Meet the Party: Exalted 2E

An unparalleled archer determined to forge a new nation with an army at her back. A priest of the Unconquered Sun who can withstand any blow in his quest to stand against abuses of power. A sorcerer with an insatiable hunger for magical power, worshipped as if he were a god because of his gift. An assassin and master of supernatural martial arts, determined to kill until the Realm has fallen. A fallen member of a fallen house, determined to put an end to the Time of Troubles for the good of all. Each Meet the Party article gives you an entire group of ready-to-play adventurers (maybe even some heroes) for your gaming needs for a variety of systems and settings. This time we’re heading to Creation, where the stakes are high and the power levels even higher, to meet a full Solar Circle for Exalted Second Edition!

Exalted is a somewhat . . . alright, very over-the-top game set in Creation during the Time of Troubles. The largest empire’s leader has vanished, civil war is brewing, demons and undead are establishing footholds, and the pure chaos of the Wyld chews at the edges of reality. Amidst all this the Solar Exalted, legendary heroes who have been missing for centuries, make their return. Solars can do anything if they truly put their mind to it: face down armies, destroy mountains, shape societies, and move pure evil to tears of shame. That being said, they’ve certainly got their work cut out for them. That is, of course, presuming that they’re actually heroes in the first place.

While White Wolf and Onyx Path are making a 3rd Edition of the game, I thought it might be nice to give 2nd Edition a Meet the Partysend-off. A note before we begin: ranks in attributes, abilities, and others are described as ‘dots’. So a character with an Essence of 2 is represented on the character sheet with Essence: OO, and so on and so forth. Each ‘dot’ used for a roll translates into a d10; all the dice are then rolled and the number of hits are counted to determine success or failure. A word to the wise: you can never have too many d10s for an Exalted campaign.

The following five characters, which form a ‘perfect’ Solar Circle consisting of one of each caste, were made using the Exalted 2E Core rulebook and the Scroll of Errata supplement. Now a ‘finished’ Edition, 2E has tons more content that I could have used, but I thought I’d keep things relatively simple this time out. Now, without further ado, let’s see who is going to be saving (or destroying) Creation!

Raquel, The Dawn

Caste: Dawn

Motivation: To build a new Solar nation, where Solars can be safe from the Wyld Hunt.

Essence: OOOO

Essence Pool: 21 Personal, 46 Peripheral

Willpower: OOOOOOOOO

Strength: OOO Dexterity: OOOOO Stamina: OOO

Charisma: OOO Manipulation: O Appearance: OOO

Perception: OOO Intelligence: OOO Wits: OOO

Caste Abilities: Archery OOOOO, War OOOO

Favored Abilities: Athletics OOO, Awareness OOO, Dodge OOO, Integrity OO Socialize OO

Other Abilities: Resistance O, Presence OO, Survival O, Steath OO

Specialties: Archery (Powerbows x3), War (Small Units)

Charms/Sorcery: Second Archery Excellency, There Is  No Wind, Accuracy Without Distance, Trance of Unhesitating Speed, Arrow Storm Technique, Essence Arrow Attack (Fiery Damage Attack), Phantom Arrow Technique, Second War Excellency, Rout-Stemming Gesture, Mob-Dispersing Rebuke

Backgrounds: Artifact OOO, Artifact O, Followers OOO

Virtues: Compassion OO, Conviction OO, Temperance OO, Valor OOO

Virtue Flaw: Foolhardy Contempt

Equipment: Long Orichalcum Powerbow, Artifact Orichalcum Breastplate

Raquel is an archer without peer, at least so far as she is aware. She is able to ignore distractions and penalties, land perfect strikes, and send a hail of arrows against both single targets and groups. Her shots literally burn with the power of the Sun, and when needed she can pull ammo from thin air to continue her assault. In addition to being a fine warrior herself, she is also a skilled battlefield commander: her War charms allow her to maintain the valor of her troops and break the valor of troops arrayed against her. Having already gathered a loyal band of followers, she is a force to be reckoned with.

Asama, The Zenith

Caste: Zenith

Motivation: To stand up to the decadent and overindulgent who live at the expense of others.

