a special trait, such as Priest of the Ever-Rising Sun; or in the case of the terrestrial exalts, one of the character’s children will begin with the Pure-Blood trait upon exalting instead. 

(If they get martyred before hitting exponent 10 then use the rules from that trait instead).

Note: Gods, spirits, and certain other supernal beings are not subject to this sort of restriction.

Burning Exalts

Burning up an exalt is mostly the same as burning any other Mannish character in the Burning Wheel (BWG pg 163). The biggest difference is that at some point you take the lifepath that exalts you. For everyone except the terrestrials, this can happen at any time in their life, but the exaltation classically chooses people in the prime of their life. From there, the exalt ages differently from mortals, and their whole being is fundamentally changed, but all of the lifepaths they take after exaltation are still largely Mannish.

Exalted Lifepaths

Exaltation is best represented as a Lifepath. Any other lifepath in the game can instantaneously lead to exaltation, but exaltation can only ever happen to a character once. So choose wisely. Once you’ve chosen an exaltation you must then leave the setting and never return.

Each exalt-type is further broken into castes, and each has their own spheres of influence which you can choose from. They all have their own special powers too: most are written into their traits, some are just extra uses for Atma, a few require their own sub-systems. These are all described in the sections of the respective exalt-types.

 Lifepath Time Res Stat Leads

Terrestriala0 yrsδ+1 M, +1 P        Anyb

Associations: The Elemental Dragons, Jade and Silver, Emerald and Iron, Princes of the Earth, Elemental Bending, Unity, Pentagrams, Cooperation, Natural Order, Blessed by the Dragons, Gaean Drake-Knights

Skills: δ pts: Martial skill of choice

Traits: Common Terrestrial Traits, Enlightened Soul, Exalted, and 1 terrestrial caste trait: Ivory (Earth), Azure (Air), Emerald (Wood), Crimson (Fire), or Sable (Water)

Lunar0 yrsδ+1 M, +2 P        Anyc

Associations: Luna, Moonsilver, Moonlight, Sapphire and Obsidian, Shapechangers, Doppelg?ngers, Beastmen, Argentine Illusions, Fairy Tales, Cryptids, Hedge Mages, Hexes, Chosen of the Moon, Dionysian Witch-Queens

Skills: δ pts: Survival

Traits: Common Lunar Traits, Enlightened Soul, Exalted, Anathema, and 1 lunar caste trait: Gibbous (Fear), Hidden (Dreams), or Crescent (Love) 

Solar0 yrsδ+3 M / P        Anyc

Associations: Invictus Sol, Orichalcum, Daylight, Adamantine, Lawgivers, Divine Fire, Law and Order, Holiness, Leadership, Conquest, Revolution, Justice, Retribution, Chosen of the Sun, Apollonian Priest-Kings

Skills: Grey-shade 1 lifepath skill for free, plus δ pts: General

Traits: Common Solar Traits, Enlightened Soul, Exalted, Anathema, and 1 solar caste trait: Zenith (Divinity), Azimuth (Light), or Nadir (Shadow)

Notes:

  • Exalts gain skill and resource points according to how many lifepaths they have after exaltation. (See the age table later on for more info).

  1. Must be taken as your 2nd, 3rd, or 4th lifepath.

  2. Excluding leads to Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory.

  3. Excluding leads to the scarlet realm, unless you want to go to gaol.

As you can see, there are two traits common the all exalts. One is the `Enlightened Soul` trait, which is described in the Atma section. The other is the `Exalted` trait, described here:




Exalted — Char / Dt — 

You are an exalt. A mortal blessed by gods to be their weapons in an ancient war. Among men, the exalts have no equals. Each exalt type is further distinguished by additional traits, but there are some things common to all exalts:

You are an excellent physical specimen. Raise your Health and Steel exponent by 1 during character burning; a B1 of natural armour covers your entire body; you will always eventually heal from non-fatal injuries, and; you cannot die from mundane diseases, viruses, or parasites (though you may still contract them).

Your lifespan is vast and you are nearly ageless. You may yet die in battle, or become crippled and withered by the excesses of time, but you are otherwise immortal. Upon exaltation your mortal age stops increasing (see the age section below).

You are changed forever. The exaltation is imperishable and inseparable until death. You cannot voluntarily lose this trait, and to somehow forcibly remove it would cause instant death. 

And yet, you have an insatiable sense of wanderlust. Only life and death scenarios truly quicken your blood. You tend to seek out danger at every turn. The risk always seems outweighed by the potential gain.

Restriction: Exaltation common trait




Lifepaths in Creation

The default lifepaths of Burning Wheel mesh pretty well with the world known plainly as Creation, or ‘Lok?’, and in most places in only a few minor changes are needed, if any. A simple name change to a job title can go a long way towards altering the feel of an otherwise identical profession. If that isn’t good enough, consider swapping out one or two skills, or the required trait. Try not to fiddle with the other parts of the lifepath; and certainly don’t fiddle with every lifepath.

If all else fails, try creating an entirely new lifepath. Additionally, you may turn to other supplemental materials, like the lifepaths of other stocks, or the Tribal Barbarian lifepaths (especially if your game is set in one of the `Far` locations). 

Every major location in the world should technically be treated as its own setting (even if the contents of those settings are largely the same between locations). For the purpose of rolling Circles in-game, you gain a +1 Ob if you’re looking for someone in a land or culture that’s very similar to your original lifepath, or +2 Ob if it’s similar but otherwise completely foreign. Therefore, when appropriate, mark the location of each lifepath when you add them to your worksheet. (Remember that Circles can be viewed as your ability to make new friends and enemies too, it’s a sort-of charisma, not just for finding people from your past lifepaths).

Sidebar: Setting Locations

Terrestrial Locations: The Blessed Isle, the North, Far North, North-East, the East, the Scavenger Lands (or the River Provinces), Far East, South-East, the South, Far South, South-West, the West, Far West, North-West, and Patala (the chthonic underworld).

Celestial Locations: Naraka or ‘Purgatory’ (and capital city Diyu), Svarga or ‘Heaven’ (and capital city Yu-Shan), Treta or ‘Hell’ (and capital city Malfeas), and the Wyld.

Mortals are not normally permitted in heaven, and any mortals that end up in hell, the underworld, or the deep wyld are almost certainly going to be enslaved or killed. 

The Imperial Realm (and the Blessed Isle by extension), the underworld, and all of the extra-dimensional settings (heaven, hell, etc.) all need some extra leg-work to be usable as lifepath settings during character creation. They each have own sections in Catalogue III.

Travel Takes Time

You may take a one year lead to stay within your current setting but move physical location, or two years if the location is more than half-way across Creation. Hence, if you change setting and location at the same time it takes 2-3 years.

Age

Make a note of your character’s age when they exalted, and use the standard Mannish age table up until that point to determine your starting Stat pools. Thereafter, your age stops increasing, but you still gain stat points from lifepaths until you reach the 10+ LP range.

