Welcome back, dice fondlers! This week, we return from our Thanksgiving feasts (and thereafter food comas) to Exalted. It’s time to talk character creation in the world of Creation.
As a reminder, we’re using Exalted 2E. There are numerous reasons behind this. First and foremost, I haven’t had a chance to really dig my teeth into Exalted 3E yet. It makes some design choices I don’t care for on a surface level while making other choices that really intrigue me. It also has a combat system that I won’t be able to comment on until I see it in play. With that in mind, the responsible thing to do is to talk about the system I have the most experienced actually running (and that, admittedly, runs much smoother than the first edition). That’s enough talk about editions. Let’s talk about Solar Exalted and how we’ll be creating our godlings!
Solar Creation & Castes
As I mentioned last time, since we’re taking a look at this for beginners, we’ll be using a party of five Solars so that we can include one of each Caste. Every Exalt type has multiple castes, usually five, but not always (looking at you, Lunars). Castes give our Solar a batch of Favored Abilities, as well as a special power unique to their Caste. The Castes for Solar Exalted are the Dawn, Zenith, Twilight, Night, and Eclipse Castes.
The Dawn Caste are the great warriors of legend; their Favored Abilities are Exalted’s four combat Abilities, plus War. The Dawn Caste are those who naturally took to the art of combat and the science behind tactical thinking. Their Anima, the divine halo that surrounds an Exalt when they use their magical Essence, has the ability to flare so fiercely that it intimidates the foes of the Exalt.
The Zenith Caste are the priest-kings of the Exalted. They are the righteous and just; they are the missionaries who preach the return of the Solar Exalted. Their Favored Abilities are Integrity, Performance, Presence, Resistance, and Survival. The Zenith are built to spread the kingdom of the Exalted throughout Creation, and make fantastic wandering preachers. Their Anima has the ability to flare with the holy brilliance of the Unconquered Sun and grants the Zenith bonus damage against the forces of darkness.
The Twilight Caste are the generals, advisers, and sorcerers of the Exalted. Where other Exalts may cherish knowledge, the Twilight don’t just hunger for knowledge; they obsess over putting knowledge to use. The many wonders of the First Age were often wrought by the hands of the Twilight. They specialize in the Abilities Craft, Investigation, Lore, Medicine, and Occult. Their Anima can flare and become a shield against danger, weakening the enemy assault against them.
The Night Caste are the magistrates, spies, and assassins of the Solar Exalted. They pursue those who would scheme beyond the sight of the Sun. They are those who are best at the Abilities Athletics, Awareness, Dodge, Larceny, and Stealth. The Anima of the Night Caste can be flared to wrap the Exalt and mute the sights and sounds around them.
Finally, The Eclipse Caste are the diplomats and dealmakers of the Solar Exalted. Their words were the threads that bound together truces between the Exalted and their many allies. They were the administrators and functionaries that kept the bureaucracy of the First Age moving smoothly and without friction. The Abilities they are proficient in are Bureaucracy, Linguistics, Ride, Sail, and Socialize. The Eclipse Caste can use their Anima to sanctify oaths between themselves and others, invoking all of Creation to see that the pact is honored. Should either party break the oath, the oathbreaker will suffer a horrible botch, a complete failure at the worst possible moment. Further, the Eclipse can learn the Charms of spirits, the Fair Folk, or other Exalted.
Next Up: Motivation
Now that we have our Castes established, we should choose a Motivation for our characters. A single line is really all you need to have. This line must be created by the player once they’ve gotten a feel for what their character really wants and needs. Your Motivation will have mechanical ramifications, but more than anything, it can be a really useful hook to hang the rest of your character concept on.
With these most basic concepts established, we will take a break and come back next week, where we’re going to lunge into the Attributes and Abilities of our characters and get some actual numbers down on our sheets.
Until then, my divine readers, remember to…