Essence: OOO

Essence Pool: 17 Personal, 38 Peripheral

Willpower: OOOOOOOO

Strength: OOO Dexterity: OOO Stamina: OOO

Charisma: OOOO Manipulation: OOO Appearance: OOOO

Perception: OO Intelligence: OO Wits: OOO

Caste Abilities: Integrity OOO, Performance OOOO,

Presence OOOO, Resistance OOOO, Survival OOO

Favored Abilities: Melee OOOO, Linguistics O, Ride O,

Socialize OOO, Athletics O

Specialties: Melee (Daiklaves), Presence (Defying the Established Social Order), Performance (Storytelling), Resistance (In Combat)

Charms/Sorcery: Ox-Body Technique x3, Second Presence Excellency, Hypnotic Tongue Technique, Second Performance Excellency, Heart-Compelling Method, Second Integrity Excellency, Temptation-Resisting Stance, Second Melee Excellency

Backgrounds: Artifact OOO, Manse OOOO, Artifact OOOOO

Virtues: Compassion OO, Conviction OO, Temperance OOO,            Valor OO

Virtue Flaw: Ascetic Drive

Equipment: Grand Orichalcum Daiklave, Gem of Adamant Skin, Superheavy Orichalcum Plate

Asama has a striking appearance, armored in Superheavy Plate and wielding a massive Grand Daiklave as his weapon. He is no slouch with the Orichalcum blade, and the Plate works well with his Ox-Body Technique Charms, which make him the only member of the Circle to have more than 7 health levels. The Gem of Adamant Skin makes him even tougher, converting otherwise lethal damage into much-easier-to-heal bashing damage. Asama’s true strength, however, is in his Presence and Performance Charms, which allow him to influence emotions and issue orders. His Integrity Charms then protect him from others attempting the same on him.

Sandima, The Twilight

Caste: Twilight

Motivation: To unlock every secret of Sorcery up to, including, and beyond the Solar Circle.

Essence: OOOO

Essence Pool: 21 Personal, 46 Peripheral

Willpower: OOOOOOOOO

Strength: OO Dexterity: OOO Stamina: OO

Charisma: OOO Manipulation: OOO Appearance: OOO

Perception: OOO Intelligence: OOOO Wits: OOOO

Caste Abilities: Craft OOO (Magitech), Investigation OOO, Lore OOO, Medicine OO, Occult OOOOO

Favored Abilities: Integrity OOO, Linguistics OOO, Awareness OOO, Dodge OO, Bureaucracy O

Specialties: Occult (Supernatural Etiquette, Summoning, Thaumaturgy), Lore (The First Age)

Charms/Sorcery: Terrestrial Circle Sorcery, Second Occult Excellency, Death of Obsidian Butterflies, Demon of the First Circle, Emerald Countermagic, Celestial Circle Sorcery, Dolorous Reflection, Sapphire Countermagic, Second Investigation Excellency, Second Lore Excellency

Backgrounds: Artifact OO, Resources OO, Cult OOO

Virtues: Compassion OO, Conviction OOO, Temperance OO,             Valor OO

Virtue Flaw: Deliberate Cruelty

Equipment: Yasal Crystal, Chain Shirt

Sandima has delved deep into the study of Sorcery, gaining access to both the Terrestrial and Celestial Circles. He is capable of summoning demons to do his bidding, and can counter spells from his enemies up to and including Celestial sorcery. Death of Obsidian Butterflies gives him a devastating offensive spell, while Dolorous Reflection allows him to turn ranged attacks back upon his assailants. The Yasal Crystal allows him to capture spirits and command them as well. With his Excellencies in Occult, Investigation, and Lore he is the Circle’s living library and best researcher. Finally, the cult that has sprung up in worship of him empowers his Willpower and Essence Pool.

Ebon Unfettered, The Night

Caste: Night

Motivation: To strike against the Dynasts until the Scarlet Empress’s Realm lies in ruins.

Essence: OOO

Essence Pool: 17 Personal, 38 Peripheral

Willpower: OOOOOOOO

Strength: OOOO Dexterity: OOOOO Stamina: OO

Charisma: OO Manipulation: OOO Appearance: OO

Perception: OOO Intelligence: OOO Wits: OOO

Caste Abilities: Athletics OOO, Awareness OOO, Dodge OOOO, Larceny OOO, Stealth OOOO

Favored Abilities: Martial Arts OOOOO, Investigation OO, Medicine O, Socialize OO, Survival O

Specialties: Martial Arts (Fighting Unarmed, Multiple Opponents), Dodge (When Unarmed), Stealth (Ambush)

Charms/Sorcery: Fists of Iron Technique, Sledgehammer Fist Punch, Dragon Coil Technique, Solar Hero Form, Heaven Thunder Hammer, Ox-Stunning Blow, Hammer on Iron Technique, Crashing Wave Throw, Shockwave Technique, Shadow Over Water, Seven Shadows Evasion (Conviction Flaw), Easily Overlooked Presence Method

Backgrounds: Artifact OO, Manse OOOO, Contacts O, Resources O

Virtues: Compassion OO, Conviction OOO, Temperance OO, Valor OO

Virtue Flaw: Heart of Flint

Equipment: Orichalcum Hearthstone Bracers, Seven Leaping Dragon Stone, Buff Jacket

Ebon Unfettered is a master of the Solar Hero Style of supernatural martial arts, and she can use it to devastating effect. The style makes her a blur of punches and kicks that shatter objects, clinch and stun foes, and sending opponents hurling away to smash against the terrain or each other. Further boosted by her possession of the Seven Leaping Dragon Stone, her Martial Arts make her possibly the deadliest combatant in the Circle. While not nearly as hardy as Asama, Ebon is hard to kill in her own way: her Dodge Charms allow her to maintain her defenses, in addition to the ability to perfectly avoid an attack with Seven Shadows Evasion if she can see it coming. She’s also the stealthiest, even capable of hiding in plain sight.