The table below is used to fill in the variable `deltas` (δ) from an exaltation lifepath, as well as set your starting Atma rank from when you gain the Enlightened Soul trait:

# LPs since Enlightenment

Atma

Skill Points 

Resource Points

0

B3

+4 pts

+5 rps

1

B3

+6 pts

+7 rps

2

B4

+8 pts

+9 rps

3

B4

+10 pts

+11 rps

4

B5

+12 pts

+13 rps

5

B5 or G1

+14 pts

+15 rps

6

B6 or G2

+15 pts

+17 rps

7

B6 or G3

+16 pts

+19 rps

8

B7 or G3

+17 pts

+21 rps

9

B7 or G4

+18 pts

+23 rps

10+

B8 or G4

+19 pts

+25 rps

(After 10 lifepaths the benefits stop, and you stop gaining stat points from lifepaths too).

12 Years a Slave

Generally, if the exalted character spent any of their lifepaths after exaltation as a slave or in prison then they should subtract 1 from their starting Essence exponent. Minimum Essence is 1 though, of course.

Time

There are 425 days in the standard calendar year of Creation, but each day is only about 20 hours long. (This means that the duration of a year is still roughly equal to that of real life). Each season is about 100 days long, and then there’s an extra 5-25 day season known as Calibration. Birthdays aren’t typically tracked, so most people just increase their age by one every time they survive a Calibration.

Four hours of “lost time” per day is not a huge problem to circumnavigate in an RPG—given that time is already relatively abstract—but gaining more days comes with finer granular control during downtime. For the purpose of practise time: consider a month to mean one third of a season; three months means a full season; six months is two seasons, and; a year still means a year. You cannot work or practise during Calibration. (20 hours per day is still the max).

Stats

All normal human mortal stats are capped at 7. All exalted stats are capped at 8. Like mortal men though, their base Stride is 7. Certain mannish sub-stocks (i.e. the beastfolk) have different caps and minimums, so keep an eye out. The usual rules about setting limits and soft-caps at the start of a game should still also apply (BWG pg 104).

Sidebar: Shades

GMs are encouraged to be less restrictive about players starting with Grey-shade or even White-shaded skills, but lighter shaded stats should still be prohibited unless not shade-shifting would result in surpassing your caps.

Consider the following synonyms and associations within the context of Exalted lore to help GMs and players alike to differentiate between the power-levels at play:

Black (Mundane): First circle beings, Mortals, Exalts, Spirit-bloods, Terrestrial Gods (Minor Deities), Mutants, Mountain Folk, Dragon-Kings, Trolls, Lower fêy, Elementals, and Ghosts

Grey (Supernal): Second circle beings, Elder exalts, Celestial Gods (Deities), Dragons, Nephwracks and Deathlords, Royal fêy, and Behemoths

White (Incarnate): Third circle beings, Incarnate Gods (Chief Deities), the Five Maidens of Fate and the Great Poles of the World, Hekatonkheires, and Primal Chaosites

  • Anything of even lighter shade, if such things even exists, would just play dicelessly.

Traits

Almost every major civilisation or culture in Creation can be broken into societal classes, which usually follow suit with the types of lifepath available (peasant, noble, outcaste, soldier, etc.). Each location and class has an associated set of cultural Traits. Suggestions are given in Catalogue III. 

Note: All exalts and mannish sub-stocks only start with two cultural traits instead of three. This is because these types of people will typically start with a lot of extra traits, and characters can become bloated with traits if you’re not careful. So this helps to limit that.

Resources

Unless otherwise stated, all exalts and mannish substocks may choose gear and property from the standard mannish list (BWG pg 202). Additionally though, check out the Artefacts section for buying magic items, and remember from the Atma section that you can spend rps to have pre-woven charms.

Note: Guns are typically only available in the South and South-West, but could be bought elsewhere for an extra 5 or 10 rps.

Oh, and don’t forget that the `Exalted` trait gives you 1D of full-body natural armour!

Beliefs

Exalts are the main movers-and-shakers of the world. Let your concept and beliefs reflect that. Exalts have motivations and intimacies—things and people they care about—but also ideas that they want to change the world with. The setting has a very washed-out-grey morality scale; people are generally just trying to survive in a dangerous and magical world. So exalts are permitted a certain arrogance towards their individual concepts about “The Greater Good”. As such, GMs should award Deeds points when players complete large beliefs that they have worked suitably hard to achieve, and which may affect a whole city, region, or nation.

Terrestrials

The so-called “dragon-bloods” have ruled creation in some form or another for the last two-thousand years or so. The Scarlet Realm is home to the richest, most powerful, and most feared dynasty in the second age; and it's legions, great houses, secret police, and prominent adherence to the immaculate faith keeps not only themselves in-line, but many countries and nation-states in the thresholds too. The Realm had been stable and fearless for over seven-hundred-and-fifty years, but their esteemed empress has just recently disappeared. The timing couldn't have been worse, because the solars have just started returning too. The country is now teetering on the edge of a civil war!

Mechanically, the terrestrials are the simplest of the exalt-types. They don't have any especially crazy super-powers or new emotional attributes, but that also means that there's fewer rules to keep track of with them. If you're new to the game then I'd suggest running (or playing in) a dragon-blooded game first so you can get a nice taste and feel for the system.

Common Traits

All dragon-bloods have the following traits for free:


Enlightened Soul — Dt — 5 pts

(See the Atma section for full details).

Note: Exalted common trait.


Exalted — Dt — 

(See the Burning Exalts section for full details).

Restriction: Exalted common trait.


Bondings — Dt — 

Terrestrials can forge blood-bonds with friends and allies by swearing blood-oaths of fealty to one-another—requiring a Ritual test at Ob 3 + the number of participants—a common practise at dragon-blooded weddings. Terrestrials who share blood-bonds can always help each other with Atma tests, regardless of any crossover with their mandalas. This works automatically for any `family` relationships, unto one generation (e.g. a brother, mother, son, etc).

Restriction: Terrestrial common trait.


Diluted — Dt — 

The terrestrials are a slowly dying breed. Their punishment for their involvement in The War was subtle, but undeniable. The fading hereditary power of the dragon-blooded exaltation is represented by this trait. (See the Dilution section below for full details).

Restriction: Terrestrial common trait.


Caste Traits

Dragon-bloods choose one of the five following caste traits for free. Within each caste, a terrestrial gets a special power and may choose 6 mandalas from a list of 10. As with traits, the first in the list is required; but the rest can be chosen for customizability. (Remember than you can also buy more spheres of influence for resource points).


Ivory Drake (Earth) — Dt — 

Bastions of patience and stability, the resilient ivory drakes are the pillars of the earth. Earth-aspected terrestrials do not bleed from their wounds, drawing strength from the earth beneath their feet.

Mandalas: 6 pts: Earth (Magnetism), awareness, conviction, Craftsman, dust, integrity, mathematics, Military, resistance, rituals

Restriction: Terrestrial caste trait.


Azure Drake (Air) — Dt — 

Heroes of quick thought and learned contemplation, azure drakes are as subtle as the breeze and dynamic as the thunderstorm. Air-aspected terrestrials cannot suffer falling damage, as the air around buoys them and gently lets them down.

Mandalas: 6 pts: Air (Electricity), Academic, flight, larceny, linguistics, Sorcerous, sound, style, throwing, valor

Restriction: Terrestrial caste trait.


