Lore, Cosmology, and History.   Posted by Narrator.Group: archive 0
 GM, 16 posts
 PC/NPC Wrangler
 Not God, but Physics
Mon 23 Apr 2018
at 13:19
Cosmology and Ancient History
The world of Creation emerged from a sea of utter chaos, in the form of unshaped Essence. The Primordials that created it, out of a desire to see some stability and consistency, adopted more permanent forms and began shaping the disc from the Essence around them. The Elemental Pillars, and all the races of Creation emerged under their guidance, and at the direction of the Primordials, lesser beings, gods, formed, to ensure all of Creation's features worked as they should.

Their great work completed, the Primordials retired, absentee landlords to a bevy of overworked gods. Over time, this lead to the development of the Exalted, mere mortals with the ability to channel Essence, bending physics and reality and warping the fabric of the Loom of Fate to change destiny and do the impossible: kill the Primordials.

A great war ensued, gods and Exalts against the might of the Primordials, with the Exalts succeeding, imprisoning wounded Primordials in the inverted body of their leader, Malfeas. The slaughtered Primordials, unable to truly die, became the Neverborn, dark gods of entropy and death, accidental creators of the Abyss and the underworld.

After the war, the Exalted ushered in a new glorious Age. But, a final Curse bestowed by the dying Neverborn put flaws into the heart of each Exalt, eventually corrupting their rule. Like their former foes, the Exalts themselves were the victims of a coup, their Exaltations imprisoned and the First Age brought to a close.

After a long, dark age, the Exaltations were liberated. Some returned to rightful hosts, others getting side-tracked into the coffers of the Neverborn, creating Deathknights, and others mutated into the Infernal forces of Malfeas, the Green Sun Princes. The re-emergence of the flawed, transformed, good, and evil Exaltations was the dawn of the Second Age, the Age of Sorrows.

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:01, Tue 15 May 2018.

 GM, 17 posts
 PC/NPC Wrangler
 Not God, but Physics
Mon 23 Apr 2018
at 13:33
History Since the Second Age
The Second Age ended in a cataclysm as the missing Scarlet Empress (erstwhile ruler of much of Creation) returned amidst a massive invasion from Faerie, Malfeas, and the underworld. The results of this invasion are not known, but the Scarlet Empire collapsed, and Creation was left standing.

In the Ages since, Creation has seen the rise and fall of various Exalted dynasties, the alteration of gods and the rocking of Heaven's very foundations. During the various Ages, dating back to the early Third Age, Essence-based technology has arisen, invented and reinvented, and lost arts re-discovered and constantly refined by Exalts who recognize the utility in mortals having access to some of the more basic Essence-powered magic. But, with the disastrous end to each Age, so go the societal structures that allow these devices to stay in good repair, or to even stay powered.

So it is that the modern Creation is littered with the detritus and doodads of Essence-powered artifice, and the various Exalts, who have proven their might and cannot be reined in, are free to protect or destroy, petty demigods or wise rulers, in an as-yet uncounted Age where the Primordials of old are no longer who they were in the old stories, while ever-changing Faerie and their story-obsessed Raksha constantly threaten to melt Creation back into the Chaos from which it came.

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:03, Tue 15 May 2018.

 GM, 18 posts
 PC/NPC Wrangler
 Not God, but Physics
Mon 23 Apr 2018
at 13:59
Recent History: The Silent Cataclysm
The City of Doors, Sigil, has appeared in Creation recently. How and why it is here, no one is sure, since for the overwhelming majority, it's always been here. But a few are aware of the conflicting histories, and know that the land here was a sandy bay with the small fishing village Catchican nearby just a few months ago. But the residents of that fishing village and many more have come to live in Sigil like they've been here all their lives, and if you ask, they will insist that they've done so.

The relative few that recall the Catchican version of history, depending on the degree and personality, react differently to the conflicting memories. Some dismiss it as a recurring dream inspired by some childhood fairytale from history, and carry on about their lives in Sigil unbothered. Others rave to all who will listen, driven mad by the disconnect between their apparently long-held memories. This leaves a select few who have kept their wits, choosing to investigate or take advantage of the mystery, seek to partake in the conspiracy, or even ignore the cover-up entirely.

Further complicating things is the local government, a representative town council overseen by a mysterious entity called the Lady of Pain. The Lady is mayor, judge, jury, and executioner of the city laws, as well as her own. To all accounts, she is ruthless and bloodthirsty, silent and mute, as well as wise and gentle. Capricious as the wind and weather, and mysterious as the lands beyond the fog.

Also present in the city is the College of Doors, an enclave of learned men and women who study the secret passages and magic portals in, around, through, and out of the city as well as Creation itself. But their admissions process is an enigma. A student is only allowed entrance if they can get in.

No one knows how these long-standing institutions have come to be, much less how so many know they have been there for so long. The sudden appearance of a city is not unheard of (there is a legend telling of a Songopolis disaster in the 5th Age, wherein a Raksha inspired a city into being overnight, and was gone within a week, leaving no trace of the village it displaced), but no one can tell the loss or indeed, if there has been any destruction wrought by Sigil's appearance.

This message was last edited by the GM at 20:30, Tue 22 May 2018.