Iselsi Titania, The Eclipse

Caste: Eclipse

Motivation: To bring an end to the Time of Troubles, helping those in need to live in a new and better age.

Essence: OOO

Essence Pool: 17 Personal, 38 Peripheral

Willpower: OOOOOOOO

Strength: OO Dexterity: OOO Stamina: OO

Charisma: OOO Manipulation: OOOO Appearance: OOO

Perception: OOO Intelligence: OOO Wits: OOO

Caste Abilities: Bureaucracy OOO, Linguistics OOO,                Socialize OOOOO

Favored Abilities: Presence OOOOO, Integrity OO, Awareness OO, Thrown OOOO, Dodge OO

Other Abilities: Investigation OO

Specialties: Socialize (Discern Motivation, Lying), Presence (Persuasion), Bureaucracy (The Realm)

Charms/Sorcery: Second Socialize Excellency, Understanding the Court, Mastery of Small Manners, Taboo Inflicting Diatribe, Wise-Eyed Courtier Method, Second Presence Excellency, Second Bureaucracy Excellency, Indolent Official Charm, Second Thrown Excellency, Observer Deceiving Attack

Backgrounds: Artifact OOO, Artifact O, Manse OOO, Resources OO, Allies OOO, Contacts OOO

Virtues: Compassion OOO, Conviction OO, Temperance OO, Valor OO

Virtue Flaw: Compassionate Martyrdom

Equipment: Lightning Torment Hatchets, Orichalcum Hearthstone Amulet, Gem of Grace, Chain Shirt

Iselsi Titania has made her words her greatest weapons, and she wields them with a master’s skill. Her Socialize Charms all focus on knowing, understanding, and manipulating people. With a long enough con she can make entire groups believe what she wishes, or accept or reject something long avoided or embraced. Her Bureaucracy Charms don’t just allow her to navigate all the red tape: Indolent Official Charm lets her actively tangle the red tape, causing delays and problems for her opponents’ projects. Her Gem of Grace makes her already impressive Charisma and Manipulation even more so. While Titania may appear otherwise harmless, that is just another trick. Her Lightning Torment Hatchets can actually be summoned to her so long as she is attuned to them, and Observer Deceiving Attack means that she can hide that she is the one throwing them. Finally, she has a long list of Contacts and power Allies that she can put to good use.

Who They Are

Raquel knows all too well what awaits newly-Exalted Solars who don’t have luck on their side. While the Realm’s Wyld Hunt has waned in influence and strength due to current events, the Hunt still tracks down and murders any Solar Exalted they manage to reach. Having receiving her Exaltation after taking up her hunting bow to defend her village from bandits, Raquel was barely able to escape the Hunt when they came for her, and her time on the run left scars. Now older and much stronger, she is ready to stand her ground with an army at her back: the Solars will rise to power again with her at the vanguard, and secure a homeland where none can hunt them.

Asama was raised as a firm believer in the Immaculate Philosophy, which stated that every being had their place and had to keep it. The Philosophy also states that the Solar Anathema once nearly destroyed the world, demons who possessed the righteous and turned them to evil. However, even indoctrination could only blind him for so long. The final straw was a Guild slaver goading beggars into groveling for the merest scrap of food; Asama was blinded by light, and heard the Unconquered Sun Himself assure him that something had to be done. Asama has never looked back once since Exalting, wandering all of Creation and preaching the Sun’s words.

Sandima, like many Exalted, sometimes experiences memories of his Exaltation’s past lives. He remembers the glorious First Age, when the Solars ruled all of Creation and forged wonders beyond the ken of the present day. He remembers his past life wielding powers like nothing he himself has ever seen . . . and he envies. Sandima has always been interested in the Occult, and actually Exalted reading a tome that should have shattered his mind. Now he has more power than he could have ever had as an ordinary mortal, but so far it’s not nearly enough. Even with mortals beginning to pray to him for salvation, the Twilight caste will not be truly satisfied until the wonders in his memories are made real again.