Emerald Drake (Wood) — Dt — 

Beautiful as orchids and deadly as nightshade, emerald drakes share a deep affinity with the living world. Wood-aspected terrestrials are immune to all natural poisons, drugs, and venoms (including alcohol).

Mandalas: 6 pts: Wood (Life), animal-ken, archery, compassion, fertility, Forester, Medicinal, nourishment, survival, toxification

Restriction: Terrestrial caste trait.


Crimson Drake (Fire) — Dt — 

Passion and energy incarnate defines the crimson drakes on the battlefield and in the court. Fire-aspected terrestrials are not affected by extreme differences in temperature. They may pass through flames uninjured, or wander across snowy wastes and never suffer from frostbite.

Mandalas: 6 pts: Fire (Enthalpy), Artisan, consumption, improvisation, melee, performance, presence, smoke, Social, temperance

Restriction: Terrestrial caste trait.


Sable Drake (Water) — Dt — 

Masters of adaptation and underhanded ways, sable drakes are deep as the ocean and relentless as the flood. Water-aspected terrestrials can breathe in water and move through it with the greater ease (they may treat their Speed stat as the Swimming skill when necessary).

Mandalas: 6 pts: Water (Propagation), bureaucracy, exploration, investigation, martial-arts, reflection, Seafaring-type, Special-type, vapour, sweetness

Restriction: Terrestrial caste trait.


Terrestrial Miracles

As mentioned in the Atma section, each exalt type has a few extra unique uses for their Atma attribute. For the dragon-bloods, they are the following:

Blessing — Ob 3

See BWG pg 524. Dragon-bloods were the foot soldiers of The Great Primordial War. Their ability to magically help one another is widely renowned. Though they cannot Bless abilities that they do not themselves know, they can still Bless objects.

Marginal successes may be spent to exponentially increase the number of recipients of the Blessing, but the bonus is always +1D and only lasts for one test.

Like the common exalted miracles, Blessings do require mantras to be used. The next two miracles do not:

Elemental Guidance — Ob 5

See BWG pg 525. The trees and the rivers know many secrets; the soil remembers ancient battles; the sky has carried all manner of things; and flames may eat swiftly but they savour the taste. This miracle can be used to uncover pathways in a more literal sense or to reveal information about the world that only the elements would be capable of hiding.

Elemental Kinetics — Ob 1-10

Using their elemental spheres of influence, the terrestrials can each perform some variant of elemental manipulation. The Ob should be set by the `Natural Effects Scale` (BWG pg 520).

E.g. Ob 1 — a wind that kicks up dust, Ob 5 — wind strong enough to damage houses.

Margin of success can be spent to linearly bump the effect further up the scale, if you so desire. 

The proper names of these powers if you care to use them are Geokinesis (earth), Aerokinesis (air), Dasokinesis (wood), Pyrokinesis (fire), and Hydrokinesis (water).

The Maelstrom 

Once a dragon-blood’s anima is flaring, they can begin to use their kinetic power to cause direct damage. This is the only Atma ability that can do this. The base Power of such an attack is always equal to half your Atma exponent, the base VA is 0. Decide how much bonus Power and bonus VA you want; 1 plus the sum of these values gives the Ob. Marginal successes may only be spent to increase the DoF roll, as per the usual rules. WL = Longest , Range = Pistol.

You can get quite creative with the descriptions for of this power. If you’re an Air-aspect, for example, a Power +1 and VA +0 attack would be Ob 2 and might just be a sharp buffet of wind: a quick invisible punch. Weras a Power +2 and VA +5 would be Ob 8 and might take the form of a lightning bolt! A similar attack for a Water-aspect might mean filling your opponent’s lungs with water, attempting to drown them on land.

Note: A great source of inspiration for these effects comes from Nickelodeon’s fantastic series, `Avatar: The Last Airbender`.

Dilution (The Great Curse)

The power of the terrestrials is the only among the exalt-types that is naturally hereditary. There was a time when all the children of a dragon-blood would also be dragon-blooded, but the primordial death curse pronounced at the end of The War affected the terrestrials in a slow and wasting way. While much is done to postpone it, with complex matchmaking charts and marriages in the Realm to keep bloodlines strong and dynasties thriving; the dragon-bloods will eventually cease to exist.

These traits depend on when you exalted as a dragon-blood. Like caste traits, each terrestrial only has one. (For convenience they may be parenthesized onto your `Diluted` trait).


Weak-Blood — Char/Dt — 

Your pedigree is bad. Your bloodline is weak. You are physically indistinguishable from mortals except when your anima flares. You have a lower than average chance of producing dragon-blooded children (about 1-in-6), and; the donatives required to marry into a noble or dynastic house are higher (+1 Ob), though perhaps not quite as high as they would be for a mortal (+2 Ob). 

Restriction: Common trait for all terrestrials who exalted as their fourth lifepath.


Plain-Blood — Char/Dt — 

Your pedigree is normal. Your bloodline is plain. Despite this, you are still physically indistinguishable from mortals except when your anima flares. You have an average chance of producing dragon-blooded children (about 2-in-6), and; the donatives required to marry into a noble or dynastic house are normal.

Restriction: Common trait for all terrestrials who exalted as their third lifepath.


Strong-Blood — Char/Dt/C-O — 

Your pedigree is good. Your bloodline is strong. You have some minor cosmetic markings which physically distinguish you from mortals (e.g. sculpted flesh, hot breath, leafy hair, stony nails, cold skin, floral scent, fiery eyes). You have a higher than average chance of producing dragon-blooded children (about 3-in-6), and; the donatives required to marry into a noble or dynastic house are lower (+1D). Additionally, this trait may be used as a call-on for Conspicuous tests when you are in the predominant presence of those with weaker blood than you, so long as you use your breeding status as leverage.

Restriction: Common trait for all terrestrials who exalted as their second lifepath.


Pure-Blood — Char/Dt/C-O — 5 pts*

Your pedigree is excellent. Your bloodline is pure. You have some major cosmetic markings which distinguish you truly as one chosen by the dragons (e.g. sylvan horns, lightly scaled skin, semi-transparent flesh, vestigial tail or wings, spines, stone bones, burning blood, sharp teeth). You have the highest chance of producing dragon-blooded children (about 4-in-6), and; the donatives required to marry into a noble or dynastic house are much lower (?1 Ob). This trait may also be used as a call-on for Conspicuous tests when you are in the predominant presence of those with weaker blood than you, so long as you use your breeding status as leverage. Finally, raise your Atma exponent by 1 during character burning.

Note: * Only costs 3 pts for dragon-bloods of noble or dynastic birth.

Restriction: Requires and replaces the `Strong-Blood` trait.


Breeding

Though the main use-case for these traits is quite unlikely to come up in a usual game of Exalted Wheel, they are important enough to want to have properly defined mechanics should the situation ever arise. If dragon-blooded characters want to have children then you can use the traits in tandem with each other: Roll one of their chances first, and roll the second chance only if the first failed. This means that two pure-bloods mating, for example, have about a 7-in-9 chance of producing a dragon-blooded heir.