 GM, 20 posts
 PC/NPC Wrangler
 Not God, but Physics
Mon 23 Apr 2018
at 14:56
Types of Exalts
Generally, "Celestial" Exalts are more powerful than "Terrestrial" in most versions of Exalted, but since I'm keeping the playing field level for this game, all of the following will be more or less equivalent in terms of strength. That is, all Exalts have equal access to the pure awesome, though their routes may differ.

"Celestial" Exalted receive their Exaltations during a stressful period in their life. What they do determines the Exaltation they attract.

Solars - These are the superheroes and mythic heroes, able to defy the rules of physics and the will of Fate and higher beings. They breathe Essence and channel it into wondrous constructs, tools, weaponry, and themselves, pinnacle exemplars of whatever task they set their mind to. They receive Exaltations for pulling off feats that should have been impossible for their mortal selves.

Lunars - Animal-themed protectors of Creation from Faerie incursion, and boon companions to the Solars. Rugged shapeshifters who borrow inspiration for their talents from nature, channeling their Essence into having more control over their form and ability to survive anything, anywhere. They receive Exaltations for surviving against long odds.

Sidereals - Wise viziers and manipulators of reality and causality. Sometimes advisors to the Solars, though they have a tempestuous history of conflict and scheming amongst themselves. They manipulate the threads of cause and effect woven by the Loom of Fate, and disappear into identities woven from rumors and metaphor. They Exalt when their destiny is diverted on a whim of Fate.

"Terrestrial" Exalted have a genetic trait, causing descendents of Terrestrials to be more likely to Exalt as Terrestrial themselves.

Dragon-Blooded - Elemental masters of earth, air, fire, water, or wood. Vastly more common than the "Celestial" Exalts, and more organized. These folk and their familial lines of power tend to coalesce into governments and bureaucracies. They bring all of nature's might into battle, coordinating with each other to work massive feats.

I'm going to insist that PCs are "good guys", but I'm not averse to "antiheroes with a past", so I'm going to allow these as possibilities, with the heavy caveat that I will be vastly more picky about characters that use these concepts:

"Corrupted-Celestial" Exalts:

Infernals - Green Sun Princes, transformed by the Vitriol and the hells of Malfeas into megalomaniacal villains intent on returning Creation to the proper rule of its creators- the Primordials. Capable of fighting off their masters' yoke, these broken individuals may lay claim to Creation for their own purposes. They Exalt when their courage fails them, and instead of overcoming to become a Solar, they run away in cowardice.

Abyssals - Deathknights, turned by the Neverborn and the Deathlords into assassins and corruptors to tip Creation into the Abyss, ending its cycles of life and allowing their masters to finally rest. They, too, may break free of their masters' fetters and purifying their Exaltation, but at the risk of harming anyone close to them. They Exalt when they are brought to death's doorstep, accepting this dark exaltation and a life of destroying others instead of ending their own story.

This message was last edited by the GM at 02:10, Tue 15 May 2018.

 GM, 43 posts
 PC/NPC Wrangler
 Not God, but Physics
Wed 9 May 2018
at 11:54
Names That Unfold Like The Lotus Blossom
In the history of Creation, there is a pattern of Exalts naming their possessions, techniques, and even themselves with scraps of poetry and descriptive phrases. Embracing or omitting this traditional practice is something of a personal choice in the Ninth Age, and may indicate something about your character.

Stories are told of the Sidereal adventurer Scarlet Returning Chakram, and the horrors inflicted by the Deathknight Earnest Sovereign Felled Blow, alongside the simpler names of Volfer and Swan. All have stories and tales of their exploits, and it is largely up to the Exalt themselves how they wish to be remembered.

This message was last updated by the GM at 01:58, Tue 15 May 2018.

 GM, 57 posts
 PC/NPC Wrangler
 Not God, but Physics
Sat 19 May 2018
at 02:19
Exalted Anima Banners
For a long time, Exalts were marked by a side-effect of their intrinsic Essence manipulation: the Anima Banner. The Anima Banner is a unique, glowing symbol that appears (or "flares") whenever an Exalt channels Essence through Charms. This Anima flare is generally uncontrollable for newly-minted Exalts, but over time, they can learn to harness their flaring banner to enhance their impressive powers, or even prevent their banner from appearing.

Each Anima is unique to it's Exalt in form and color, though they are generally monochromatic. They are also generally associated with the type of Exalt generating the Banner:

Solars tend to have bright yellow or golden banners, shining and warm like their namesake, frequently with stylized suns worked in.

Lunars usually feature the Exalt's associated beast, taking on a silvery sheen on top of and in addition to other colors

Sidereals tend toward celestial, starry canvases, and complex astrological and mystical symbols

Terrestrials will often radiate power into local bits of their element, so Air will generate small vortices and breezes; Fire will emit sparks and small flames; and so on.

Infernals's banners will be twisted, psychedelic constructs, as chaotic as their nature and often disorienting to view.

Abyssal Anima Banners are terrible, morbid visions of death and decay, even stretching out to overlay their immediate surroundings in a gloomy illusion.

Naturally, these are only the traditional patterns, and over the intervening Ages there have been many Exalts sporting Banners that are unusual for their type. Rarely has an Exalt's Anima Banner ever changed its thematic elements.