Ebon Unfettered had a mortal name and a mortal life, once, and neither was worth anything but a few jade scrip to the Dragonblooded Exalted who ruled the Realm from the Blessed Isle. Neither was Ebon’s younger sister, who caught the eye of a Dynast with unsavory appetites. Too late to save her, Ebon went on a suicidal mission of vengeance that was doomed to fail despite her willingness to die. However, the Exaltation kept her alive and helped her complete her vengeance. Taking on a new name and leaving her mortal life beyond, Ebon has resolved to finish what she started: until the Realm is destroyed, it will continue to consume victims like Ebon’s sister, so she will make sure to end it.

Iselsi Titania was the unluckiest girl in all of Creation. Although a member of a Great House, she was not fortunate to Exalt as a Dragonblooded. Worse still, House Iselsi was fallen from grace, stripped of its power and protections after a foolish and failed assassination attempt against the Scarlet Empress centuries ago. Iselsi’s numbers and fortunes dwindled with every decade, but when the end came for Titania and her family, somehow she was able to convince her killers to sheath their weapons. Although she was forced to leave her family because of her Exaltation as a Solar, she still views it as a good thing. Her time as a mortal showed her just how cruel the current era was; now, for the first time in her life, she had the power to do something about it.

How They Interact

Raquel thinks of all of her Circle mates as both valuable resources and treasures to be protected: a Solar nation needs more of the Chosen of the Sun to hold fast against all-comers, and every loss hurts the whole. That being said, she gets along best with Ebon and Asama, both of whom by their nature oppose some of the greatest threats to the Solars (although Asama might be trouble, as strict as he is). Sandima’s a little too focused on his own desires to be fully supportive of Raquel’s goals, while Titania came from the enemy, although the Eclipse is one of the nicer people Raquel has met on the road.

Asama thinks Raquel’s goal could prove to be a noble one, and she certainly stands against the corruption and decadence of the Realm; she must be watched, though, so that Creation doesn’t end up with a Solar Empress instead. The Zenith is torn when it comes to Sandima: on the one hand, his memories of his past life tells him that he and Sandima’s previous incarnations were lovers, and there is still something there today. On the other hand, Sandima’s memories of the First Age don’t seem much better than some of the Dynasts of the Time of Troubles. Ebon and Titania are both trying to do what they can, and Asama respects them greatly: neither seems to act selfishly.

Sandima thinks Raquel is thinking too small: what strength an army possesses could easily be shattered by the right bit of sorcery. Still, the Dawn has the right idea; she can deal with the nation building, and then Sandima can restore the wonders of the First Age. Asama is too quiet, too austere, too self-assured, too . . . familiar. Although Sandima likes all the members of the Circle in his own way, Asama is the only one he loves. Ebon is a killer, but a gifted one, and Sandima thinks of her as a fellow scholar; she merely studied the powers of the body, rather than the powers of the mind. Titania is Sandima’s favorite conversation partner: while they rarely agree, at least the Eclipse is willing to debate.

Ebon is somewhat neutral on the subject of restoring the Solars as a whole to power, but she has spent some time on the thought of what comes after destroying the Realm. Raquel’s persuasive, so Ebon’s backing her plan for now as the best available option. Asama would’ve tried to save Ebon’s sister; Ebon knows this in her bones, and considers the Zenith a true friend. Sandima’s a bit of a viper, and she doesn’t know what Asama sees in him, but Ebon trusts that the Twilight’s greed will often have him targeting the Realm. Titania is a fellow victim, in her way, and Ebon both respects and is somewhat jealous of Titania’s willingness to use words before resorting to violence. Ebon’s not sure if she’d be strong enough to do that in Titania’s place.

Titania thinks Raquel’s heart is in the right place; certainly ending the Time of Troubles will mean great change, and not all of that change can be bloodless. Still, best to make sure she sticks around to smooth over the Dawn’s efforts. Asama is a little on the ascetic side for Titania’s taste: as pitiful as it might have seemed at the time, the few luxuries she’d had as a child hold fond memories for her. That being said, no one else in the Circle shares Titania’s goals quite so strongly. Sandima possesses a sharp mind, and while its contents aren’t always pleasing, Titania think of it as a whetstone for her own mind. Debating with the Twilight makes for good practice. Ebon has had a hard life, much harder than Titania’s own. At least Titania’s direct family still lives, even if they won’t see her. Whenever her conviction falters, Titania thinks of being able to prevent Ebon’s fate from happening to anyone ever again.

The Future

There’s a common joke phrase among fans of Exalted: “Welcome to Creation. Here’s your shovel.” The implication being that your characters are either going to dig Creation out of all the trouble it’s in, or bury it once and for all. Raquel, Asama, Sandima, Ebon Unfettered, and Iselsi Titania certainly have the power to do either. Which is it going to be? That’s for you (and your dice) to determine.

Originally posted 1/14/16 on the Mad Adventurers Society!

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