Note: Due to generations of dilute blood mixing through various human populations, every mannish mortal in the game has an exceedingly low chance of producing a dragon-blooded heir (about 1-in-10,000). Though there are some pockets of Creation where this chance may be higher or lower, for example in the Realm it's probably closer to 1-in-5,000.

Lunars

Headnote: Some creative liberties have been taken with the original Exalted material on Lunars. The ones here are largely inspired by Revlid & Earthscorpion’s Terrifying Argent Witches revision project.

Common Traits

All lunars have the following traits:


Enlightened Soul — Dt — 5 pts

(See the Atma section for full details).

Note: Exalted common trait.


Exalted — Dt — 

(See the Burning Exalts section for full details).

Restriction: Exalted common trait.


Anathema — Char — 

This is the word used by the Immaculate Order and the world at large to collectively describe anything in the modern age that does not conform to the “natural order”. Thus, Solars and Lunars are considered to be monsters or demons by the common folk, and they are hunted by the order all over the world. This trait allows the GM to invoke the `Mortal Enemy Clause` (BWC pg 262) when any character with this trait fails a Circles test, or when their anima flare is spotted by the locals, to call forth a cadre of wyld hunters, an angry mob, or other unwanted attention.

Note: Lunar common trait. 


Therianthrope — Dt — 

Luna encompasses multitudes, the product of an unreal orgy of violence, seduction and consumption. The same power lies within the lunar exalted, for they may steal the shapes of man, beast, deva, god, elemental, wyld-thing and others beyond that. This trait opens a new emotional attribute called `Abjection`, which starts at rank B2 and is modified by some questions, and let’s Atma be used for shapeshifting. (See the Fetch and Abjection sections below for full details).

Restriction: Lunar common trait. Requires Atma.


Tells — Dt — 

There once was a time when the lunars were perfect shapeshifters; but since the defeat of the primordials, and the pronunciation of the co-called 'Great Curse', every lunar has had so-called Tells: remnants of their "other-selves" that show up in all of their forms. While a lunar is transformed into anything other than their true form or totem form, they retain all of their traits: physical and mental. This can be beneficial in certain circumstances, but it’s usually the thing that betrays the lunar as a fake. (See the Tells sections below for full details).

Note: It’s highly recommended that a Lunar character opens the Inconspicuous skill.

Restriction: Lunar common trait.


Totem Form — Dt — 

It is said that Lunar’s gift is two-fold: as it not only enlightens her chosen’s soul, but reveals to them a truth about their animalistic ego. You have a so-called spirit animal or second shape. It is a form different from that which you were born into. It is usually an animal. Choose it during character creation, and talk to your GM about it.

This transformation works identically to the `Fetching` process (described below), except that it can be done at-will, requiring no test. This is also different from doppelganging because this creature is unique to you, not a copy of something else. 

Note: You will not rack up passive Abjection tests in the same way either, while in your totem form, only by spending Artha (again, see below).

Restrictions: Lunar common trait. The animal you choose can have any stride or stature so long as your GM and the other players are happy, but your mortal wound does not get recalculated. (This can result in a very tough bunny, or a very squishy whale).


Caste Traits

Lunars choose one of the three following caste traits for free. Within each caste, a lunar may choose 7 mandalas from a list of 11. As with traits, the first in the list is required; but the rest can be chosen for customizability. (Remember than you can also buy more spheres of influence for resource points).


Gibbous Witch (Fear) — Dt — 

These lunars are terrifying monster-warriors who solve the world’s problems through violence, but tend to lack the inflexible martial pride so common to solars. They know that they must cheat to win and kill to endure. While your anima flares you evoke total fear, becoming an ego of eldritch violence and gore, a stalking thing that should not be. Those who witness you and fail a Steel test must take the `Flee in Absolute Terror` (run) hesitation action as every fibre of their being demands that they escape.

Additionally, your maximum Stat caps for Power and Speed are increased to 9.

Mandalas: 7 pts: Fear (Repulsion), debilitation, friction, Health, improvisation, Power, presence, protection, resistance, Speed, survival

Restriction: Lunar caste trait.


Hidden Witch (Dreams) — Dt — 

These lunatic mystic-witches see beyond the mundane veneer of the world, stealing its darkest secrets and deepest weaknesses. Through this they learn how best to shape the world to their desire. While your anima flares you evoke total mystery, becoming a loci of fascination, a living riddle, a sage beyond understanding. Those who witness you and fail a Steel test must take the `Fall into an Uncanny Stupor` (swoon) hesitation action as they try to parse the newly unveiled reality before them.

Additionally, your maximum Stat caps for Forte and Perception are increased to 9.

Mandalas: 7 pts: Dreams (Distortion), bureaucracy, concealment, Forte, intelligence, investigation, Perception, Resources, rituals, survival, wits

Restriction: Lunar caste trait.


Crescent Witch (Love) — Dt — 

These argent trickster-lovers are beautiful in their dreamlike shapelessness, and command and entice the world through their love. But they do not give such affection freely—for everything has a price. While your anima flares you evoke a primal desire, becoming an idol of allure, a font of bacchanalia, an unobtainable saudade. Those who witness you and fail a Steel test must take the `Gawp Helplessly with Awe` (stand) hesitation action as they are overwhelmed with licentious emotions or memories.

Additionally, your maximum Stat caps for Agility and Will are increased to 9.

Mandalas: 7 pts: Love (Attraction), Agility, appearance, Circles, larceny, linguistics, manipulation, openings, performance, survival, Will 

Restriction: Lunar caste trait.


Lunar Miracles

As mentioned in the Atma section, each exalt type has a few extra unique uses for their Atma attribute. For the lunars, they are the following:

Note: Unlike any of the common exalted miracles, none of these powers require a mantra to be used because they are too specific. That also means that they can’t be woven into charms though. 

Hypnotise — Ob = Victim’s Will

See BWC pg 277. The target must have been in your presence for a few minutes before you can use this power. It causes the victim to hesitate for two actions and then obey one simple direct command from the lunar. The intended action must still be related to the lunar’s spheres of influence though: so gibbous witches tend to elicit actions of fear or hatred, the hidden witches can evoke actions born from fascination or false perceptions, and crescent witches can induce actions of emotional manipulation or intense desire. After enough successful uses equal to the victim’s Will exponent they gain the `Indoctrinated` trait.

Note: This is a powerful effect that can take away player agency if used flagrantly! The GM or other players should step in and speak up if they feel that the rules are being abused. Discuss it with your group. Alternatively, you may give Lunars the `Hinderance` power, from BWG pg 525.

Fetch — Ob Varies

You may take the form of any specific living creature that you know of. You must have met them before in-game, or have established a meeting by a wise, affiliation, or lifepath, say. Each transformation is slightly unique, describe it however you like. It always takes 5 actions to transform, which count as a Physical Action. If successful, a shapeshifting intent can ride indefinitely until you voluntarily drop the form or shapeshift again. (Though note that the longer you keep a form the more `Abjection` tests you’ll likely rack up). 

Regardless of success or failure, see the consequences section below. If you were successful though: you gain the stride, stature, natural weapons/ armour, and other physical characteristics of the new form, copying them identically. (Use the monster burner to check these when necessary). However, you retain all of your stats, attributes, and skills, beliefs, instincts, and traits. Most importantly, your mortal wound and the shades of those abilities are retained too.

While doppelganging, you can do anything that your `current form` can innately do using stats as the skill when appropriate (without Beginner’s Luck penalties). For instance, a fish would use Speed to swim, while a dragon might use Forte to breath flames. Otherwise test normally.

You also get access to any of the victim’s Lifepath settings, Relationships, Affiliations, and their Reputations—so long as you know them—but temporarily lose access to your true form’s own.

Obstacles

A lunar attempts to shapeshift using their Atma attribute, ignoring the usual restrictions imposed by mandalas, using the following obstacle list:

Ob 3:Fetchting an innocuous, harmless, or sessile form (eg. fish, barnacles, worms).
Ob 4:Fetching an effective, sentient, or dangerous form (eg. wolves, bears, falcons).
Ob 5:Fetching a sapient and effective mortal form (eg. men, god-bloods, beast-folk).
Ob 6:Fetching a simple immortal form (eg. exalts, yōkai, terrestrial spirits, lower fêy).
Ob 8:Fetching a complex immortal form (eg. celestial spirits, behemoths, higher fêy).
Ob 9:Fetching a powerful or bizarre immortal form (eg. third circle demons, chaosites).

Ob Modifiers 

Assuming that your current form has middling stature: Add +1 Ob if the creature has a diminutive or massive stature, +2 Ob if the creature has a small or gigantic stature, or +3 Ob if it has a tiny or colossal statue.

Add an extra +1 Ob if you wish to change the physical characteristics of the form, within reason (eg. altering pigments, shapes, textures, sexes, sizes, and other expected variations within a given species). Alternatively, this could be base Ob 2 to make changes to your current form. 

Note: You will no longer be considered to be doppelganging if you change anything about the form, and will not be treated as such. You will lose out on their specific benefits, like Affiliations.

Restrictions

You cannot transform into anything with dead or vegetative essence (eg. corpses, ghosts, hecatonchires, inanimate objects, automata, plants, etc.) and due to the strictures of their conception you cannot doppelgang as any of the incarnate gods, including the elemental dragons and the five maidens.

“What about my stuff?”

If you're taking a humanoid shape, then all of your equipment can stay on you without too much trouble. If you want to become an animal or other strange form, then you'll have to either store your belongings somewhere separately, or you must envelop them into your new form requiring a separate Forte test at an Ob equal to the number of objects you bring in you: Failure inflicts a Light wound, which can cause hesitation.

Consequences

First, any non-lunar witnesses of a successful transformation should probably make a Steel test.

Then, instead of the usual ‘Tax or Anima’ choice when using Atma, you must instead choose to make a normal Forte Tax test by rolling the dice or simply mark an Abjection test at the same Ob (if this second option is chosen then no dice are actually rolled, just mark the test).

If the shapeshifting test fails then one of the following things will also happen:

  1. The transformation completely fails and you are stuck in whatever your current form is for the rest of the session. (You cannot even change between true or totem forms).

  2. The transformation goes wrong and you think that you have successfully transformed, but have not actually changed at all. As per `Let it Ride`, you cannot be convinced otherwise and cannot act normally again until the end of the session, or until something happens else in-game that snaps you out of it.

  3. The transformation is partially successful but you suffer a superficial wound in the process. This must be healed normally.

  4. The transformation is “too successful” and you completely become the creature. You lose control: fully believing yourself to be the target in question as well as physically resembling them. You become an NPC for a short while, causing mayhem, disrupting plans, wasting time, or whatever. Then you turn back, dazed and confused.

This is chosen and declared upfront by the GM before the test, but may also be discussed. If you can think of something more fitting for the specific situation then go for that instead.

Note: Option 4 is chosen should generally be dealt with in a single descriptive sequence. Don’t take control away for too long!

Shape Memory

Lunar’s can eventually learn the ins-and-outs of a particular shape. When this happens they gain a permanent +1D benefit when attempting to transform into that being. This creature’s name and species are added to the lunar `shape memory`: a list of all their known forms.

There are two ways to add something to your shape memory: Successfully transforming into that being enough times equal to 10 minus your Abjection attribute (similar to `Weaving Charms` or learning a skill), which takes time and extra bookkeeping, or… 

Heart’s Blood

The short-cut method for adding a form to your shape memory is to ritually hunt a target down, slay them, and consume their still-beating heart! This will always mark a difficult Abjection test.

A test to do this should definitely be involved somewhere, but the nature and obstacle of the test can depend on the prey: Most animals can be caught with a quick Hunting test. To kill a man might require a Bloody Vs. or full Fight. Killing something it’s sleep is probably a Stealthy test. A willing or restrained subject will require a Ritual test. Creatures with weird anatomy or no ‘heart’ to speak of exactly will need Butchering, to find another part of their body to consume instead.

Affinities

There’s another way to get a bonus dice for shapeshifting too: Take an `Affinity for …` trait (BWG 311), where `…` is an animal. You can buy them at character creation using the normal rules. Otherwise, obtaining them in play must be done via trait vote.

Abjection

Luna is an unnatural being drawn into the world from the dreams of the One Beyond the World and woven by the Divine Ignition. She is a weapon. She crafted the lunar exalted in her own image; with secrets given to her by Autochthon, mysteries she seduced out of her father-progenitor Oramus, wonders she stole from the bosom of the Mother of Creation, and with the love she bore for bountiful Gaia. She knew what she wrought.

The term abjection literally means "the state of being cast off." A lunar can slowly get better at throwing away their forms and embodying others to become a true shapeshifter. It stems from a complete willingness to adapt in the face of adversity.

Starting Abjection

The `Therianthrope` trait opens the Abjection emotional attribute at rank B2. This is advanced during character creation by answering the questions below. Exponent 9 is the absolute highest that Abjection can go during character burning. Five exponent points may be spent to shade-shift Abjection.

  • +1 Abjection if your character’s age is between 100 and 500 years, +2 Abjection if it is between 500 and 1000 years, and +3 Abjection if you are more than 1000 years old.

  • +1 if your Health and Steel are both 5 or more.

  • +1 if you’ve ever taken a lead into the Outcaste setting.

  • +1 if you’ve taken a new lead after every lifepath.

  • +1 if you’ve ever been disowned, exiled, outlawed, or similar.

  • +1 if you’ve ever betrayed and killed a friend or similar loyalty, and +1 more if you also stole their skin.

  • ?1 if you’re newly exalted (i.e. if exaltation was your most recent lifepath).

  • ?1 if you’ve ever repeated a lifepath.

  • ?1 if your Will is 7 or more, or +1 if your Will is 3 or less.

At character creation, the minimum Abjection exponent is 1 and the maximum is 9. You may subtract 5 from the exponent to shade-shift Abjection.

Advancing Abjection

During play, Abjection advances like a skill. When tested it is not naturally open-ended, but it is also not affected by wound penalties.

Tests can be marked for Abjection when shapeshifting or when permanently stealing a shape (see the Consequences and Heart’s Blood headers above).

Additionally there are ten ranks of passive tests for Abjection, but only mark these tests if the situations happen while you are shapeshifted. (That is, if any of these situations occur while you are in your true form, then do not mark an Abjection test).

These tests stem predominantly from events that elicit changes in your life, good or bad. As with all other situational tests, feel free to change some of these or add your own to suit your games situation or theme better:

Ob 1:Breaking one of your true form’s instincts. Going to sleep and dreaming a false form’s dreams. Being in the form of a wild animal and bringing it into a civilised place.
Ob 2:Appreciating the life that the form normally leads. Being in the form of a civilised person and bringing it into the wild. Acting in a way that would normally be an instinct for the form*
Ob 3:Maintaining a form for the rest of a session or for a week of downtime. Breaking one of your true form’s beliefs. Being in the form of a mortal creature and bringing it out of Creation.
Ob 4:Taking advantage of one of the form’s friends or family members. Killing one of the form's enemies. Acting in a way that works towards something that would normally be a belief for the form*
Ob 5:Maintaining a form for an entire adventure or for month of downtime. Killing one of the form’s friends or family members. Getting the form a new relationship, establishing a new reputation, or buying them into a new affiliation.
Ob 6:Advancing, reducing, or otherwise changing a form’s reputation or affiliation. Killing a form’s original while wearing their shape (i.e. from their perspective, they are getting killed by their own doppelganger).
Ob 7:Maintaining a form for an entire campaign or for a season of downtime. Turning one of the form’s relationships into a hateful or romantic one.
Ob 8:Revealing the truth about a form by casting it off and turning into something else with their circles, relationships, or affiliates as witnesses. Creating a new ‘family’ relationship for the original form.
Ob 9:Maintaining a form for a year or more of downtime. Revealing to a form’s original that you have taken their shape and ruined their life with your actions.
Ob 10:Completely taking over a form’s life, maintaining the form indefinitely, until everyone forgets a time when they didn’t know you as that form. Understanding that all forms are disposable once they have served their purpose. Forgetting your true form.

Note: * This can happen consciously or accidentally. It is the GM’s call usually. Successfully shapeshifting into a form will not automatically tell you any of its beliefs or instincts, but you can discover them through play by seeing what ends up marking Abjection tests. They don’t grant you Artha though, unless you copy them over to fill your own belief / instinct slots.

Chimerism (Exponent 10)

If a lunar’s Abjection exponent ever hits 10 then they lose control, and become permanently unplayable. Although they are not dead, the touch of demonic chaos in their chakras twists and pulls in all directions, and they can no longer contain it. They shred all forms of consistency and embrace constant change. The lunar becomes a chimera.

The lunar becomes an ever-changing beast of flesh and bone and quicksilver that ravages its way through towns. It becomes a floating hole in the world, rimmed with silver. Through it, horrors from Beyond squirm and wriggle, then it combusts in it’s own impossibility. It becomes an old man who sits by the road near a quiet village. He thinks he has lived there all his life, and he’s proud of his son who will become the new village thaumaturgist next week. The lunar becomes all of them, and more. And worse.

Abjection and Artha

Tapping into the nature of the forms they take, Lunars can exhibit skill at tasks they have never touched, summon reserves of bestial strength, or fluidly inhabit the mannerisms of their form.

  • Fate can be spent to Help any ability test with Abjection, so long as the form that you’re currently inhabiting would ordinarily have that ability too. This marks an Abjection test of the appropriate type as per the usual help rules.

  • Persona can be spent to substitute an ability with Abjection for the duration of an intent. If this ability is a skill then you can FoRK too. Only one ability may benefit from this at a time. Mark tests for Abjection only as it’s used during the scene. (Remember that Abjection is not open-ended naturally, but also doesn’t suffer from wounds).

  • Deeds can be spent to perfectly doppelg?ng as the form you currently hold and to completely become the creature until you next shapeshift. You will get to see and use their whole character sheet for the duration. Only your Atma attribute must stay the same. This marks a challenging or difficult test for Abjection, whichever is needed.

The artha goes into the Abjection attribute.

Tells (The Great Curse)

Luna moves through the sky, ever-changing in her glory. Yet, she is always the moon. So it is for the argent witches: whatever form they might take, some part of their essence stays the same. It was not always this way, but lunars have learned to adapt—like they always do.

Tells, like in poker, are characteristics and habits that reveal to an observant opponent that you’re bluffing. Lunars, being—in some sense—gamblers of life, are quite familiar with the term and sometimes use it to pejoratively refer to their curse.

The curse means that all of a lunar’s traits come with them when they shapeshift into various forms. This is only superseded when spending a Deeds point on Abjection (see above).

By-and-large though, these things go unnoticed until a crucial moment: A slip of the tongue, some social faux pas, a strange limp, or other small thing that might tick observers off and start searching for other things which may be wrong.

When this happens (and when it matters) the lunar should make a Falsehood, Acting, Stealthy, Inconspicuous, or Camouflage test versus Observation. The observer get’s +1D bonus dice for every two exponent points the lunar’s Abjection is beneath 10. 

For example, at Abjection 5 the observer gets +2D. At Abjection 2 they get +4D.

If the lunar wins the test then they pass unnoticed and the test rides. The magic is preserved. People will continue to just filter out the signal that something might be wrong. (Recall that Observation is quite a rare skill among most common folk).

If the observer wins then they notice the weirdness and may react of their own accord. If they have Second Sight, they will know that the thing in front of them is a shapeshifted being. If they have Celestial Sight then they will see the lunar’s true form superimposed beneath.

Solars

The so-called “lawgivers” have just been reborn into a world of strife. About nine-tenths of the solar exaltations were locked away a few-thousand years ago after the mandate to rule was usurped by the terrestrials. Some solars are just trying to adjust and survive under the oppressive immaculate faith, which deems them to be as wicked as devils. The world is under a lot of stress, and there is inequality and injustice around every corner. Eventually a solar will enough to want to do something about it, and that's when they’ll discover that their `Limit` attribute has positive uses too. This power may give the solar an incredible and insatiable drive. It is same drive caused their eventual downfall so many centuries ago, but few remember the mistakes of that time and the great curse rides through the exaltations still…

The solars are arguably the most powerful exalt-type in the setting, at least in terms of raw numbers: they get a nice stat boost, higher stride, a shade-shifted skill for free, and lots of general skill points! Finally, if they're willing to relentlessly abuse their Limit they can achieve some great things in a short amount of time, but can also burn out pretty fast. The slower paced, more mindful, solars are harder to play but potentially more rewarding in the long run.

Solar are have some slightly punctilious rules and more than a little trait bloat, so they are not recommended for new players.

Common Traits

All solars have the following traits:


Enlightened Soul — Dt — 5 pts

(See the Atma section for full details).

Note: Exalted common trait.


Exalted — Dt — 

(See the Burning Exalts section for full details).

Restriction: Exalted common trait.


Anathema — Char — 

This is the word used by the Immaculate Order and the world at large to collectively describe anything in the modern age that does not conform to the “natural order”. Thus, Solars and Lunars are considered to be monsters or demons by the common folk, and they are hunted by the order all over the world. This trait allows the GM to invoke the `Mortal Enemy Clause` (BWC pg 262) when any character with this trait fails a Circles test, or when their anima flare is spotted by the locals, to call forth a cadre of wyld hunters, an angry mob, or other unwanted attention.

Note: Solar common trait. 


Perfect Biped — Dt — 4 pts

Solars were designed to exhibit the best of humanity. Even their gait is ideal. Your base Stride is raised to 8.

Note: Solar common trait. 


Disconsonant — Dt — 

For the solars, The Great Curse expresses itself in moments of great stress and hardship, inflating the solar's passions into gross displays of unrestrained and destructive excess.  Mechanically, the curse takes its form in solars as the `Limit` emotional attribute. Tied to it is a fourth instinct, written by the player, that contains both a trigger and a response. (See the Limit section below for full details).

Note: The instinct can only be changed infrequently, usually during a trait vote. This trait overwrites all other traits that grant a fourth instinct. Please refund any trait points if necessary.

Restriction: Solar common trait. 


Caste Traits

Solars choose one of the three following caste traits for free. Within each caste, a solar may choose 8 mandalas from a list of 11. As with traits, the first in the list is required; but the rest can be chosen for customizability. (Remember than you can also buy more spheres of influence for resource points).


Zenithal Priest (Divinity) — Dt — 

Politicians, civil engineers, founders of religions, poetic soothsayers, uplifters of nations, catalysts of reform; leaders all. The zenith castes always seem to seek to make the world a better place, as best they know how. By revealing their halo, a zenithal sun may invoke the power of universal diplomatic immunity. Even animals understand and respect this sacred and ancient law. In any scenario where you are being non-aggressive, any attempts to initiate a physical conflict with you require a Will test at an Ob equal to your Atma. (Groups of antagonists can all Help each other, but the test rides either way). Note that if you attack first then the geas automatically breaks and may not be re-invoked until the situation changes.

Mandalas: 8 pts:  Divinity (Law), Artisan, Artist-&-Musical, equity, integrity, Medicinal, Military, peace, presence, resistance, School-of-Thought

Note: In the context of the original Exalted material, this expands the `Zenith` caste’s capabilities slightly.

Restriction: Solar caste trait. 


Azimuthal Priest (Light) — Dt — 

In their heyday, these solars were the mightiest of warriors and the sharpest of minds to ever walk the earth. The azimuth castes are as easy to find across the world now as craftsmen, and bidders of occult forces, soldiers, or humble farmers. Azimuthal suns have the uncanny ability to take on new information, assimilate it quickly, and put it to use. Their learning Aptitude is reduced by 1 for all Skills.

Mandalas: 8 pts: Light (Day), Academic, beauty, bureaucracy, Craftsman, exertion, investigation, Martial, Peasant, Sorcerous, survival

Note: In the context of the original Exalted material, this combines the `Dawn` and `Twilight` castes into one.

Restriction: Solar caste trait. 


Nadiral Priest (Shadow) — Dt — 

These solars may walk unseen among the wicked, they may be forgers of accord between the powers of the world. The nadir castes may be fair-spoken diplomats, sly rogues, wealthy merchants, shadowy assassins, or simple travellers. The nadiral suns were often used to lead negations because they have the unique power to magically sanctify any oaths sworn in their presence. Such oaths work in a similar way to the Oathswearer trait (BWG pg 338). Those who refuse to swear an oath may gain an infamous reputation, while those who break them (including the lawgivers themselves) may be subjected to a harrowing curse.

Mandalas: 8 pts: Shadow (Night), Forester, improvisation, Physical, retribution, rituals, Seafaring, Social, Special, style, whispers

Note: In the context of the original Exalted material, this combines the `Night` and `Eclipse` castes into one.

Restriction: Solar caste trait. 


Solar Miracles

As mentioned in the Atma section, each exalt type has a few extra unique uses for their Atma attribute. For the solars, they are the following:

Note: Unlike any of the common exalted miracles, none of these powers require a mantra to be used because they are too specific. That also means that they can’t be woven into charms though.

Fading Twilight — Ob 4

A trick of the god’s, gifted exclusively to the lawgivers to help them get out of tight situations. The effect always causes your anima to flare, then as the corona fades as you pass into it and vanish. If successful, you’ll cease to exist until the sun next crosses the horizon. You reappear at the nearest crossroads—wherever that may be.

Purification — Ob 5

See BWG pg 525. Works on wyld-taint, ghosts, demons, possessions, etc., excluding gods.

Consecration — Ob 6

See BWG pg 525. Pretty much the same as Purification but affects a larger area. Works on wyld-taint, ghosts, demons, possessions, etc., excluding gods.

Banishment — Ob 5-9

The solars original purpose in The Primordial War was to deliver the finishing blow to the lesser souls of the Yozis, to send them to another dimension—their newly constructed hellish prison. Contemporary solars retain this power. Few yet realise it, but it may yet be a useful bargaining chip in the face of the apocalypse. 

There are three types of demon that can be banished, and thus three obstacles for this power: Ob 5 to banish a first circle being, Ob 7 to banish a second circle being, Ob 9 to banish a third circle being.

In order for this special miracle to be performed, the creature to be banished must first be subdued or restrained (physically or otherwise). If the banishing fails, the test rides for a year and a day.

Note: When a demon is outright “killed” (instead of banished) it undergoes a major change and reforms in hell a few months later with a wounded Atma score. In this sense, demons can never be destroyed, only changed. Hence why hell exists in the first place.

Limit (The Great Curse)

When the exalted slew the enemies of the gods, those ancient monsters pronounced a terrible death-curse against their traitorous gods. The Sun’s charioteer and his compatriots had anticipated this, however, and drew up mighty magic wards to protect themselves. What they failed to notice was that the curse of the fallen ancients took root in the hearts of their chosen instead. That Great Curse still haunts the exalted to this day, leaving a seed of darkness in each exalted shard.

The growing strength of the Great Curse in solars is measured by an emotional attribute called `Limit`. Limit functions very similarly to Dwarven Greed (BWG pg 121), except the starting exponent is determined differently, and the `Idiom` and `I Must Have Her` rules are encapsulated as a special fourth instinct.

Starting Limit

A solar’s starting Limit rank is B2. The exponent is modified by your answers to the questions below. Exponent 9 is the absolute highest that Limit can go during character burning. Five exponent points may be spent to shade-shift Limit.

  • +1 Limit if your character age is  between 100 and 500 years, +2 Limit if it is between 500 and 1000 years, and +3 Limit if they are more than 1000 years old.

  • +1 if your Will exponent is 4 or lower.

  • +1 if your character has killed out of anger or negligence before. +1 more Limit if the one killed was family, a friend, a lover, or an innocent stranger. ?1 Limit if the character tried to repent or went into isolation (or similar) immediately after the incident.

  • +1 if you have ever wanted revenge or felt spiteful about something, but ultimately just hid and did nothing.

  • ?1 if your character followed the immaculate teachings prior to solar exaltation and (or otherwise) rightfully considers themselves to be a monster.

  • ?1 if your is comfortable with their lot in life and is just letting their divine powers go to waste instead of seeking to change the world.

  • ?1 for each non-hateful romantic or close-family relationship. +1 Limit for each hateful-close-family or hateful-romantic relationship.

Trigger and Response

Limit has a fourth instinct tied to it that defines the solar’s unique `trigger` and `response`. Typically, the Limit trigger revolves around witnessing, facilitating, or failing to prevent an act that the solar deems particularly heinous or viceful; but it can be anything really. The response should be a massive overreaction to the transgression. Some examples are given later on.

Limit follows the same rules as the `Greed Idiom`, `She’s Magnificent…`, and `I Must Have It!` (BWG pg 122) except applied to the solar’s personalised trigger and response.

The solar must test Steel at an Ob equal to the highest of their Hesitation or Limit whenever they are triggered, and if they fail then they must either hesitate (as per usual) or engage with their written response and roleplay appropriately; avoiding hesitation, but marking two routine tests for Limit!

Limit advances like a skill, but like Greed (BWG pg 123) routine tests always count towards advancement. (Any two of the three bars filled will advance Limit at exponent 5 and beyond).

Note: Since the Trigger and Response are written as an instinct, leaning into this with your roleplaying this can easily get you into trouble and earn you a fate point too.

Bonuses and Penalties

Solars gain +1D to their Steel test if the scene involves a romantic or close-family relationship, and +1D if the scene is in total privacy (e.g. completely alone, or with one or two trusted allies). They suffer a +1 Ob penalty if the scene involves a hateful relationship or enemy circle, and +1 Ob if the scene is in total publicity (e.g. a busy street, a court, or in front of the troops).

“No, don’t do it. Don’t let it get to you!”

If there are other characters in the scene who know the solar well and recognise when he’s about to be triggered, they may Help the solar's Steel test with an appropriate Stat to convince or restrain the solar from engaging his Limit’s response. Getting involved like this ties them into the failure conditions of the Steel test though, which can be dangerous.

How Often?

The GM should work to intentionally introduce at least one triggering scenario into the game for each solar character, roughly once per adventure. Accidental, unforeseen, or PC-induced triggering will probably happen as well every now and then, just by virtue of playing the game. Players and GMs alike should always keep an ear out for potentially triggering scenes. If you realise after a scene that something should have triggered them then it is assumed that you passed your Steel test, so mark the appropriate test at the end of the session.

Changing the Instinct

The Limit instinct is a somewhat malleable thing, but unlike normal instincts it cannot be altered every session. The wording of a Limit instinct can be change slightly—so long as the theme remains the same—but it should only ever be fully re-written during a trait vote, or with the agreement of all the other players and the GM.

Limit and Artha

Limit represents your character’s ability to bottle up their emotions and agonies. It also represents a source of energy reserves that a solar can call on to selfishly get what they want. The artha goes into the Limit attribute. These are the temptations:

Persona: Tapped for Power

The reserves of your Limit may be drawn upon with a point of Persona. This adds your Limit exponent to any other ability test in the game as advantage dice. Doing this will always mark difficult or challenging test for Limit, whichever is needed.

Like ‘Fuel the Fires’ for Greed (BWG pg 123), this power can only be used if it is dramatically appropriate to the current scene and the solar's idiom. Usually only when the solar is wilfully engaging in their response without actually being triggered, or during a critical moment for a long-standing belief.

Fate: Into the Magic Bottle

Solars can opt to force a Tax test on their Limit, instead of Forte or Will to avoid anima flare. This costs a point of Fate and marks an appropriate test for Limit based on the Ob of the Tax test. (No dice are actually rolled, the power just gets bottled up as a test).

Note: This works on both Atma and Sorcery-related tax tests. 

Losing Limit

Whenever you complete a belief that grants a Deeds point, if you resisted the temptation and never tapped your Limit for power (or if the GM otherwise deems it appropriate), you may drop your Limit exponent down by 1 instead of taking the Deeds point. The choice is yours.

The character can also work towards losing a marked test by using the practise cycle of Will (BWG pg 48). This involves a period of pilgrimage, meditation, calm thought, solitude and introspection. This cannot bring the Limit exponent down though, it can only delay increase.

Inner Turmoil

Once a solar’s Limit reaches exponent 7 and above, they begin to feel inner turmoil. This should be represented by new traits. The group may discuss an appropriate trait to add based on actions portrayed in the fiction so far (but don’t double-dip on the trait just being a reflection of the instinct).

If you can't think of anything—or if your Limit exponent is 7 or higher during character burning—roll 2d6 to obtain a random trait that reflects the Limit bubbling up in unforeseen ways:

2d6:

1

2

3

4

5

6

1-2

Impulsive

Aggressive

Cynical

Superstitious

Insomniac

Fixed Smile

3-4

Addicted*

Apathetic

Blasé

Resting Bitch Face

Narcoleptic

Righteous

5-6

Desperate

Phobia*

Reckless

Invisible Friend

Venal

Psychotic

Note: * Decide what your character is afraid of, or which substance or behaviour they’re addicted to.

Limit Break (Exponent 10)

Once a character’s Limit exponent reaches 10 all of their bottled up trauma and hatred and insanity spills out uncontrollably and consumes their every thought. The player and the GM decide whether the character simply kills himself, retries and escapes into the wilderness to peacefully meditate and avoid all human contact for the rest of time, or uses all of their powers and strength to fulfill a desire that will never be sated. Whatever you choose, the solar character becomes forever unplayable at the end of the session (but their exalted shard remains bound to them until their body is slain).

Example Limit Instincts

Feel free to use one of these as is, modify one slightly for your character, mix-and-match the triggers and responses, or write a completely new one to suit the situation, character, or setting:

“Trigger;

Response.”

“Whenever I witness innocents suffering through no fault of their own;

I will throw myself into action to help alleviate the cause in the most direct fashion that I can.”

“If I am insulted, belittled, or deliberately frustrated by another;

I am consumed with rage and will strike out at anything that I believe to be the cause.”

“When I tell a lie, deliberately deceive someone, or break a sworn oath;

I am consumed with grief, regret, or sorrow, and will do nothing but mourn what is lost or brood upon the injustice.”

“If I am hindered or defeated by the self-indulgent tendencies or intemperate behaviour of those around me;

I will strive to correct this failing by any means necessary.”

“When I suffer a setback or defeat because of a mistake that I made;

I am crippled with self-doubt, and will seek assistance for every task, no matter how trivial, or will pass my responsibilities onto others whom I believe to be more capable.”

“If I am faced with an opportunity to advance my own cause by harming innocents or ignoring the suffering of others;

My conscience vanishes, and I use any form of terror and cruelty to get my way.”

“If my actions lead me down a course that I later regret taking;

I indulge selfishly and greedily in my base wants and needs, using force if necessary.”

“Whenever I am denied my favourite vice or pleasure;

I try to flee the scenario before me and weep uncontrollably.”

“When I am fighting against losing odds, or given an opportunity to show my bravery;

I lose all sense of fear and recklessly take on any challenge that I am presented, without care for personal safety.”

Note: The instinct should be written such that it is a little looser and more generally applicable than a standard instinct. This is so that it’s open to discussion and interpretation among the players and the GM upon a failing the Steel test.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *