Tropes relating to the stars of the game: the eponymous Exalted.
Subjective tropes, reactions and other YMMV go here.
The Exalted are mortals that were originally empowered by the Gods to overthrow their Primordial masters, the tyrannical cosmic superentities who created the world. They won, with the help of two traitor Primordials, Gaia and Autochthon, slaying some of the creators, and forcing the rest to surrender. The dead Primordials became the Neverborn, the nightmarish quiescent remains of entities for whom there is no beginning or end, and bound to sleep in the Underworld. Those who surrendered became the Yozis, crippled titans imprisoned within the hell called Malfeas, the world-body of their king. But the dying Neverborn cast a final curse on the Exalted, dooming them all to succumb to their own hubris and madness.
The Solar Exalted were made rulers of the world who slowly fell to the Great Curse and became depraved and heartless monsters, mad with their own power. The Sidereal Exalted, blinded by the hubris of their own curse, conspired against the Solars. They incited the Dragon-Blooded to overthrow their masters in the bloody conflict of the Usurpation, and imprisoned the Exaltations of the Solars, so that they could never again bless mortals with their power. The Dragon-Blooded reigned over Creation, but could not defend it from the infinite hordes of raksha (soul-eating faeries from beyond Creation), and the plots of the Deathlords (the ghosts of dead Solars in service of the Neverborn). Half of Creation was destroyed, swallowed up into chaos as the raksha invaded and the Great Contagion engineered by the Deathlords wiped out nearly all life.
The chaos ended when one Dragon-Blood activated an ancient superweapon of the Solar Exalted, saving Creation, then united it behind her. She would become the Scarlet Empress, founding a Realm which would span most of Creation. But now, the peace she claimed is falling apart. The Scarlet Empress has vanished. The raksha still creep across the borders of undefended Creation. And the Yozis and Neverborn have cooperated to free the imprisoned Solar Exaltations, stealing half of them to twist into their own dark champions. Harbingers of slaughter and entropy now stalk the land, while the champions of Hell work behind the scenes to free their masters. Into the midst of all this, the Solar Exalted have returned.
- Beyond the Impossible: The Primordials are so powerful, their immortality is inscribed into the very laws of the universe. The Exalted managed to kill them anyway.
- The Beautiful Elite: The vast majority of the Exalted ascribe to this. Inverted with some high-Essence Abyssal Exalted.
- Conservation of Ninjutsu:
- Mostly played straight. The Terrestrial Exalted, who are the most numerous of the Exalted and the only ones that can pass their Exaltation on to their children, are the weakest Exalted. They can easily kick mundane ass though. That said, due to how the Terrestrial abilities work, and their focus on teamwork, a group of Dragon Blooded can easily become exponentially more dangerous than they would be on their own. Some of their abilities can be applied to other team-mates (or, at higher levels, to entire units and armies), and some are specifically only useful for enhancing your companions.
- The Celestial Exalted on the other hand are a bit more tricky. There used to be 300 Solars, 300 Lunars, and 100 Sidereals. The Solars were the main raw powerhouse of the 3 though, with the Sidereals and Lunars being (slightly) weaker and about equal to each other. Though if it was just about Martial Art skill the Sidereal would win hands down with their Cosmic Kung-Fu easily besting all other Exalted Martial Arts.
- In the current setting, things have been getting even more confusing. At the top Power Levels sit the currently 150 Solar Exalted, and their derivatives; the 100 Abyssal Exalted and 50 Infernal Exaltednote . Then come the Sidereals and Lunars, and at the bottom sit the Terrestrials. So 150 Solars = 100 Abyssals = 50 Infernals > 300 Lunars = 100 Sidereals > a whole lot of Dragon-Bloods.
- The Alchemicals are counted as Celestial Exalted, but are entirely modular in their design. A given Alchemical Exalt can go from every bit as powerful as a Solar, to being only more powerful than a Dragon Blooded, all based on her loadout at the time. The primary mitigating factor in this is breadth vs depth. They're very powerful when their charms are set up to be focused on something, but can be quite weak when geared for general situations. They are also not fixed in number like Celestial Exalted, although still much rarer than Dragon-Bloods. The number given is around a thousand of them.
- Emissary from the Divine: To varying degrees- not many Exalted have actually communicated with the gods that empowered them, and they want to be worshipped themselves. But by and large, they are still the most concrete proof in Creation that those gods care about mortal suffering and want it to end.
- Fatal Flaw: All Exalted have one, with some variance:
- The Solars, Lunars, Dragon-Blooded and Sidereals all get various versions of the Great Curse, a psychological affliction thrown at them by the Primordials for besting them in war. The Solars and Lunars enter a brief psychotic period called a Limit Break (ranging from berserker rage to uncontrolled crying at the suffering of the world to becoming cold and uncaring about the suffering of others), while the Sidereals can't seem to make any of their big plans work right.
- The exception are Terrestrials — being fairly weaker than Celestials, they also got a fairly weaker Great Curse — it only really starts affecting their behavior when they run out of Willpower, and even then, it just seems like a Heroic BSoD — they snap out of it relatively quickly.
- The Abyssals get Resonance. If, for some reason, they decide they don't want to go along with their masters' goals of feeding all Creation into the mouth of Oblivion and resume something approaching a mortal life, their Resonance will build until it erupts and risks destroying any emotional connections they've managed to make with the world of the living.
- The Infernals get a similar variant, known as Torment. If they defy the will of their Yozi patrons for too long, then said patron will assume control and cause shit to go haywire. This can range from spreading a Hate Plague (Malfeas) to targeting the Infernal and any loved ones the Yozis disapprove of with a mini-sandstorm (Cecylene).
- The Alchemicals get Clarity, which is something of a mixed blessing. As they get more detached from humanity and closer to the machine, they become less emotional and more logical, and social interactions become progressively more difficult. However, high Clarity allows an Alchemical access to some powerful spells. Unlike the other Exalted's flaws, Clarity doesn't 'erupt', but Alchemicals can reduce it by bringing themselves closer to humanity.
- Even without supernatural curses or compulsions, each of the four Virtues has drawbacks if you have three or more dots (and exalts have to have at least one virtue of 3+) — compassionate characters have trouble making harsh decisions, temperate characters have trouble lying, cheating or going back on their word, no matter how dishonest the opponent, valorous characters don't know how to back down from confrontation, and as for conviction, well... and it's perfectly possible for a character to have 3+ in two or more Virtues. If they conflict, tough luck.
- Gender Bender: Can happen with previous incarnations. (Examples: Cearr, Thousand Faceted Nelumbo, Harmonious Jade.)
- Lightning Bruiser: Most people have to choose between being fast, strong or tough. The Exalted can be all of these things, and more.
- Long-Lived: To varying extents — lifespans range from well over a millennium for Celestial Exalts to a few centuries for Terrestrials, and some are outright immortal.
- Person of Mass Destruction: What they eventually become if they live long enough.
- Physical God: They're often better examples than the actual gods of the setting, particularly the Solars and their derivatives.
- Really Gets Around: Quite a few of them are this, but second edition had it as a side effect of the Terrestrial Exaltation, as the original 10,000 Dragon-Bloods were split between 100 men and 9,900 women, so they were granted immense libidos to allow the males to get many females pregnant quickly to provide enough Dragon-Blooded to serve the Unconquerned Sun. In the current age, the Dragon-Blooded still have massive libidos, which is why there so many Dragon-Blooded around.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Supernatural Powers!: It tends to be a problem for them.
- Semi-Divine: They're one part mortal, one part god/primordial/dead primordial, all parts badass.
- Solar and Lunar: The Solar and Lunar Exalted were bonded at their creation, mirroring the relationship between the UCS and Luna. This usually manifests as a Reincarnation Romance, but in other cases they simply remain very close friends. Or very close enemies.
- Squishy Wizard: Both the setting and system mostly avert it, as anyone can learn Sorcery under the right circumstances (i.e. having Essence 3), and there's nothing preventing a sorcerer from learning Resistance Charms or wearing the heaviest armors available.
- Supernatural Elite: Exalted rule. It's what they do, and no mere mortal can even challenge their right to do so. Even the mighty Solar Exalted can be worn down by superior numbers, however.
- Superpower Lottery: Exaltation is basically this in an epically empowered cosmic nutshell full of awesomesauce.
- Transhuman: They usually start out as Puny Earthlings, then they get enhanced to Physical God levels through their Exaltations. And then they surpass them.
They were originally made from the Unconquered Sun to take out the Primordials with help from their Lunar mates and generals, Sidereal spies, and Dragon-Blooded army. They did. After they killed or imprisoned all but 2 of them (who had joined their side), they ruled Creation under the Mandate of Heaven from the Incarnae in the First Age in peace and prosperity.
But there was a problem. The slain Primordials, called the Neverborn, had laid a Great Curse on them that would inevitably drive them insane. Fearing that they would destroy Creation, the Sidereals killed almost all the mad God-Kings with the aid of the numerous Dragon-Blooded who would be the new rulers of Creation. The Solar Exaltation shards were sealed inside the Jade Prison, with the few Solars that escaped and their reincarnations being killed by the Wyld hunt.
But this was not their end. Shortly after the Scarlet Empress's disappearance, the Yozi and the Neverborn cooperated to rip open the Jade Prison and corrupt the shards within to make their Infernals and Abyssals respectively. But they underestimated the Awesomeness of Solar Might and were only able to take half, 50 going to the Yozi, 100 to the Neverborn, and 150 making up the new Solars of the Second Age.
Now the Solars are back, ready to kick ass, take names, and possibly save (or destroy) Creation while doing so.
- The Ace: Solars primarily function this way, picking up many mundane human skills and taking them all Up to Eleven in hilariously awesome ways.
- Broken Ace: What the Great Curse does to them.
- Bavarian Fire Drill: Solars are EXTREMELY good at this, due to social Charms like Authority-Radiating Stance.
- The Dreaded: They're called Anathema for a reason. Taken Up to Eleven with the Dawn Castes, who can inspire terror in even emotionless creatures.
- Drunk with Power: It's implied that though the Great Curse catalyzed it, many Solars would have gone evil anyway.
- A God Am I: Definitely the major reason why the Solars got bumped off in the First Age. And thanks to the Great Curse, this attitude continues to be a significant problem.
- God-Emperor: Used to be these in the First Age. Whether they have any interest in reclaiming such a title depends on the individual Solar.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: Solar Hero Style/Solar Brawl Charms are a bit like this.
- Guile Hero: A very common archetype for Solars who don't go the route of pure direct-action brute force.
- High Priest: What many members of the Zenith caste become for the Unconquered Sun, essentially.
- Light Is Not Good: It varies between this and Light Is Good for individual Solars, but they almost invariably end up as the former due to the Great Curse.
- The Power of the Sun: But of course.
- Reincarnation Romance: As with everything about the Solars, they take it up to three hundred with the Lunars.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Even in the First Age, Solars tended to be Non-Idle Rich who quickly got bored of parking their glorious golden asses on a throne all day.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Solars were hit hardest by the Great Curse and will always inevitably go insane one way or another.
The Signature Circle (of Third Edition)
The iconic Dawn. A simple and violent man who constantly seeks challenges. No one will accuse him of having a heart of gold, but since he mostly cares to focus his violence on the proud and mighty, and doesn't like easy fights, he is liked among the downtrodden.
- Badass Boast:
- "A hundred of them? And here I thought I was outnumbered. Stand back, this won't take long."
- Also, from the adventure The Tomb of Dreams when discussing his Exaltation: "I had it handled; the Sun didnt need to get in my business."
- Boisterous Bruiser: "He's a brute and a tough and a pit fighter, and he knows his worth through violence. And he does love violence."
- Bully Hunter: His defining intimacy in The Tombs of Dreams is given as "I enjoy bringing down the self-superior."
- Chainmail Bikini: Not quite, but Volfer's armor covers only his forearms, hands, hips and one shoulder, leaving his whole torso unarmed. Implied to be a tactic to set others up to lethal counter attacks when they try to exploit this.
- Evil Weapon: Potentially, as Volfer's sword has been described as "insane, twisted by the blood of a great demon it once struck down".
- Refuge in Audacity: There's a splash panel art of him standing before a bunch of pissed-off Realm soldiers with a piece of paper bearing the Scarlet Empress's personal seal of approval placed over his junk.
The iconic Zenith, Perfect Soul was the Amirah of Jiara, a Realm Satrapy on the coast of the Inland Sea. When House Mnemon found first age artifacts under the capital, she fled her home to raise a rebellion in the countryside. She also cursed the Unconquered Sun for his silence to her prayers, and he answered by exalting her.
- Dancing Royalty: Jiara as a whole is obsessed with the art of the dance, and even before she Exalted, Perfect Soul was one of the best from there. Bonus points for actually being a queen.
- The Dog Bites Back: While she initially had resigned herself to being the powerless ruler of a vassal state, Mnemon found a large cache of First Age Artifacts beneath Jiara and turned from a passive occupier into a vicious raider. She is no longer on their side, and is in fact quite ashamed she ever was.
- I Did What I Had to Do: She's not above more amoral actions in her rebellion, hence why Prince Diamond has to remind her of moral considerations at times.
- Rebel Leader: She's currently in her homeland, the Amirate of Jiara (where she is a heir to the Khidara Dynasty), working to throw out Mnemon.
- Rightful King Returns: She's the proper heir of Jiara, and is understandably pissed that House Mnemon wants to kick her out of her own country.
- Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter: Perfect Soul was Exalted when she denounced the gods who she felt had abandoned her and destroyed a shrine to the Unconquered Sun. He was very impressed by her bravery, and empathizing with her feelings of abandonment and betrayal, sent her the Zenith Exaltation.
The iconic Twilight, Shen is an accomplished sorcerer.
- Consummate Liar: See Nerves of Steel. Perfect Soul, an experienced Zenith, was instantly fooled by a lie he made up on the spot (and it's not certain if he had Exalted yet).
- Deep Cover Agent: As with all members of the proper House Iselsi, Shen takes great effort to disguise his identity, even stealing an eagle Animal Companion to fake being a member of House Peleps. Also one for the Solars, as he is technically an Anathema who works for the All-Seeing Eye.
- Enemy Mine: With Novia. Not that he dislikes her personally, she's just smart enough to penetrate his schemes.
- Genius Bruiser: He's a master martial artist as well as an adept spy and sorcerer.
- Nerves of Steel: How'd he end up with Perfect Soul? When she was ransacking the satrap's palace where he worked, she barged into his office in the middle of some important paperwork, at which point he instantly and calmly spun a complete lie about being The Starscream to Mnemon Jerof.
- The Mole: He's a member of the Realm's Secret Police.
- Token Evil Teammate: He's not evil, but he is a loyal citizen of the Realm (who likely regard him as their Token Evil Teammate, given how he's a Solar Exalted). He also wants Mnemon out of Jiara for his own reasons.
The iconic Night Caste.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: She has fiery scarlet hair, a common trait in her Southern homeland.
The iconic Eclipse Caste for Third Edition, Prince Diamond, while biologically female, is a Dereth and is willing to resort to violence if you keep on calling him "she". A Delzhan far rider, Diamond has befriended the Zenith Perfect Soul, and believes that her personal war against Mnemon may be the final stop on his endless ride.
- The Atoner: Played with, in that it's not his own actions he's a atoning for; Prince Diamond took on the role of Far-Rider when his youngest brother was sentenced to death for killing another in self-defense; he's taken exile to suspend the boy's execution indefinitely, although it also means he will almost certainly never be able to return home.
- Bifauxnen: While he actively doesn't try to pass—he doesn't bind his breasts, for instance—he's done an altogether thorough job of representing his preferred gender.
- Cool Horse: His Animal Companion.
- Cultured Badass: He's an Eclipse swordsman, comes with the job.
- Open-Minded Parent: Dereth — effectively transexuals — such as Diamond are generally accepted and embraced in Delzhan society, and Diamond's parents were no exception; the largest family trouble he caused when declaring his status was mildly annoying his father, who had brought gifts worthy of a fine noblewoman's coming of age.
- Morality Chain: He's the most morally spotless of his Circle, and frequently finds himself playing conscience to the rest.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Delzhan are like this in general, and why he reaches for his sword if you keep up the whole "female" thing; their culture is very gender essentialist, and by calling him a woman, you're implying he isn't a real warrior.
- Transgender: Prince Diamond is a Dereth, which means that when coming of age, he chose to not be of his biological gender. Those who declare themselves Dereth do so for a lot of reasons, such as sexuality or vocational interest, but Word of God has confirmed that Prince Diamond is someone "who we here on Earth in the present would call an FtM transsexual man, mistakenly assigned the female gender at birth".
The Previous Signature Circle (of First and Second Edition)
The Night Caste who was at one time face of the game (her picture was by far the largest on the First Edition Core rulebook). Raised from child to be an assassin for a demon cult in the South, her Exaltation led the cult leader to turn on her, driving her away from her home. Now, she belongs to the main circle of Solars.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: She was trained from birth to be a political assassin. As a result, she doesn't really get why killing people for practical reasons is bad.
- Dating Catwoman: In a past life, she and Disciple of Seven Forbidden Wisdoms' predecessor were lovers; they seem to be getting it back on in the present, at least in the art and the chapter-opening comic storyline.
- Glass Cannon: Jade excels at Archery, and as a Solar rocks with it, but lacks any Resistance charms.
- The Lancer: Aside from being something of a loner in a Five-Man Band where they all have their own adventures, Jade tends to be the most "practical" member of her Circle.
- Raised by Orcs: Cultists working with the Second Circle Demon Sondok, to be exact.
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Jade plays a role in this, according to the Infernal sourcebook's section on the Spider Prophet. According to a prophecy, his death would be due to a Solar Exalt; when one pops up in his midst, he orders her killed, only to have her survive (being a Night Caste lets you do that). As a result, even if he never meets her again, the damage to his reputation could end up killing him.
The Eclipse Caste. A skilled diplomat, Swan is also a skilled martial artist and generally seems to be a nice guy - so long as you don't piss him off. Whether this has anything to do with his past life is up for debate.
- Ambadassador: As an Eclipse Caste, he is this.
- Dogged Nice Guy: He's quite infatuated with Arianna, who is pretty much the biggest Tsundere ever. He keeps trying though.
- Love Triangle: Swan's infatuated with Arianna. Arianna is Tsundere for him. Lilith, his bonded mate, both loves and hates him. He would like Lilith to not project her feelings for Desus onto him.
- Nice Guy: He's one of the most pleasant and polite of the iconic Solars, and one of the few in the setting who didn't immediately begin using his newfound powers to fix all the problems in his life or advance his position.
- Redeeming Replacement: His Exaltation used to belong to Desus, a bastard of a man in the First Age and a one-man reason for the Usurpation. However, Swan tends to be the nicest guy in the stories, unless innocents or his allies are in danger.
- Reincarnation Romance: He was in another love triangle with the same people in the First Age. That one was even messier, since he hurt both of them and made them love him for it.
- Sins of Our Fathers: Both Lilith and Oliphem would like to make him suffer for what Desus did to them in the First Age.
The Dawn Caste. Dace is a mercenary captain from Nexus who Exalted after being nearly killed in a battle gone bad for his company. He left with a small amount of the company he belonged to, and started up his own mercenary group, the Bronze Tigers.
- Bald of Awesome: Has a forehead that would put Picard to shame. In fact, many fans consider Patrick Stewart to be an ideal actor for the part.
- Cool Old Guy: He's the oldest of the iconic Solar characters, but is also the most dangerous in terms of physical combat. Also, the comics present him as a fairly affable fellow who's usually willing to help right wrongs.
- Cool Sword: An orichalcum blade named Dawnlight that belonged to his previous incarnation.
- Defeat Means Friendship: His second-in-command is a Dragon-Blooded who came to kill him with a poorly equipped Wyld Hunt. Instead of killing her, he challenged her to a duel, and convinced her to join his company when he defeated her.
- Mistaken Identity: At first Lilith thought he was the reincarnation of her husband. Fortunately for Dace, he is not.
The Zenith Caste, a former gladiator given purpose by the Unconquered Sun. In his life before the Exaltation, he was killing for fun and profit. Despite all the money, women, drugs and fame he realized he had no purpose. Then the Sun spoke to him and told him to make the world righteous. Ever since then, he travels the land righting wrongs and giving purpose to people without one.
- Angry Black Man: His limit break is Red Rage of Compassion, you do the math.
- The Atoner: Panther is driven by the sins he committed prior to his exaltation. He also seeks to prevent others from making the mistakes he did.
- Badass Preacher: You don't want to get in a fight with him. He's not yet at the point when he can start swaying the masses, but give him time...
- The Big Guy: He uses a martial art that lets him shatter buildings with his fists.
- Blood Knight: Previous to his exaltation.
- Contractonthe Hitman: Is targeted by people because of his previous deeds.
- Scary Black Man: when he gets mad, people start crapping their pants.
- Slave Liberation: It's not his driving goal, but that doesn't stop him doing it if he has to.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: With a massive tattoo of the sun on his chest.
The Twilight Caste. She was basically a librarian in the North, unable to study the lore she kept for the male savants who thought she wasn't worthy of their secrets. When she Exalted, she instantly outstripped them all — only to barely escape the Wyld Hunt. After barely escaping (with some help from Swan), she's dedicated herself to recovering the lost wonders of the First Age... and restore the Solar Exalted to their rightful place as rulers of the universe.
- Badass Bookworm: Comes with being a sorceress in Creation.
- Badass in Distress: She probably wouldn't have evaded the Wyld Hunt without Swan's help. In her spare time, she hunts down copies of the setting's version of the Necronomicon.
- Butt-Monkey: A lot of writers dislike her, and it shows. That, and her Limit Break is Deliberate Cruelty...
- Defiant to the End: When the Prince of Shadows threatens her with torture if she doesn't behave herself, her response is as follows: "Make me, pretty boy."
- Generation Xerox: or Incarnation Xerox, at least. Of the iconic Solar circle, she is the most like her First Age incarnation (Bright Shattered Ice). This is not a good thing: both characters are Creation-class bitches, take morally-questionable steps in order to get what they want, and exhibit little in the way of empathy for the people around them. Mind you, she is nicer than Ice was, but seeing how Ice was a straight-up Evil Overlord, that's not saying much.
- Reincarnation Romance: This was a problem between their First Age incarnations too. Bright Shattered Ice loved Desus, and he screwed her on occasion before going back to Lilith, driving Bright Shattered Ice into her Deliberate Cruelty Limit Break...
- She Cleans Up Nicely: As the comic at the back of Manual of Exalted Power - Abyssals shows.
- The Smart Guy: Contractually required by her Caste.
- Tsundere: Tsuntsun variety. See Swan, above. She doesn't trust him, given her past, but she's attracted to him.
Other Second Age Solars
Yurgen Kaneko, the Bull of the NorthOne of the few Solars who Exalted before the breaking of the Jade Prison, Yurgen is not the iconic Dawn Caste, though many people often mistake him for it. An old icewalker warrior who passed the point where he could fight — i.e., enough to see his grandchildren grow up — he took up the tradition of meeting his death on the ice, as is traditional for his culture. While out there, he was attacked by an ice elemental in the form of his dead wife. However, he Exalted at that very moment, melting the elemental in the process. After wandering about feeling rather confused that he no longer felt old, he realized he was chosen for greatness and found his way to a different tribe. There, he became The Strategist, eventually hoping to unite the icewalkers.
Of course, one doesn't do this without attracting the Wyld Hunt, and ten years before the game began, a cadre of them were sent after him.
Now, the Bull of the North — as most people know him — is becoming a legitimate threat to the Realm, particularly given how the Scarlet Empress has vanished. What's more, he's realized that a pure army only gets one so far, and he's beginning to organize it into an actual empire. True, he's still learning the ropes of statesmanship — it's why he hasn't conquered more than he has — but he's picking up the skills quickly, and it's only a matter of time before he starts to make inroads...—-
- Barbarian Hero: He is one, and he leads them.
- Berserk Button: Killing civilians to get to him, as a Sidereal discovered the hard — and fatal — way.
- Brutish Bulls: One of the most feared barbarian warlords in the setting, an Exalted chieftain who has led his horde on a long path of conquest through the North and crushed every city, nation and army in his way, he is known to most as the Bull of the North.
- Cool Old Guy: He didn't exalt until he was old enough to be a grandparent and now he's kicking ass and forging an empire.
- Cool Sword: Sun's Fire, which is made of red jade and handy as a firestarter. It's unusual because jade's normally used by Dragonblooded, like the one he killed to get it, rather than Solars.
- Evil Old Folks: To the Realm, and people he's conquered.
- Expy: Yurgen is very much like Genghis Khan, just getting his start a little late in life.
- Genius Bruiser: He's a Dawn Caste, and all that implies. He's also a very competent tactician.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: His culture is based on the Mongols, what did you expect? That said, he's quickly turning the icewalkers under his reign into even better examples, to the point where he's begun to worry if they're too militaristic.
Once an orphaned trainee shaman from the Blackwater Mammoth tribe of icewalkers, Samea's fierce love for her people attracted a Zenith Caste Exaltation when she was only 17. She spent a year Walking the Earth and seeking out all the ancient lore she could find, eventually becoming one of the first Solar Circle sorcerers of the Second Age. After returning to the North, she swiftly realized that the Bull's ambitions for the icewalkers matched her own, and became the first Solar to ally with him. She now rivals Yurgen himself as the most dangerous foe in the Bull's circle.
- Brainwashing for the Greater Good: She truly loves all her followers and sees them as family, and she doesn't deploy her Mind Manipulation powers casually, but she has no scruples about using them when she feels circumstances warrant.
- Lady of Black Magic: Her supernatural charisma can make her seem mature, elegant and wise, but at other times she seems like the teenaged girl she was when she Exalted.
JalithA Haltan commando who managed to annoy her superiors enough that she's pretty sure they were sending her off on suicide missions. If so, the fact that she Exalted as a Dawn Caste on one of them means that plan backfired about as badly as humanly possible. After finding some armor and a book of sorcery from her last life, she left the forest to seek her fortune in Nexus.
- The Beastmaster: She has a pet leopard named Achal, a pet mospid (predatory dinosaur a little shorter than her) named Meros who became her Familiar when she Exalted, and can cast the spell Commanding the Beasts.
- Berserk Button: Cruelty to animals.
- Fantastic Racism: Has the typical Haltan loathing towards Linowans. She's perfectly willing to accept that some Dynasts or emotion-eating Fair Folk are decent types, but Linowans? Exterminate the brutes!
- Genius Bruiser: She may be a Dawn Caste, but she's also a sorcerer with a high intelligence score.
- Glory Hound: A driving motivation since she was a mortal commando. Not necessarily negative, since now that she's a Solar it's become a desire to prove that she, and by extension Solars in general, aren't the vile Anathema the Immaculate Faith claims.
- Military Maverick: Her high-risk, high-reward attitude on her missions ended up getting her team killed. That was the point when she started getting sent strictly on solo missions that may have been intended to kill her.
- Not Good with People: She prefers to work alone except for Achal and Meros, both before and after Exalting.
- Weapon of Choice: Four boomerangs, three knives, and a sword.
Born to a Dynast family on the Blessed Isle, Lyta disappointingly failed to Exalt as a Terrestrial and was shipped off to the Cloister of Wisdom to train as a mortal Immaculate monk. She had run afoul of a Dragon-Blooded student when the Second Breath came on her. Exaltation as a Solar unleashed all her long-repressed rage over how mortals (more specifically, a single mortal, i.e. Lyta herself) are treated in the Realm, and she is now fanatically devoted to the destruction of the Realm and all it stands for. A Dawn Caste martial artist and warlord, she is currently building up her forces on an island in the West.
...which would be all well and good, except Lyta is everything the Immaculate Order says is true about Dawn Castes. Or more specifically, she's a bloodthirsty, arrogant, and ruthless megalomaniac with a psychotic streak a mile wide. Ultimately the only thing she might do is prove exactly why the return of the Solars is a bad thing.
- Foil: She's a lot like Peleps Deled, except for the part where they're both utterly devoted to the complete destruction of everything the other stands for.
- The Fundamentalist: One of the many traits she shares with Deled, except that her devotion manifests in praise of (and sacrifice of Dragon-Blooded to) the Unconquered Sun. She even claims that those who die in the service of the Unconquered Sun will be reborn as Dragon-Blooded in the new, glorious era. Making comparisons in her hearing to the Immaculate Faith's claims that virtue in mortals is rewarded with reincarnation as Dragon-Blooded would probably be unwise.
- He Who Fights Monsters: Having rejected the Immaculate lies that say the Terrestrials are the rightful rulers of Creation and Solars are inherently evil and must be killed, she's decided Solars are the rightful rulers of Creation and the Terrestrials are inherently evil and must be killed.
- Ironic Echo: Lyta embodies every horrible stereotype of Dawn Caste Solars that the Immaculate Philosophy perpetuates.
- Knight Templar: Her basic thought process runs along the lines that, since she's a Solar, she's a Hero. Thus, anything she does is Right.
- Meet the New Boss: If she succeeded in taking over the Realm, her new order would probably end up pretty similar to the old one, only with the positions of Solars and Terrestrials reversed.
- Moral Myopia: In her justifiable anger over how she was treated by the Dragon-Blooded, she's oblivious to the fact that she was always kind of a jerkass herself and spent much of her childhood tormenting the household slaves for fun.
- Self-Made Orphan: She's working on it.
- Solar-Powered Magnifying Glass: Castebook: Dawn has her fantasizing about using one of these to kill captured Dragon-Blooded.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Is Realm society profoundly unjust? Definitely. Do the corrupt oppressors in the Scarlet Dynasty deserve a reckoning? Sure. Does that mean committing genocide against the Dragon-Blooded so you can offer it up to the Unconquered Sun as a mass Human Sacrifice is a justifiable Goal in Life? Hell no, you utter lunatic.
Havesh the Vanisher
One-man proof that Solar Exaltation doesn't mean you won't waste your power on petty and irresponsible goals.
Before learning about Havesh, one should understand where he grew up—the Varang city-states are based on Dragon King astrological principles, right down to their caste system. The children of the province have a horoscope cast that determines what they will have most aptitude at as well as an idea of their general destiny.
The problem is that on occasion, the horoscopes will glitch or someone will forget the time a baby was born, resulting in an outcaste, who is literally not a legal citizen of Varang — such as Havesh, whose mother was drunk when the priests came to horoscope him. For all her faults, she tried to raise him the best she could, but that didn't stop Varang's social system from teaching him he was scum in their eyes, nobody worth mentioning at all except as a random beggar. He pulled himself out of the gutter though, becoming an expert thief, to the point where someone offered him a high-paying assassination contract. Unfortunately, he screwed it up, but he refused to back down until the job was done, drawing a Night Exaltation. After handily finishing the job, a thought struck him — if he couldn't be a rich and happy man himself, why not steal the life of someone who was?
Now a deadly assassin who has killed twelve men so far and lived their lives until he needed to split, Havesh has earned the title of "the Vanisher" due to his tendency to pack up and leave when those close to his current life begin to catch onto the ruse. And all of Varang will know his vengeance...
- Dead Person Impersonation: His modus operandi — he disguises himself as one of his victims and lives his life for a time, up until people get suspicious and he has to bail.
- Freudian Excuse: Varang is not a nice place to live if you don't have a caste.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Began as a random outcaste street rat. Became Paranoia Fuel for the entire Varang region. And if he starts getting ambitious... well, who knows?
- Genius Bruiser: While he can't keep the act going very long, he's still a master actor in his current stolen life, and he's an expert planner. He is also huge.
- Serial Killer: Again — he killed twelve men to steal their lives.
The city of Sijan is known for its funerals, and rightly so. What more can be said of a place that boats its own Mortician's Order? Jiunan was one of their number, and quite content with his lot in life — until one day. To summarize, he fell in love with a young woman who'd been euthanized and reanimated by the city's mortwrights prior to being sent off to the deathlord Walker in Darkness as part of his harem. When she said she'd rather not go with the scary men, Jiunan jumped the nemisarries sent to collect her, kicked their Abyssal boss in the teeth, took his axe, tackled him off a bridge, and woke up on a riverbank miles downstream the next day.
He's still looking for that woman.
- An Axe to Grind: Wields a soulsteel grimcleaver.
- I Love the Dead: Currently in search of a woman who was, for lack of a better word, zombified. She's apparently a very lovely zombie, but still.
Faka Kun was pretty lucky as Djala go — sure, she was a slave, but her owner found it most profitable to force her to perform as a circus acrobat and cat burglar, rather than using her as a Sex Slave or laborer. He even let her save up some of her profits toward eventually buying her freedom, which drove her to ever-more-daring heists. When she tripped an alarm while trying to steal an artifact weapon from an imperial satrap's mansion, her sheer stubborn refusal to give up earned her Exaltation as a Night Caste.
When she made it back to the slave quarters and told her friends the news, they were less than overjoyed: sure, she was Exalted, but that just meant she'd go off and leave them while they remained slaves, right? At that moment, Faka Kun's Goal in Life became clear. Instead of turning in the loot and buying her freedom, she left the circus that night with her friends, the artifact, and the circus' cash box. She brought her friends to a free Djala enclave, and since then she's returned periodically, always with a group of Djala ex-slaves in tow. When she's not busy freeing slaves, she splits her time between running her own all-Djala circus and adventuring with Demetheus' circle.
- Born into Slavery: On the basis of being a Djala. Which is weird, since they all have Awakened Essence, and should by all rights be the rulers of Varang by way of Asskicking Equals Authority.
- Magic Skirt: In the Udon comic, her rather skimpy clothes remain glued to her body, no matter what crazy acrobatics she does.
- Slave Liberation: Her Goal in Life is to free the Djala and help her people build their own nation.
- Waif-Fu: Even un-Exalted Djala are deceptively small and slender.
Two-fisted wanderer of the south, who grew up moving crates around before moving on to boxing. Prior to the UDON Comic, he was a solo do-gooder solving problems in his region of Creation. During the run of said comic, however, he formed a circle with several characters mentioned offhand in his background, only to end up accidentally killing one of his new companions due to a Dragon-Blooded trick.
- Big Brother Instinct: Finely honed during his time in a child gang, and the reason why he was so broken after the final events of the UDON Comic.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Before the unfortunate incident with Kidale, he was a brawler who wandered Creation, willing to lend a helping hand to the common folk. He's still like that... when he's sober.
- The Drifter: In competition with the Nameless Solar (q.v.) in the setting's "Who's more like a Clint Eastwood character" contest.
- Drowning My Sorrows: To the point that the Goddess of Intoxicants decided to sober him up.
- Retcon: In a bizarre twist of out of character mechanics, errata to various Dragon-Blooded Charms cut down Safety Among Enemies, the Charm used to make him punch Kidale, down to the point where it's either unbelievable that Kidale bit it in this fashion, or speaks volumes about the caliber of the opponent.
- Satisfied Street Rat: Has fond memories of his days as muscle for a gang of child thieves.
- Smarter Than You Look: Despite being a simple bruiser to all appearances, he's got above-average intelligence. Castebook: Dawn relates a story of him identifying a thief by looking into the people who were blaming the group pariah the most.
- Walk the Earth: And, in the comics, some places that aren't Creation at all.
JasaraDaughter of a Guildsman and his mistress. Curious beyond curiosity, when she explored the ruins of her native Chiaroscuro, she managed to find a Manse instead of the typical result (horrible death at the hands of a hungry ghost). Was part of Demetheus's circle in the UDON comic.
- Canon Immigrant: Was first mentioned off-hand as a rather boyish example of another Solar whom Demetheus met in his wanderings, all the way back in Castebook: Dawn.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: By "boyish" we mean she was considering becoming a Dereth (someone who's treated as an honorary member of the opposite sex in Chiaroscuro's culture) at certain points in her life. When Demetheus met her, she was dressed as a he.
A mortal Immaculate monk whose ambition was once to gain enough enlightenment in his life to earn reincarnation as a Dragon-Blooded in his next life. Instead, he ended up facing down one of the many Eldritch Abominations seeping from under Gethamane when it threatened one of his True Companions, earning himself a talk from the Unconquered Sun. Later went on to join the Gold Faction-sponsored Cult of the Illuminated.
- Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: "Never again, shikari." Spoken to Peleps Deled in a chapter comic from Scroll of Exalts, as Deled was in the process of brutalizing and killing an Immaculate who didn't share his "correct interpretation" of scripture.
The young protagonist of the UDON comic. Kidale grew up on an olive farm, but left for Chiaroscuro to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. Like so many others before him, he quickly ended up a homeless beggar trying to scrape together enough money to make it back home, and would have died a nameless victim of police brutality if he hadn't Exalted as a Solar and been rescued by Demetheus, who then introduced him to Wind, Jasara, and Faka Kun. An Eclipse Caste, he rounded out their perfect circle.
- Sacrificial Lion: A textbook example of why starting-level Solars shouldn't underestimate the Dragon-Blooded.
?, a.k.a. The Righteous Devil
For generations throughout the South, they have told tales of a man; a righteous, merciless hero who traveled the land dispensing justice and righting wrongs before leaving on his way to parts unknown.
It was a bit of a surprise when he began showing up.
Modern South-dwellers are split as to whether this new red-headed bloke with the sun on his forehead is the same as the one they've been talking about for ages, but he hasn't bothered to comment on it—or, for that matter, tell anyone his name.
- The Drifter: As befits his basis, he wanders the South writing wrongs.
- Expy: For the Man With No Name, naturally.
- Folk Hero: In-universe example, as there are hundreds of stories about him.
- The Gunslinger: Favors a pair of plasma tongue repeaters as part of his "Righteous Devil" martial arts style. Those who recognize said style have started calling him by that for lack of anything better.
- No Name Given: His name is never revealed in any of the splatbooks, leaving him open for Storyteller interpretation.
- Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: He appears in one of the core book's chapter-break comics, confronting a group of Autochthonian invaders in a dark tunnel. They immediately try to shoot him. "Farewell, diplomacy."
- More often, "All I have to say to you...is farewell."
- The Rival: With Excessively Righteous Blossom, the iconic Moonsilver Alchemical.
- Shrouded in Myth: What is his name? Where is he from? Where is he going? Why does his stat block list his Motivation as a question mark?
- There are hints scattered about the books. A chapter comic shows Sulumor finding him in stasis; he may well be THE Righteous Devil, the founder of the Style and one of the few First Age Solars who cottoned onto his fellows' growing madness.
Karal Fire Orchid
Former kazei in the Seventh Legion of Lookshy and member of the Karal Gens. Fair Folk chose her villa's location as a place to invade, and then were rudely reminded of the reemergence of the Solars when she emerged from her burning house after they left her for dead. Her mother, a taimyo in the Seventh Legion, faces scandal due to her daughter Fire Orchid being one of the Blasphemous, but hopes to clear her name in secret. Assuming she finds it necessary to clear it, rather than avenge it.
- Retired Badass: She had retired prior to her Exaltation. Due to having Dragon-Blooded relatives, she looks older than her mother and two brothers by a few decades.
An actor beyond compare, Mirror Flag sees the world in terms of the drama she loves. Unfortunately, Creation does not work on the Theory of Narrative Causality... so, like a true Solar, she's decided to fix that. A Master of Disguise, she takes on a new identity wherever she goes. Using powerful social charms, she manipulates people and events, weaving them into a satisfying and properly dramatic narrative in which virtue triumphs and the wicked are punished.
So far, so good. Where it gets disturbing, though, is that Mirror Flag has rewritten her own identity and Backstory so well and so often that even she isn't sure who she really is anymore. And given her questionable sanity, it's not at all clear how many of the "villains" she casts down are genuinely guilty and how many just seemed like the kind of person she thinks should be holding the Villain Ball. Ultimately, Mirror Flag is a prime example of why the Immaculate Faith isn't entirely wrong when it refers to Eclipse Caste Solars as Deceivers. Oh, it's not that she's a bad person, exactly... or, more precisely, it's that you really can't tell. And neither can she.
- Cool Mask: Crafted for her personally by the goddess of faces.
- Guile Hero: She's an Eclipse.
- Master of Disguise: Actor, too.
- Multiple-Choice Past: The woman has no friggin clue who she is and couldn't care less.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: One of the stories she tells about herself would, if accurate, make her the muse who dumped the future Falling Tears Poet on his deathbed and thereby turned him evil. (Castebook: Eclipse basically confirms this in a segment where Falling Tears Poet recognizes her as his former lover.)
- Unreliable Narrator: Even to herself.
Admiral SandA retired merchant prince who built a confederation based on the principles of fair trade and mutual economic benefit, called 'admiral' due to his fleet of merchant sandships. One day, Sand noticed that, somehow, there was widespread poverty and misery in his own neighborhood, and realized that his virtuous friends from the good old days had left heirs that were utterly selfish, ruining entire societies for their own enrichment. Confronting them, he flew into a rage as they confirmed his fears, laughed at him and scorned his ideals. He drew his sword and massacred them and their guards easily, for in that moment he Exalted. The survivors surrendered their empire to him, and he set about fixing the world.
- Good Counterpart: To the Guild.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: They can't wrap their heads around why he does what he does.
- Mind Screw: Does this to Fair-Spoken Rishi in a chapter break comic. He's not paying ransom, he's giving gifts to his new friends, who are releasing men they captured as a token of that friendship. Due to his Clarity, Rishi can't tell the difference.
Filial Wisdom, a.k.a. The Goblin King
Deep in the South, in the shadow of a cliff, there is a village too small to have a name, and too poor to attract robbers. One day, at the peak of a terrible drought, the village smith, Sayn, stepped out of his smithy. He was alight with golden fire as he wandered over to the cliff and swung his hammer with all his might. A sparkling stream of clear water sprang forth, saving the village. Sayn has taken this instance to heart, and views his power as a tool to repair that which is broken; first, by teaching people to live morally and uprightly.
Oh, and he has Compassion 1...
- Ambiguous Disorder: He genuinely wants to help people, but doesn't empathize well at all. It's uncertain just what his deal is.
- Lack of Empathy: Compassion 1 is normally an indication that someone is The Sociopath, but he has a good motivation and wants to help make the world a better place. Apparently he's just really bad at empathizing with people.
- The Blacksmith: Sayn's day job. Give him some time and he will probably upgrade.
The Dawn Caste protagonist of the Third Edition comic, Tale of the Visiting Flare.
- BFS: Par for the course in Exalted, really. It's unclear from the comic whether this is a daiklave or just an ordinary sword. Curiously, the end half of the blade has an orange-ish tinge to it, like rust, but it could just as easily be a red-jade alloy or such.
- Killer Yoyo: Not strictly, but he does idly play with a yin-yang emblazoned yo-yo for much of the comic and puts it to good use against an assailant. Apparently yo-yos are considered toys in Creation, judging by said assailant's reaction to it.
- Third-Person Person: He always refers to himself as "this one" or the like, similar to the Hannar in Mass Effect. Unlike the Hannar, it is not a case of being polite - the way he speaks seems quite casual and normal, suggesting that his culture just doesn't use personal pronouns. He does refer to himself in the first person at one point, but it's while some of Eternal Nova's personality is bleeding through from his Exaltation as he is fighting.
First Age Solars
Solar Queen Merela
That's "Her Most Luminous Excellency and Savior of Creation, Her Exalted Highness Queen M-R-L-, Queen of Creation, Bearer of the Crown of Thunders and Possessor of the Creation-Ruling Mandate" to you.
A native of the Southeast, Merela was a mere gladiator until she received one of the very first Solar Exaltations. Her exploits in the Primordial War managed to impress even the Unconquered Sun, who gave her the Creation-Ruling Mandate, designating her as the greatest of the Solars and The High Queen of all Creation.
Unfortunately for her, Merela quickly discovered that ruling Exalts is like herding cats. Within a century, several Solars rebelled against her rule and formed a legislative council called the Solar Deliberative, reducing her to a mere figurehead. Although stripped of most political power, she officially maintained the position of Queen of Creation until the Usurpation, when she was killed at the Calibration banquet.
- All There in the Manual: Averted. While Dreams of the First Age gives some (very) basic information about her background and exploits, the reader is told little about her personality or motivations (and, interestingly for such an important figure in the First Age, the supplement features no official stats for her).
- Asskicking Equals Authority: She's a Dawn Caste warrior, while Zeniths are the ones designed to be leaders. Nevertheless, she was granted the Creation-Ruling Mandate on the strength of her reputation as a war hero. While she was a horrifyingly effective warrior, by most accounts she wasn't really a particularly talented or effective leader and was rapidly forced out of power and reduced to a mostly-ceremonial role as a result.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: As drawn by Mel Uran.
- Badass in Charge: Although she wasn't in charge for long, she was still a war hero turned queen.
- Beyond the Impossible: Merela once strangled a Primordial to death with her bare hands. Primordials don't need to breathe.
- Cool Crown: The Crown of Thunders.
- The Scottish Trope: During the First Age, her name is written M-R-L-. This is never explained, but Word of God says it's probably a gesture of respect; the Solar Queen's name is simply too holy to be used by anyone except perhaps her fellow Primordial War veterans.
Once, Brigid was known as "the Ungifted" and "the Burden of the Sun," for she had the dubious distinction of being the most incompetent Solar Exalt known to the First Age. Although she was a pretty skilled crafter, she proved incapable of learning any but the most basic Charms and was useless in combat. When her Lunar mate was killed in the Primordial War, Brigid was consumed with guilt, certain she could have saved him had she been strong enough to stand beside him on the battlefield. She fled into the wilderness in her grief — where she was surprised to meet a beautiful spirit who bowed to her and told her a great destiny lay before her.
Brigid journeyed to the four corners of the world, solving riddles, meeting strange beings, and collecting artifacts, all in accordance with the spirit's prophecy. At the end of her quest, atop the Imperial Mountain, the Unconquered Sun himself appeared and told her that the last step before her was to make a sacrifice. Brigid sacrificed her own regrets and insecurities, emerging as the Mother of Sorcery and Root of All Spells.
...Okay, it's totally possible none of that is true. But that's the story Solars tell, anyway.
- The Archmage: She was the Mother of Sorcery and its first user among humanity.
- The Chosen One: She was chosen by a mysterious spirit to reveal sorcery to the world.
- Deal with the Devil: A few details in the story hint that the "lovely spirit" was in fact the demon Mara. As with many tropes in Exalted, this one isn't played straight — the Unconquered Sun was aware of this, and decided Sorcery's benefits outweighed its faults.
- Reality Warper: As a function of knowing Sorcery.
- Shrouded in Myth: There are several alternate tales about the origin of sorcery. While several locations and objects from the myth have been found and Brigid herself was undeniably a real person (the dates of her Exaltation, discovery of Sorcery, and death are all listed in the timeline in Dreams of the First Age), it is uncertain whether things really played out as the myth says they did.
- Took a Level in Badass: She went from the most singularity unskilled of the Exalted to the first and greatest sorcerer.
- Unlikely Hero: An incompetent klutz with no martial skills or honors isn't the first person you'd expect to bring about world-shaking revelations.
The first Solar Exalt to die of old age, which ended the god-kings' fantasy that they were immortal. This eventually led to internecine warfare between the Exalted.
Rose Petal Tea
Dace's First Age incarnation, who is himself the newest incarnation of Aofe "the Golden Blade," the Solars' greatest commander during the Primordial War. (Other incarnations of Aofe used her title as well, since they seem to die a lot.) Contentious Sword is young for an Exalt, and is constantly frustrated by his circlemates' lack of respect and by always finding himself compared to previous Blades.
- Achilles in His Tent: This is his Limit Break. It's implied to be part of the reason he can't get over his inferiority complex, since it serves to constantly reinforce it, and the aforementioned complex makes him prone to such behavior on a smaller scale anyway.
- Big Brother Instinct: Inverted — he's on the receiving end of his circle's concern/indulgence, and hates it.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: He's a First Age Solar, with all the power and resources that denotes, but the legend of his Exaltation's first incarnation and his circle's own prodigious accomplishments are hard to live up to.
- Reincarnation Romance: Aofe had a relationship with a Fair Folk named Dreaming Steel, and several of her subsequent incarnations have shown some level of interest in him. Contentious Sword went looking for Aofe's ghost in the Underworld to ask about him, among other things, and the Golden Blade before Contentious Sword died in the Wyld looking for evidence that Fair Folk reincarnate (Steel died a ways back, y'see).
- Sword and Gun: Well, technically "Daiklave and Magitech Hand Cannon that shoots miniature suns." This is Exalted; the dial starts at Eleven.
The previous incarnation of Panther; along with his Second Age Circlemates' previous incarnations, the Hierophant utilized incredibly powerful social charms to basically dominate the Deliberative. With the exception of Contentious Sword, the entire circle survived several major conflicts, all the way back to the Primordial War; none of them survived the Usurpation.
- Dirty Coward: Locked himself away from the world in order to avoid his Heart of Tears limit break... and in the process, nixing any good he could do because of his ability to be in denial about how much suffering the First Age was in.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
- In Compass: Yu-Shan, it's strongly implied that something the Hierophant did, and specifically a mortal he brought to the Carnival of Meeting, was the straw that broke the camel's back with the Unconquered Sun; this incident is cited as the final act that led to the Sun withdrawing into the Games of Divinity and not paying any attention to his Chosen.
- Castebook Zenith (1st Edition) states that the exact moment the Unconquered Sun turned his face away from Creation was when the then-leader of the Deliberative made a speech falsely claiming that the Sun backed one of his petty political corruption games, taking the name of his god in vain just to score more bribe money. "We have spoken with the Unconquered Sun, and he agrees." The opening chapter art of chapter 2 of Dreams of the First Age: Lands of Creation depicts that moment; it was the Hierophant, speaking about the Independent Celestial Exalt Subsidy Plan.
Bright Shattered Ice
The previous incarnation of Arianna and one of the first Solars. Her name comes from a Primordial she killed during the war. Already quite brilliant, even by Exalt standards, over time she grew obsessed with acquiring ever greater knowledge by means fair and foul. Had a long-standing interest in Desus, who was happy to reciprocate, er, physically, but not enough to leave Lilith.
- Big Brother Is Watching: Regularly spied on other researchers (or asked Gold-Shadowed Arrow to burglarize them), and her city of Tzatli was described as "one of the loveliest, most well-regulated dominions in Creation."
- Did You Think I Can't Feel?: Her Lunar husband left her after she kept using him as fall-back guy for her repeated trysts with Desus.
- Egopolis: We repeat: giant floating city shaped like her anima banner. It's also explicitly stated that she saw it more as her personal playground than as a city-state she was responsible for.
- Floating Continent: Her personal domain, Tzatli, was a floating city of glass and sapphire. Shaped like her anima banner, even.
- Even more so than her modern incarnation, if that's possible.
- She's also a greedy little thief — most of her "innovations" are cribbed from her apprentices to keep up appearances.
- The Smart Guy: In addition to chairing three-fifths of the technological research groups of the First Age, she was one of the first Solars to learn sorcery after Brigid, and learned artifact creation from Autochthon himself. Helluva resume.
- Stripperiffic: Her standard outfit in the official artwork is a pair of artifact wings and a harness made of black dental floss.
Harmonious Jade's previous incarnation, and one of the eldest Night Caste of the First Age. The two have a lot in common, not surprisingly; both come from the South, were trained as assassins from a young age, and tend toward the more lethally pragmatic methods of conflict resolution. Combined with his harsh stance on corruption, other Exalts worry about catching his official attention. note
- Appeal to Force: He doesn't bother with the established procedures for judging Exalted crimes; if he suspects anyone, even a Celestial Exalt, of being akuma, he simply kills them. There is no one in Creation with both the will and the strength to restrain him.
- Knight Templar: One of the incidents that led to the Great Prophecy (and thus, the Usurpation) was Gold-Shadowed Arrow's whole-sale slaughter of dozens of Celestials, hundreds of Terrestrials, and thousands of mortals, on the suspicion that they might have been Akuma. Not hard evidence. Suspicion.
- Stealth Expert: Comes with the territory of being a Night Caste, but it bears mention that no-one (living) claims to have seen Gold-Shadowed Arrow outside of his estate, the Deliberative, or the city of Tzatli for the past one-thousand years.
- The Stoic: He gains limit when he sees others indulge themselves, and his limit break forces him to avoid "self-centered indulgences." This includes things like stopping for medical attention.
- The Syndicate: Started his own to keep track of other criminal groups. It spans very nearly all of the South.
The previous incarnation of Swan. As far as anyone in the First Age — including, and perhaps especially, Desus himself — is concerned, he's a well-meaning Loveable Rogue. In reality, he's a physically, sexually and emotionally abusive Manipulative Bastard with extensive mind-whammying powers.
- Abuse Mistake: His powers force everyone around him to rationalize away all evidence of the abuse he inflicts.
- Adapted Out: As least as far as being Lilith's Solar mate goes, in 3E that goes to Andamani, which means that Lilith is a lot more well-adjusted mentally than she was before.
- Believing Their Own Lies: He's as brainwashed by his own powers as everyone else is.
- The Charmer: Eclipse caste with a focus on Socialize.
- Classy Cane: He sports one, which he wields as a stick when he doesn't want to punch someone in hand to hand combat. It also has a very small Essence Cannon built in.
- Control Freak: For Lilith. He's heavily brainwashed her to the point where she once killed a Dragon-Blood for an unknown reason and forgot about it, and he controls what Charms and Knacks she learns.
- It isn't perfect however, as she learned the Charm Clover Can't be Found (which allows her to hide from everyone who's looking for her, which is understandable once you know what she's going through), even though she knows she'll be heavily punished if Desus finds out she knows it.
- The Dandy: He dresses pretty well.
- Depraved Bisexual: He forces his Lunar wife Lilith to use her Gender Bender powers to spice up their sex life, something she takes absolutely no pleasure in. Then there's what happens to some of his other partners...
- Domestic Abuse: He indulged in plenty of physical abuse, but the emotional mindfuckery was actually the worst part — Lilith, for instance, could have easily defended herself against him physically if he hadn't bound her to his will so thoroughly that lifting a hand to oppose him was literally unthinkable for her.
- Fake Ultimate Hero
- Flanderization: The first mention of him in the 1e core (not by name, but as part of Lilith's chapter fiction) does acknowledge he was a horrible person, but that was really kind of a par-for-the-course thing as a depiction of the madness of the Solar Exalted. By the time we get a formal introduction in Dreams of the First Age, his specific, petty evil is under a microscope to the point that he comes across as a uniquely horrible villain.
- Glory Hound: Dreams of the First Age reveals that he has a tendency to go on quests solely for the sake of maintaining his reputation, and he seems to have a sixth sense for what would make him look perfect.
- Living Forever Is Awesome: Believes this, as he has a Gem of Immorality that only Lilith knows about.
- Meaningful Name: His name is Desus and he's famous for tricking and blinding a giant one-eyed lighthouse behemoth named Oliphem.
- Megaton Punch: Gave one of these to Oliphem, blinding it in the process.
- And this was during the Primordial War, so he was fairly young, not when Dreams of the First Age is set, over 3,500 years after (where he's had a lot of time to grow in power).
- Never Live It Down: Once his bio was written up and his abuse of Lilith was explored in unique depth, he became the byword for utter villainy among the Exalted Fan Base.
- Obliviously Evil: He genuinely doesn't realize that just because you can mind control someone into not being angry that you raped and tortured them, that doesn't make it okay.
- Retcon: As of the 3rd edition Lunars book, it's been confirmed that Desus has been written out of the game entirely. His replacement, Andamani of the Scarlet Field, is portrayed as a genuinely decent guy. His relationship with Lilith wasn't the best but it's bloody Heaven-on-Creation in comparison to how things went between her and Desus.
- The Sociopath: Aversion, actually. Were it not for that custom Charm of his (see below), it's explicitly stated he wouldn't be that bad of a guy. Unfortunately, since everyone believes he's a nice dude and does the worst things for their own good, he honestly doesn't get that he's doing some pretty horrific things-nobody's told him, after all.
- Smug Super: While he's a Glory Hound who goes on epic quests solely to make himself look good, he's accomplished feats of astonishing heroism, and has pulled off some epic feats.
- Villain with Good Publicity: He has a custom charm which makes everyone interpret even his worst jerkassery as for their own good, or at worst, a misguided but totally forgivable mistake. Even he's not immune to it. Further, for all his horrible actions, he periodically engages in the sort of grand adventure that makes him look perfect.
- Why Did You Make Me Hit You?: One of the nastiest things about him is that his social charms retain their full effect even against his victims. Since you know Desus is a great guy, your mind is forced to find a way to rationalize whatever he does to you as being your own fault.
Dancer In Light
Devil-may-care Eclipse during the Era of Dreams who began actually courting the help of demons, as he wished to save his I AM node, which had developed its own individual personality, from being erased. Cares little about anything but dancing, which puts him in good company when touring Hell.
- Dance Battler: He was developing a martial art style based on his dancing, but presumably the Usurpation stopped him from doing so.
- Deal with the Devil: Dancer in Light's personal I AM node, Node 3087, started to develop its own personality, much to his delight, only to be told that the node would need to be serviced, and possibly replaced. Dancer In Light made an infernal deal, allowing Node 3087 to be secretly removed from the I AM network and placed in a automaton body, in exchange for seven visits to Malfeas. While it seemed like a pretty good deal, on the sixth visit, he bumped into Stanewald, danced with her for five days and asked her to come to Creation with him, which she accepted, and has (unintentionally) acted as The Corruptor to him.
- Moral Myopia: Primarily interacts with demons and their creators through song and dance, which is the only thing that Yozis and demons don't seek to make into a horrible torment as a matter of course. This may have skewed his viewpoint as to what he would be in store for, if he decided to defect.
A sorcerous prodigy and anti-authoritarian supreme, which is not an expected quality in a goddess-queen of Creation. Her first incarnation died fighting She Who Lives In Her Name, the Principle of Hierarchy, and had a vision of how Creation might be better off without said principle. Engineered the sorcerous working which allows anyone in Creation to learn Sorcery as long as they're willing to work at it. Notable lack of grimdark for an elder First Age Exalt.
- Guile Hero: Aforementioned Creation-changing sorcerous working was achieved by sneaking it in as a rider on a more popular Deliberative topic. Also convinced Devon, founder of one of the most widespread philosophical schools of Sorcery, that his approach was flawed. He followed up on this by incinerating every last copy of his school's teachings.
- Hands-Off Parenting: She enjoys having children but leaves them to their own devices or tells them to, "do some good, like fight an invading Raksha or something."
- Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action: Salina has a semi-regular "thing" with Joyous Youth Juritsu, who is a dragon. They have several children (see above), and she made him promise not to possess them.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The Calibration Feast was her idea.
- Since some of the more powerful Solars could make it count as Calibration when summoning a demon, even if it wasn't, Salina allowed the more powerful (and also more dangerous) Solars to act like they weren't collaborating with Third Circle Demons, and then summon them whenever they wanted, basically dooming the Solars for nothing.
- Reluctant Ruler: She does not like hierarchy. She is also a Zenith Caste Solar, chosen by the Unconquered Sun to reign over Creation. Somehow, she reconciles the two.
- Rousseau Was Right: Strongly believes that all people are basically good.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: As it turns out, Sorcery is literally a "do anything" button, which means her plan to give it to the random man on the street would be... prone to backfiring. The potential for this was part of what spurred Chejop Kejak to turn on the Solars.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: He disdains Siakal as a bloodthirsty brute... but always takes direct command of fleets that are engaged with the enemy as a matter of visceral thrill.
Eternal Nova, the Sword Priest
A Dawn Caste and the first to unleash the true power of a daiklave, discovering Evocations (a new mechanic in 3e). An unparalleled swordsman, even among the Exalted, Eternal Nova's touch could unlock the true potential of any well-made weapon. But his home was soon flocked by patrons desiring his blessings on their weapons and he had to turn them away. They accused him of being vain and materialistic and so he vowed that any who could defeat him in single combat could take his title of Sword Priest and his power over daiklaves. He was slain during the Usurpation and his title and power were locked away in the Jade Prison along with his Exaltation.
He was the First Age incarnation of Visiting Flare, the protagonist of the 3rd Edition comic Tale of the Visiting Flare, who appears to have inherited the Sword Priest's ability and the attention of those who desire such power for themselves.
- Badass Longcoat: A high-collared white-and-gold one with a large emblem of a dragon clutching the sun on the back.
- Creator Cameo: Sort of. Nova is John Mørke's first Exalted character.
- Dual Wielding: Is nearly always shown with a daiklave either in each hand or on each hip.
- Field of Blades: Is just as often surrounded by a small one of these. Mostly swords, but with a few spears and halberds thrown in as well.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: How he died in the Usurpation.
- Master Swordsman: His title of Sword Priest wasn't just from his ability to unlock a daiklave's potential.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: He's not evil (and these aren't as red as most examples of this trope) but they are a clear sign that you shouldn't mess with him.
A Twilight Caste who wanted to turn the Neverborn into a giant soulsteel wall around Creation
- Expy: In the first chapter of Shards of the Exalted Dream, he is essentially a quantum-physics expy of Hannibal Lecter.
They were originally advisers to the Solar Exalted from the Primordial War up until the end of the First Age. When the Solar Exalted were becoming insane due to the Great Curse, they had 3 options. Let the Solars' insanity continue and doom Creation in the process, reason with them in the slight chance they'd reform, or kill them with the Dragon-Blooded to leave Creation in a diminished but still existing state. They chose option 3.
They removed themselves from Creation (having made themselves literally unable to be remembered by mortals), set up the Shogunate of the Dragon-Bloods as a puppet government to control, and created the Wyld Hunt and Immaculate Philosophy to kill the few reincarnating Solars. When the Shogunate ended after the Great Contagion and Fair Folk invasion, they used the Scarlet Empress to make the Realm and have influenced it since then.
Then the Scarlet Empress disappeared, leaving the Realm they've manipulated and controlled in shambles as the Great Houses try to take the Scarlet Throne.
Then they found out the Chosen of the Sun have returned. This hasn't helped with the growing divide between Bronze Faction Dragon-Blood supporters who wish to keep things the way they are, and Gold Faction Solar supporters who want the Solars to return as the rightful rulers of Creation (with the Sidereals in charge behind the scenes, of course).
Now they also have to deal with Oblivion-seeking Deathknights and their Deathlord masters, not to mention the nascent Primordial Infernals that may or may not release their masters in the Reclamation and let the world literally turn to hell.
- Because Destiny Says So: They're the ones who say so. Although that doesn't help as much as you think it would. Especially in some cases.
- Celestial Bureaucracy: These guys file the forms, collect the taxes, and sometimes enforce eminent domain by moving entire cities across Creation.
- Dangerous Forbidden Technique: The Greater Arts of Astrology. The most powerful of the arts, they give several benefits. Firstly, Sidereals who perform the Greater Signs of the Maidens regain the permanent dot of Essence and Willpower invested in the Greater Sign in a month, at a cost of five Paradox points. Secondly, the most powerful astrological Charms are made available to the Sidereals, which are so powerful they reach Reality Warper levels instead of just tweaking fate, but this means that each one comes with Paradox points as part of the cost. Thirdly, the experience point cost of certain Charms is reduced, and the Sidereal is immediately reimbursed the experience point difference for already purchased Charms, allowing the Sidereal to purchase the newly unlocked Charms straight away. Finally, Sidereals are capable of creating new Charms for the Greater Arts. While these Charms are immensely powerful, they also incur significant Paradox cost due to the overtime the Pattern Spiders have to work. Each use of a Greater Arts Charm reduces dice pools for Craft (Fate) rolls for all characters in existence for a week.
- Ethical Hedonism: The Chosen of Serenity. Their office, the Cerulean Lute of Harmony, was built on the model of the first whorehouse in Creation. And it still serves as one, as well as an art gallery, a library, an opium den, and an office building.
- Karma Houdini: Everyone in Yu-Shan knows that the Sidereals had something to do with the Usurpation. The reason the Unconquered Sun and Luna haven't had a very long talk with Chejop Kejak, however, is that they worked fate so that no evidence of the collaboration could ever be found. (That, and they're also addicted to the Games Of Divinity.)
- A Simple Plan: Their particular strain of the Great Curse is a strange form of hubris. Whenever they come up with a plan, said plan has a greater chance of going off the rails depending on how many Sidereals are involved. Keep in mind the Great Prophecy was the collaborative effort of all 100 Sidereals, and take a look at what happened afterwards...
- Supernatural Martial Arts: There's a reason the top-tier, reality-breaking styles are known as Sidereal Martial Arts.
- Winds of Destiny, Change: Most of their powers are centered around manipulating fate and weaving destinies. They can even use the arts of Astrology to weave new identities and gain mechanical bonuses based on the constellation in question.
The Signature Circle (of First and Second Edition)
Shepherd of the North StarA perpetually late Chosen of Journeys. Independent.
- The Heart: Invoked. Shepherds easygoing and agreeable nature helps smooth things over when hes teamed up with members of both Bronze and Gold Factions.
- Heroic Neutral: He's bored by the factional intrigues in the Bureau of Heaven, but because of how incredibly pleasant he is, he gets along with everyone and is one of the most unquestionably benevolent Sidereals.
- Nice Guy: Shepherd is one of the most personable and agreeable characters in the setting; his personal belief is that people can't help but like you if you show that you like them, which he has proven many times. Hes often selected as a balancing force in Sidereal strike teams containing members of both factions.
Iron SiakaA goremaul-wielding Chosen of Serenity. Member of the Bronze Faction.
- Boisterous Bruiser: She's such a warrior that a lot of people seem surprised to find out she's a Chosen of Serenity. It's just that she finds serenity in beating the seven shades of shit out of Creatures of Darkness.
- Butch Lesbian: She's a major league asskicker, and she's got a real taste for the ladies.
- Carry a Big Stick: Goremauls are artifact maces and hammers; Siaka's is a mace.
- Goal in Life: Her Motivation's as succinct as it is hilarious: "Beat up creatures of darkness until they get the message and leave Creation alone. Now, that would be serenity."
Crimson Banner ExecutionerA perpetually masked Chosen of Battles. Member of the Gold Faction.
- The Faceless: Has never been shown with his face revealed.
- Legacy Immortality: There have been a lot of Crimson Banner Executioners. The name and the costume (which is technically First Age Powered Armor) pass down from incarnation to incarnation.
May BlossomA former Dynast who ended up receiving a Celestal Exaltation instead of a Terrestrial one. Is a Chosen of Secrets and member of the Gold Faction.
- The Beast Master: Often needs to procure mounts of any description (including dragons) for her circle.
- Blithe Spirit: Aspires to be this for the whole Realm.
- The Gadfly: She really likes scandals and leaving dirty little secrets out for anyone to find; her title in the Scroll of Exalts is even the Troublemaker.
- Ojou: May Blossom sure manages to rock the looks and mannerisms.
Black Ice ShadowAn Endings Caste raised in a shadowland. Currently takes orders from Wayang to gather intelligence on the Deathlords. Member of the Gold Faction.
- Cultured Badass: Hes surprisingly philosophical, carefully instructed by Wayang in the secrets of life and death. His Motivation is understand the human condition.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Endings caste, who's been painstakingly trained in Necromancy and the lore of the Underworld. Still, the chapter-break comics and his writeup in the Scroll of Exalts present him as a pretty ethical and empathetic guy.
- Half-Human Hybrid: He's Ghost-Blooded, which means one of his parents was dead when they conceived him.
- Punny Name: Say it fast, and think 'Goth'.
A very old Chosen of Secrets, Chejop Kejak is the sole surviving founder of the Bronze Faction, the Sidereals who masterminded the Usurpation. A bitter and lonely old man, he has long since passed his prime and lost any real impulse to change the world for the better, to the point where he literally has the Motivation of "Justify past sacrifices." He is generally held up as an example of a "failed" Exalt, a person whose Fatal Flaw has left him a shell of a man only going through the motions of life. Don't think he can't kick your ass, though; he is, after all, the most powerful Exalt currently living.
- Anti-Hero or Anti-Villain: Which trope he falls under depends on whether or not you think he was wrong to pursue the Vision of Bronze, but you can't deny he has valid points and ended up destroying his own life.
- The Chessmaster: All elder Sidereals are as a matter of survival, but Chejop is still the guy who helped build an Usurpation plot against the rulers of the world, and then made a Path of Inspiration to form a framework for the new society.
- The Chooser of The One: He appears as an anonymous monk in Immaculate histories that portrays him as the one who convinced the Dragon-Blooded to accept the Scarlet Empress as the defender of Creation and god-queen of the Realm. It's deconstructed, in that he knew her beforehand and actually had a bit of Teeth-Clenched Teamwork with her.
- Didn't See That Coming
- The fatal flaw in his plans was his almost monomaniacal fixation with the notion that the Solars were the biggest threat to Creation. This caused him to neglect other potential threats which turned out to be as bad if not worse. In particular, his over-reliance on prophecy made him blind to the danger posed by beings from outside of Creation, whose impending actions he could not foresee. He also greatly underestimated the Scarlet Empress.
- There's how he handled the Convention of Wood. After the Usurpation, Kejak got as many of the Gold Faction members placed in both the Convention of Wood (the Sidereals who managed the East) and the Special Convention of Essence Wielders (who manage anything that uses Essence) under the logic that the East's massive population and large number of unregulated Essence users would bog down the Gold Faction, reducing their threat. However when the Solars returned, this meant that the Gold Faction had a large degree of influence over one of Creation's Directions and remarkable opportunities to conceal Solar Essence usage.
- Drowning My Sorrows: In a chapter comic for Compass of Celestial Directions: Yu-Shan at the height of the Great Contagion. He was also convinced at the time the plague was Uvanavu's doing as retribution for the Usurpation.
- Motive Decay: He once wanted nothing more than to keep Creation safe at any cost. Now he's a borderline broken man who just wants to prove he was right about the Solars.
- Old Soldier: In Second Edition, he is extremely old and the most powerful living Exalt, and the devs stated that his statistics made him literally unbeatable.
- Time Abyss: Subverted. He Exalted in the First Age, and was alive longer than that, but all Sidereals have a cutoff date of 5,000 years thanks to Saturn's influence. His age? 4,999 (plus or minus a few months).
- Was It Really Worth It?: Literally the last few years of his life have been spent trying to convince everyone - including himself - that yes, it really was necessary to pursue the Vision of Bronze, and all that required.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Vision of Bronze was supposed to "guarantee" that Creation, though diminished, would nevertheless survive. He preferred that certainty to the Either/Or Prophecy of the Vision of Gold.
- White Hair, Black Heart: Only visible sign of he being older than middle age. How black his heart is depends on your point of view, but the above trope is here for a reason.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: The other Bronze Faction Sidereals, not wanting to lose their leader once they realized just how close to his expiration date he really was, went to great lengths to obtain a Gem of Immortality for him. He turned it down, seemingly because he was burnt out after nearly 5,000 years of trying to keep Creation on a steady course.
- Your Days Are Numbered: Depending on the source, Kejak either has a few decades left, a few years left or a few months left, since Sidereals have a cutoff date of 5,000 years. While nobody knows the exact date, he could simply pass away of old age any day now.
- For Science!: Her ongoing attempts to train Terrestrial Exalts to use Sidereal martial arts. The fact that they cannot use Celestial Circle Sorcery without the aid of an Upgrade Artifact (such as the Mantle of Brigid) and are pushing their absolute limits learning Celestial martial arts styles does not seem to deter her belief that she can make this work. Despite the cases of Explosive Overclocking that inevitably result.
- Meaningful Name: Averted. Her name is an intentional shout-out to Anais Nin, but she bears no other similarities.
The Green LadySome time ago, the Sidereals got together and decided to create a Convention on Deathlords, in order to deal with the necrotic ghosts threatening to lay waste to all Creation. The Green Lady is the Convention on Deathlords. Only... she's really into her work. She has found a way to worm herself into the courts of the Bishop of the Chalcedony Thurible, the Silver Prince, Walker in Darkness, and Mask of Winters. Each one seems to think she serves them and only them, no matter who else she strings along.
In truth, she is serving Heaven and Heaven alone. She realizes that, thanks to the Charms and abilities of the Deathlords, knowingly entering their service with a hidden agenda would be suicide. Hence why she is unknowingly reporting to Heaven while being completely, utterly loyal to all the Deathlords. It's just a matter of if she can deliver pay dirt to her superiors before one of her other bosses turns out the lights on Creation...
- Gender Bender: The Bishop thinks she's a man. He's the only one who does.
- Manchurian Agent: The unknowing agent of Heaven against the Deathlords.
- Memory Gambit: The undisputed master, except perhaps for Meticulous Owl.
The archetypal elder Sidereal. Usually seen bossing around or teaching younger Sidereals.
- Oh, Crap!: If the chapter comics are anything to go off of, Hollok was the first one to find out that the Solar Exaltations had escaped from the Jade Prison"Damn my eyes, that's not possible."
- Neural Implanting: Uses a celestial spell to do this to a student, which is implied to be common among the Fivescore Fellowship.
- Wolverine Claws: Almost always seen with them, courtesy of his mastery of Sidereal Martial Arts.
- Manipulative Bastard: The Cult of the Illuminated in a nutshell. It appeals to people who want to change the world for the better, and uses them as pawns and dupes.
- Not So Different: Ayesha's First Age incarnation, Tammiz Ushun, was a close friend of Chejop Kejak and a firm supporter of the Vision of Gold. This did not work out well, obviously. Kejak was devastated, but was never one to let personal feelings get in the way of doing what was necessary. He did take Tammiz's next incarnation, Ayesha, as his student, and eventually lover, trying to manipulate her away from her previous sympathies. This was an obvious violation of trust, and Ayesha eventually rebelled. Now, as the hidden hand behind the Cult of the Illuminated, her tactics and ethics are very reminiscent of her old teacher.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: She honestly thinks the solution to the problems of the Second Age is "Solars, who listen to their Sidereal advisers more." For reasons why this is naive, see Lyta.
- It's less "Listen" and more "Control the Solars through indoctrination, Sidereal Astrology, and general manipulation to keep them from going off the deep end, while keeping Creation safe".
- Expy: Of Bruce Lee.
- Only Sane Man: One of the few Gold Faction members who actually lived in the First Age. As such, he's very aware of how the return of the Solars can go pear-shaped.
Closest thing the independents have to a leader.
- Mentor Archetype: He serves as sifu to Shepherd of the North Star.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Gave one to the leaders of the Bronze and Gold Factions shortly after the Great Contagion, citing that they were too busy playing politics to actually do their jobs and as a result almost all of Creation died, and a large chunk (including the area Nazri was from) got Unmade by the Fae.
A rogue Chosen of Endings who discovered the Getimian Exalted and brought them into his war against Heaven.
- The Ageless: Has not aged since removing his thread from the Loom of Fate.
- Canon Discontinuity: As far as 3e developer Robert Vance is concerned, "Tale of the Visiting Flare" is non-canonical to the gamebooks, and Thulio's background has been rewritten to avoid the more unfortunate implications - he handled his breakup like a mature adult, it didn't motivate his participation in the Usurpation or his war on Heaven, and he's not obsessed with his ex's reincarnation. His issue is how his fellow Sidereals manipulated him.
- Enemies with Death: Saturn made her Sign against him. He turned it aside.
- In the Hood: Wears a dark, sleeveless robe over his clothes, with the hood up over his head. It doesn't hide his face, but it does make an impression.
- In-Universe Nickname: The Sleepwalker.
- Love Makes You Crazy: Apparently greatly cared for Eternal Nova, but it was a twisted sort of love. He had Nova slain so that no-one else could love him the way Rakan did.
- Not Good with Rejection: When the love of his life chose another, he blamed the Celestial Bureaucracy, believing his destiny had been written by others.
- Rage Against the Heavens: Has its origins in his belief his destiny was written by others, and his resentment over it.
- Really 700 Years Old: He Exalted in the Time Before, in the first days, and by word of Vance is older than Kejak.
- Reincarnation Romance: Considering he's still alive in the setting's present day, Visiting Flare will have to deal with Rakan's twisted version of this. And already is, thanks to Rakan using a thread of the Loom of Fate to send out a call across Creation that called for the Sword Priest's death.Rakan Thulio: Swordsmen now and forevermore - the bond with your blade has made you strong, but true mastery yet lies ahead. The Sword Priest has returned and his title can be yours. Slay him and take his blessed power for yourself. Slay him and you will be the greatest swordsman in all of Creation.
- Screw Destiny: Struck aside Saturn's Sign, and tore his thread from the Loom of Fate.
- These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: Through forbidden martial arts, he tapped into power even the Yozis feared, and in doing so marked himself as an enemy of Heaven.
- Time Abyss: The only known Exalted to qualify, by virtue of being both older than Kejak and The Ageless. Unless an ST introduces someone older, he is by default Creation's oldest Exalted.
Tammiz UshunA Chosen of Journeys who was Chejop Kejak's friend and political archrival during the First Age. He believed that the Sidereals could guide the Solars to become sane and responsible rulers.
- Et Tu, Brute?: After he realized how serious Kejak was about overthrowing the Solars, he tried to warn the Solar Deliberative, only for Kejak to send a Dragon Blooded death squad to kill him.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: Believed that the Solars could be saved. Kejak killed him to stop him from telling the Solar Delibrative about Kejak's betrayal, so no-one knows if he could have been successful.
When the Solars were overthrown, the Lunars escaped to the Wyld, which slowly... mutated their Exaltations, gradually twisting the Lunars into monsters. In response, the Lunars devised their trademark moonsilver tattoos, which protect them from any physical transformations apart from their own.
During the Lunars' centuries in exile, they've been operating as covert social engineers, manipulating societies throughout Creation with the aim of eventually creating one that won't need the Exalted to maintain it. They know full well it'll probably never happen; what's important is what they can take from the process.
Now the Solars have returned, the Abyssals and Infernals with them. It's time for the Lunars to adapt once again. Which way they'll go, though...
For Third Edition, much of the above has been dropped. The Lunars' focus is now on their ancient feud with the Dragon-Blooded's Realm and its Sidereal enablers. Their Exaltations have not been mutated by the Wyld, such a thing now being impossible, although their moonsilver tattoos still shield them against being changed by it; they intentionally refashioned their Castes to better suit the post-Usurpation world. Their numbers have been bumped up to around 400, about 100 more than the Solars and their variants.
- Bestiality Is Depraved: The Lunars are capable of making Beastmen. In first and second edition to do so (without high-level Charms, that is) required an act of bestiality. Either the Lunar screwed the animal in human form, or the Lunar screwed a human in animal form. Third edition removes this requirement, instead requiring merely that the Lunar conceive the child in their hybrid form, or use one of the (far more accessible) charms. Humans mating with animals is still a valid means of producing beastmen, but can only be done in the Wyld, and you no longer need to be a Lunar to do so.
- Broken Bird: Most of the details about the Usurpation and the following thirteen or so centuries have made it clear that it was not easy on the Lunars in any way at all. They even broke literally, re: their Castes. It manifests slightly differently in 3e, which has it that the collective Lunar bond to the Solars was sundered when the Solar exaltations were imprisoned, wounding the Lunars deeply, and triggered a change in them that still continues even now.
- Dark Is Not Evil: In 2e, they are the only non-Abyssals who can make zombies with their own Charms, without the need of initiation into necromancy, and even without that they were the preeminent masters of dealing with the Underworld before Abyssals were created. The zombies are creatures of darkness, the Lunars that make them are generally not.
- Dead Person Impersonation: Certain Knacks allow them to ritualistically hunt humans and take on their forms after killing them. There's also a less lethal solution that involves just borrowing a bit of their blood, but this doesn't last quite as long.
- Forever War: In 3e they view their conflicts with the Dragon-Bloods as one long guerilla war, and much of the Thousand Streams River has been about (a) putting more and more thorns in the Realm's side, and (b) making sure there's a civilization left over after they're gone. A guerilla war, it should be noted, they're winning — have you seen the size of the Threshold?
- Gender Bender: Quite a few of them; the Twin-Faced Hero Style knack in 2e, and the Many-Faced Moon Transformation Charm in 3e, allow them to change this on a whim, and both are extremely accessible. The best example may be Silver Python, who changes gender every twenty years as a tribute to Luna and neither remembers nor cares which one zie started off as.
- Glamour Failure: Every Lunar has a Tell, a part of their body that reflects their totem and remains the same in all forms. It could range from striped chest hair to golden eyes to a patch of scales running along the spine.
- God Guise: The Lunars are keen to take any route necessary to influence a society, and in many cases, that means posing as gods or messianic figures. In 3e, a Lunar can just straight up steal a god's cult.
- High Priest: In 2e, the long-lost Waxing Moon caste were this for Luna. Following the breaking of the Lunar castes caused by the Wyld, the No Moons inherited the role. (Which some Lunars found a little odd, since the Changing Moons were the inheritors of the three lost castes.)
- Liminal Being: It's present in their nature as shapeshifters, but gets played up a bit more in 3e, which casts it as being second nature to them, crossing between civilization and the wilds, between the mortal world and the divine, between being human, animal or monster, with consummate ease, without having to sacrifice one for the others.
- Little Bit Beastly: A very common tell.
- The Madness Place: A Lunar using the charm Inevitable Genius Insight gains great bonuses to their mental abilities toward a single project and the ability to completely ignore fatigue for its duration, at the cost of a monomaniacal focus until the charm ends.
- Reincarnation Romance: Each Lunar shard is "bonded" with a Solar shard, designating the two as mates. Of course, this bond continues even if the Solar exaltation's been corrupted by the Yozis or the Deathlords. Note that the bond is not necessarily sexual or romantic in nature; platonic friendships and rivalries are just as possible, potentially leading to Luke/Vader and Cecil/Golbez situations in the case of Abyssals or Infernals. This is less prevalent in the third edition — there being about a hundred more Lunar than Solar exaltations in 3e, it's not necessarily a given that a Lunar will have a Solar(/Abyssal/Infernal) mate (and in this edition it was instituted largely because the Lunars and Solars got sick of a post-Primordial War civil war, not as an inherent factor of the Exaltations).
- Retcon: More so than any other Exalted; lacking an established place in the setting, the game's struggled to figure out what their niche is - from anti-civilization barbarians in 1e to covert social engineers in 2e to the primary resistance against the Scarlet Empire and the Bronze Faction in 3e.
- Shapeshifter Mode Lock: In second edition, when a Lunar spent enough Peripheral Essence, they were limited to shape-shifting to any of their totemic forms (that is, their mortal shape, their spirit shape, or — if they had one — their war form). This limitation was removed in third edition.
- Super Empowering: 3E No Moons have this as a defining trait of their Intelligence Charms; a Lunar who dips into a particular branch of that tree learns to give mortals elements of their spirit shapes as benign mutations, then learns how to gift them things like less flexible shapeshifting or constructing Beast-Soul Awakening Crucibles, which turns any mortal who overcomes their trials into a primal beastfolk. Their Wits Charms have a branch that enable them to similarly empower their familiars, gifting them things like elements of their spirit shapes as benign mutations, human-level intellect, enhanced combat prowess, or Terrestrial Circle Sorcery.
- Supernaturally Validated Trans Person: In third edition, if someone has gender dysmorphia, or is otherwise uncomfortable with their gender, Lunar Exaltation transforms their human true form into one they're comfortable with.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: The primary trick the Lunars hold over the other Exalted is their ability to take the shape of anything they ritualistically kill, from the smallest bug to the greatest behemoth. Special powers allow them to expand their range of possible shapes, the abilities of the shapes they take, and even give additional methods for acquiring new forms.
The Signature Circle (of Third Edition)
Azu Tegama Asarkon
The iconic Full Moon. A charming but cold-hearted swordsman from the Hundred Kingdoms. His spirit shape is a spiny flower mantis.
The iconic Changing Moon. A consummate trickster from the South. Her spirit shape is a fennec fox.
The iconic No Moon. A wise shaman who went into self-imposed hibernation for a few centuries. Their spirit shape is a nautilus.
Tula the Reaver
The iconic Casteless. The youngest of her Circle, she is a farmer-turned-bandit-warleader. Her spirit shape is an emerald dove.
A survivor of the First Age — which makes his bare minimum age around one thousand years old — Tamuz is one of the elders of the Silver Pact, the main governing body of Lunars. Unlike many of them, after the Usurpation he was happy to be finally free of his abusive and possessive Solar mate, and didn't find it difficult at all to adapt to the new, Terrestrial-ruled world. After the Thousand Streams River project began, he attached himself to the Delzhan tribes, and the ruins of the First Age city of Chiaroscuro they lived near, unifying them into a growing empire without any really crippling social problems... right under the Sidereals' noses, without any of his proxies being killed, and in such a way it made it politically unfeasible for the Realm to conquer them. True, there are some blatant societal ills (one of which, the Delzhan's misogyny, grows directly from his own gynophobia), but he's managed them splendidly (said misogyny was worked around with the Dereth, who have very little stigma attached to them).
Today, Tamuz is seriously considering transforming Chiaroscuro into the new predominant power; seeing as how the Realm was built to serve the Empress and now she's gone, it's ripe for the taking. For his personal life, Tamuz was the most stable and healthy among the canonical Lunar elders in first edition, but in second is shown to have a side with a god complex. He also has a problem with his teacher's/lover's Exaltation going to a female successor, which seriously Squicks him out.
In the Lunar lineup in DotFA's chargen section, he is the Half Moon.
- A God Am I: Set in motion a manufactured prophecy within Delzahn culture that allows him to swoop in under the auspices of the identity "Tamas Khan" and act as their God King. It's all part of his social engineering addict god complex.
- The Chessmaster: He outwitted Sidereals. Sidereals.
- Does Not Like Women: See below. It isn't his Fatal Flaw, though — he's aware his knee-jerk reaction to the female gender is unfair, and he's capable of swallowing his distaste.
- Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: It is not okay. About the only reason he's less screwed up than Lilith is because he wasn't Mind Raped as well. It's a miracle he's managed to only come away with deep-seated misogyny.
- Guile Hero: He's generally viewed as everything right with the Changing Moon caste, so of course he's this.
- Only Sane Man: In the prior edition. In second, see A God Am I. Which is still sane compared to his fellows.
Once upon a time, Ma-Ha-Suchi was one of the most handsome, debonair individuals in all of Creation, a sterling example of the Waxing Moon Caste, a warrior as pretty and cunning as he was brave. When the Usurpation came, he fled with the other Lunars into the Wyld. Before he could be tattooed, however, the Wyld ravaged his body, leaving him with a permanent case of horns and hooves that carried into all of his forms. He shrugged it off, becoming one of the first sahan-yahs of the Silver Pact, but what he couldn't shrug off was just how long it's been since the Usurpation, with the Terrestrials never faltering in their rule, as the Silver Pact strayed farther and farther from his own, personal ideas of a Lunar Deliberative to replace the Solars. Eventually, after his best friend Raksi turned against him and became something he found abhorrent, he just gave up and withdrew to the Threshold to sulk and caretake the Chante-Sa culture in peace, only venturing out to occasionally teach those Lunars who managed to impress him. But then the Scarlet Empress disappeared, and the Solars returned-slowly, Ma-Ha-Suchi is beginning to hope again, and with that hope, he's starting to become ambitious...
In DotFA's chargen chapter Lunars group picture, Ma-Ha-Suchi is on the far right, representing the Waxing Moon Caste. Oh how far the mighty have fallen.
- Adaptational Heroism: Ma-Ha-Suchi was a much nastier individual before 3E, a self-absorbed barbarian warlord and Evil Luddite. In Third Edition, his worst personal quality is his grumpiness and Nostalgia Filter about the First Age.
- Bishōnen: Before the Wyld? Definitely. After the Wyld? ... Actually, he's still incredibly pretty, just not superhumanly so.
- Broken Ace: He was The Ace in the First Age, a lovable Chivalrous Pervert, a Guile Hero, and a masterful general. Today, he finds it difficult to get out of bed in the morning.
- Cool Uncle: Is known as the Eternal Uncle to the Chante-Sa tribes that live near his lair, to compliment the Three Mothers that are their primary national pantheon.
- Glory Seeker: A peek at his 3E intimacies show he partially wants the First Age back so he can be a respected hero again.
- Grumpy Old Man: He's essentially become a millennia-old version of this.
- Not So Above It All: One of the Blood Season challenges to resolve internal Chante-Sa disputes is to play a minor prank on the Eternal Uncle. As evinced by the fact that he allows this to happen, this often actually amuses him.
- Really Gets Around: His Motivation in the First Age was to sleep with every Celestial Exalted in Creation. He almost got there, too.
- Retired Badass: For most of the Second Age, though he's begun to subvert it.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Thousands of years with everything going wrong according to your ideology will do that to you.
- Vain Sorceress: Pre 3E, gender-flipped. Going by his character sheet, he's still the most handsome man most people will ever see, but the idea that he's no longer transcendently, inhumanly beautiful bothers him so much that he refuses to ever take human form again. And that degradation in his appearance is the main reason why he wants to smash everything. Averted in Third Edition, where it honestly is just one more scar among dozens of others.
- We ARE Struggling Together: He hates Raksi, and Raksi hates him right back. This is reflected in their political factions.
Before the Usurpation, Raksi was well-known amongst the Lunars for being the youngest person ever graced with Luna's gift, Exalting at age 13. She still looked like a child when the Usurpation went down and she had to flee into the Wyld. She came out... changed. Sure, she doesn't look half the wreck that Ma-Ha-Suchi does (or at least, thinks he does), but most of what the Wyld did to her was internal. Raksi's current "attempt" at the Thousand Streams River is the same one she took right after leaving the Wyld - sacking a First Age city, setting herself up as a cannibal queen with a personal army of Beastmen, and harrowing the locals while trying to plumb the sorcerous secrets of the city.
- Adaptational Badass: In 3E, Raksi has lost her insanity and become a cold, cunning Sorcerous Overlord with a Troll streak.
- Adaptational Villainy: 3E Raksi is perfectly sane and rational (well, for given values of same). She still does the baby-eating trick to alarm and unnerve guests she dislikes.
- Affably Evil: The unnerving thing about Raksi is that she always greets people with politeness and regal decorum. Those she likes find that it isn't an act; she genuinely does want to be a good queen to her city and respects the privacy of other Lunars. The problem is, she also knows her reputation, and enjoys it, and she can turn Faux Affably Evil and threatening on a dime.
- Ax-Crazy: Pre-Third Edition. The Wyld did a nasty job to her mind. Averted in 3E, as her actions are completely calculated and soberly considered.
- Benevolent Boss: She's actually a pretty fair and even-handed god-queen, albeit a completely ruthless one.
- Card-Carrying Villain: She knows everyone thinks she's an evil tyrant. It's an excellent card in Silver Pact politics.
- Evil Feels Good: After thousands of years of playing to the Evil Overlord image, Raksi has come to sincerely enjoy it.
- False Utopia: Mahalanka in 3E is actually a model city, even with things like indoor plumbing, air conditioning, and a health care system. The problem is that this is all being run by Raksi, who does not tolerate any challenges to her power.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Started life as a demure, soft-spoken philosopher. Has become the terrifying and beloved god-queen of a small empire she's preparing to destroy the Realm with.
- Glamour Failure: Raksi never shows up in the same form if she can help it, but she lets her Tell, wrists that bend backwards, show itself if she needs to make it obvious.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Raksi adopted the guise of a cannibal queen, then decided to cement it to unnerve her rivals. She claims to prefer babies because she prefers the taste of veal, but really it's to provoke her guests.
- Mad Scientist: Raksi is always chasing the next truth, the next sorcerous insight and invention that will aid in the destruction and conquest of the Realm, and treats it with the same ethical restraint she does with her palate.
- Narcissist: One of her Defining Ties, a core pillar of her personality, is "Herself (Unrepentant Delight)."
- Older Than They Look: She Exalted right before the Usurpation. Even today, millennia later, she still looks like a sixteen-year old.
- While 3E is dropping this angle (or at least lessening it to the norm for Celestial Exalted, meaning her true human form now looks like a fully-grown woman), there's nothing stopping someone as old and powerful as she is from using shapeshifting to replicate this if she thinks it would unnerve and throw off whoever she's dealing with.
- People's Republic of Tyranny:
- In 2E, Raksi sacked the city of Sperimin and renamed it "Mahalanka, City of a Thousand Golden Delights." Those delights are hers alone, however, and any independent authority would question just how "delightful" they're supposed to be. Downplayed in 3E, where Mahalanka is simply the capital of the far more honest and descriptive Thousand Fangs Army Total Control Zone, and it's more of a False Utopia.
- And those apemen mooks she's spawned? They only obey her because they're bugfuck terrified of her.
- Pet the Dog: It's rare, but in 3e it's possible to see a kinder, gentler side to Raksi when someone impresses her. An adherent of hers that she had previously written off as a Dirty Coward standing in her face directly to save an infant was not only forgiven, but made that infant's adoptive mother, with Raksi herself helping out, right then and there.
- Repressive, but Efficient: Mahalanka and the Total Control Zone are genuinely nice places to live, if you don't mind the fact the god-queen eats unwanted children and conducts horrifying sorcerous experiments as a matter of course.
- Start of Darkness: The Usurpation turned her from a relatively unknown philosopher into the Sorcerous Overlord she is today.
- Super Empowering: Raski created a toxic oil made out of liquid brass in a attempt to learn Solar Sorcery. It failed, but any mortal tattooed with the oil becomes Demon-Blooded. If they survive, of course.
- Worthy Opponent: Actually has a Major Intimacy of respect towards people who don't fear her.
In the First Age, Lilith was renowned as one of the greatest infiltrators and hand-to-hand combatants among the Exalted, but even better known was the epic love story of her romance with the beloved hero Desus. What no one knew at the time, however, was that Desus was... well, Desus. A sadist armed with extensive social Charms, he had Lilith bound to his will, forcing her to love him desperately no matter what abuses he inflicted on her. When he died at the Usurpation, she both rejoiced and felt her heart break, and the sheer cognitive dissonance drove her into the depths of the Wyld. Her fellow Lunars managed to tattoo her before she was too lost, and it seems to have done the job. No one can say for sure; they meet her rarely as she moves in and out of Creation at will. And with the return of the Solars, no one can say for sure what path she'll take...
In the lineup of Lunars in DotFA's chargen section, she is the Waning Moon.
Her 3e writeup hits the Reset Button, putting her more in line with her 1e corebook take rather than anything that came later; most notably, rather than Desus, her First Age Bondmate was Andamani of the Scarlet Field, and they had a passionate relationship that cooled somewhat over time, with quarrels, lies and betrayals becoming more frequent, but their Bond still remained firm. When Andamani died in the Usurpation it traumatized Lilith, and though she hung on long enough to shape the Silver Pact, she could only escape the pain by sinking herself into the form of an owl, body and mind. Five years ago, Andamani was finally reborn, and Lilith gradually emerged from her fugue to seek his reincarnation, renew her friendships among the Silver Pact, and restart her vendetta against the Dragon-Blooded usurpers.
- Abuse Mistake: Spent the entire First Age having everyone around her do this on account of Desus' mind-manipulating powers. Oh, the heroes of Creation all noticed Lilith was sporting an awful lot of bruises when she hadn't been in combat lately, they just figured she and Desus must get up to some kinky stuff in the bedroom.
- Adaptation Personality Change: 3E makes her more stable than she was previously.
- Being Human Sucks: She sank herself into being an owl because being human hurt too much. Her Bondmate's rebirth pulled her out of it as she assumed human form to find his reincarnation.
- Broken Bird: An extremely literal version in 3E; she literally mentally turned into an owl to escape her grief. She only started turning back into her human form after being snapped out of her fugue state.
- Cool Helmet: Part of her default outfit in 3E.
- Did Not Get The Guy: More like lost the guy. Dreams of the First Age reveals that she was in a relationship with a boy from her village before she Exalted, which caused the relationship to end. She guided the village for centuries, and eventually her first love's many times great grandson resembles his ancestor so much that by the time of 'Dreams of the First Age'' occurs, she is on the verge of taking him as her lover, despite the fact Desus would be utterly pissed if he found out. Luckly, the Usurpation occurs before anything can happen.
- Heroic BSoD: After she lost Andamani, she could only escape the pain by abandoning her humanity.
- Insanity Immunity: In 2e, Lilith made the Wyld a second home for centuries, an unwise proposition for even a veteran tattooed Lunar. But because of the sheer mindfuckery Desus put her through, she not only didn't get worse, she got better by comparison.
- Love at First Sight: With Andamani in 3e, helped by it being effectively a Reincarnation Romance.
- My Kung Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: During the First Age, she was perhaps the greatest unarmed combatant in Creation.
- No Social Skills: In 3E, due to her having spent the greater part of a couple thousand years as an owl.
- Ominous Owl: Her totem.
- The Quiet One: In her 3e portrayal, she's usually silent, speaking only when she has something to say, though it gets less exaggerated the more time she spends with human company.
- Stealth Expert: Lilith comes and goes out of Creation so easily that no one can track her effectively. In all her time as an elder Lunar, she has not once run afoul of or triggered a Wyld Hunt.
- Lilith was made this way. She loves Desus. She hates Desus. He beat her brutally, but lay down a compulsion so that she'd do anything to remain in denial, up to killing whoever pointed it out. For years, her Motivation was simply "Please Desus."
- And now she's tracked down Desus' reincarnation, reuniting with him at the scene of their First Age wedding, and then promptly directing him to meet with an ancient Behemoth that is almost certain to kill him.
- She's rewritten as a lot more stable in 3E, if withdrawn and quiet from having spent centuries in owl form.
Leviathan was once second-in-command of the Navy of the Solar Deliberative, one of the highest ranks attained by a Lunar during the First Age. He was the mate and boon companion of Kendik Arkadi — their relationship was extremely close, if entirely non-romantic. Which made it all the more awkward when Leviathan fell hard for Queen Amyana, Kendik's wife and empress of the floating city of Luthe. Their relationship carried on in secret for decades until the Usurpation came. Torn between his mate and his lover, Leviathan tried to save Amyana — only to arrive too late, and having traveled too far to save Kendik. In vengeance, he sunk the entire Navy in one blow, allowed the city of Luthe to fall beneath the waves, and took off. He remained in his spirit shape of an orca for centuries, ruling over the still-inhabited city of Luthe, until the Realm's recent westward expansion finally snapped him out of his funk. Leviathan is now settling into his new role as a Shahan-ya, gathering adherents who have more experience with the current state of the world he turned his back on for so long.
- Adaptational Heroism: In 3E, Leviathan's prejudice towards Dragon-Bloods and their relatives, while still present, has been lightened to a knee-jerk distrust he knows is unfair. He's even friends with a native Luthean Water Caste.
- God Guise: After returning to the sunken Luthe, Leviathan set himself up as god to the Beastmen and descendants of the First Age inhabitants.
- Kraken and Leviathan: It's right there in the name. But he lives up to it, seeing as he has custom shapeshifting Knacks that allow him to count as his own army in mass combat.
- Love Triangle: One of the longest-running and most tragic ones of the First Age.
- Moral Myopia: In 2e, he simply refuses to consider the Traitorspawn, the descendants of the Dragon-Blooded who live in Luthe, are anything resembling people beyond a vent for his anger. But boss around his beastmen? Your death will be slow and agonizing. Averted in 3e, he's a Guardian of all of Luthe.
- My Greatest Failure: Leviathan is still pretty much defined by his failure to save either his mate or his lover. The reincarnation of either, however, might just be enough to snap him out of his funk.
- Revenge Before Reason: In 2e his prejudice comes from his belief that the Traitorspawn are reincarnations of the cadre that killed Amayana. The book itself states that he has no rational reason to believe this. In 3E, averted, as he's perfectly fine with a Water Caste as one of his confidants.
- Supernaturally Validated Trans Person: In 3e, he was born physically female, but his body was remade as a male as part of the Lunar Second Breath.
Rain Deathflyer and Silver Python
Of all the elders of the Silver Pact, Rain Deathflyer and Silver Python might be in the running with Tamuz for greatest success story. Rain was one of the freshest Lunars to enter the Wyld post-Usurpation, having inherited the Exaltation of one of the Lunars who died protecting their mate during the initial betrayal. Silver took a hand in instructing him in the ways of Lunar-kind, and it turned into a steady relationship. When the idea of the Thousand Streams River was floated, they decided to create the Republic of Halta, an experiment in seeing if humans and Beastmen could get along.
Silver Python presumably makes an appearance in DotFA's chargen Lunars picture, representing the No Moon Caste. In female form, for whatever that matters.
- The Extremist Was Right: The goal? Create a nation protected from the Raksha, living mostly in the treetops, where humans, Beastmen and sapient animals all had equal rights. Did it succeed? So far, yes.
- Gender Bender: Lots of Lunars do it, but Silver Python does it regularly, switching genders for alternating twenty year periods as a form of devotion to Luna. Zhe doesn't know which gender zhe started as, and zhe doesn't care.
- If It's You, It's Okay: Averted. Silver Python may regularly switch genders, and Rain may love hir, but he's never made love to hir while zhe's got a man's body. Zhe finds it funny, especially since Rain had no problem siring Beastmen.
- Mentor Ship: Between him and Tamuz.
- Social Darwinist: As Lunars, they know perfectly well that at some point, they're going to need to remove an active hand from Halta and see if it will thrive on its own. What happens after that point, however, might doom their relationship.
Sha'a Oka, the Black Lion
One of the younger shahan-yahs of the Pact, a warlord born in the early years of the Shogunate known for three things; his anger at the Dragon-Blooded occupying the Caul, his tactical genius as a Frontline General, and how many times he's "died." A prototypical reformer warhawk, Oka is an advocate of turning the Silver Pact's Gradual Grinder style of warfare hot, and killing the Realm in one fell swoop.
- Faking the Dead: The undisputed master of this. Oka has, in no particular order, had his corpse burned, been overrun by a legion of Terrestrials, had his very soul torn out and dragged into Lethe, and each time, he's come back at most a couple years being none the worse for wear. It's explicit he's just really clever about playing dead, but many people are seriously wondering if he has a Resurrective Immortality thing going on.
Eastern warlord who spent most of the Shogunate and Second Age asleep. Seems to have been in charge of dealing with Fair Folk during the Era of Dreams. In the lineup of Lunars in the chargen section of Dreams of the First Age, he represents the Full Moons.
- Beast Man: Usually appears in his war form, as an anthropomorphic black jaguar.
- Panthera Awesome: Jaguar-totemed, obviously.
- Sealed Badass in a Can: Hibernated for 700 years until he was accidentally awakened by a Wyld Hunt. This did not go well for them.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: There isn't a single piece of artwork in Exalted that puts anything on Jaguar's upper body.
A veteran of the Usurpation and one of the oldest Lunars to survive into the First Age, as well as the longtime lover of Tamuz. On his deathbed, he gasped out an ominous prophecy before finally succumbing to old age. Anja Silverclaws now bears his Exaltation.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: Right before he died, his old Caste Mark — one of the ones destroyed by the time in the Wyld — flared and he related a vision from Luna to the rest of the Silver Pact. Right around the time the Scarlet Empress vanished and Thorns got conquered, they really started paying attention to what he'd said.
- High Priest: A former Waxing Moon.
- Time Abyss: Ingosh finally kicked off from Creation at the ripe age of 3,162.
An aristocratic girl from Thorns who had the misfortune to be at home when the Mask of Winters invaded. The iconic No Moon for First and Second Edition.
- Boy Meets Ghoul: One of the methods she used to escape from Thorns.
- Cat Girl: Her totem is a housecat, and she's an outrageous flirt. Hell, her illustration in Scroll of Exalts is her in feline mutations and some tight leather. The mutations cover more of her body.
- Dead Guy Junior: Inheritor of the Exaltation of Ingosh Silverclaws.
- I Did What I Had to Do: In order to escape from her native Thorns, she had to perform sexual favors, which occasionally led to Girl Endures Ghoul.
- Trauma Conga Line: After her brothers were killed at the Battle of Mishaka, had to contend with the rest of her family's fate under the dead. No wonder she has Compassion 1...
Heysha Black Asp
A recurring character in the comics. Speaks in an odd lisp (all her "j's" become "y's") and omits certain words, hinting at a French-esque accent.
- Most Common Super Power: Especially in her appearance in Return of the Scarlet Empress.
- Stripperiffic: Her outfit on the Player's Guide cover doesn't make one lick of sense, considering it's supposed to be what she wears in combat, but leaves all her vital organs and limbs completely exposed. And in her original character concept, she just went nude at all times.
A shark-totemed Lunar who attempted to create an egalitarian society out in the West. This ran into a few problems.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: Ten Stripes was aiming for a society where men could farm and women could sail, taking in all comers. What she ended up with was a cultural hodgepodge united almost entirely in their hate of her. That they tried to kill her merely made her proud as she respected their drive. Oh, and those Lintha kids she adopted in are teaching everyone who would listen about their parents' masters...
- Ms. Fanservice: All the official artwork of Ten Stripes presents her in skimpy outfits.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: It's suggested that Ten Stripes has finally realized how badly she screwed up, and is planning to just swim away from Simenare in the middle of the night. Given that thirty percent of the island secretly worships the Yozis, the island's patron god is starved and desperate, and only Ten Stripes knows the terms of the deal that keeps the raksha away from the island's inhabitants, things are going to get interesting when that happens.
- Small Name, Big Ego: She, along with Excessively Righteous Blossom, are explicitly stated to be the failures of the Exalted world. She refuses to consider this.
- Too Dumb to Live: See Gone Horribly Wrong. How the hell did she not catch this!?
Seven Devils Clever
Nexus street urchin who wouldn't give up on her street. Continues not giving up on it as time goes on, but now has the capacity to tear apart Terrestrials.
- Cunning Like a Fox: She's a Changing Moon caste, and her totem is the fox. So, yeah.
- Fantastic Foxes: Her spirit shape.
- Guile Hero: While she does have combat charms and was Exalted in battle, she prefers trickery and stealth to direct confrontation.
- Recruited from the Gutter: Luna Exalted her as she was killing the crime lord who ran her street.
Northern hunter who had the ultimate bad day - every bit of gear broke, every shelter was occupied with wildlife, and it began to snow heavily by the time he had tried these measures. He then proceeded to dig a hole in the snow, which got him Luna's attention. He's the lupine guy with a beard you've undoubtedly seen somewhere in Exalted art, as First and Second Edition's iconic Changing Moon.
- Old Soldier: Was an old man who spent his long life hunting prior to his Second Breath.
- The Stoic: Defends settlements in the North, but never seeks their attention or any accolades at all.
Kajeha Lef was once a Bride of Ahlat, one of the warrior-priestesses of the Southern God of War and Cattle. But Ahlat never came to consummate their union, and she found herself unsatisfied... which is why, when Luna showed up with a better offer, she was willing to leave him behind. Now the former Bride of Ahlat considers herself the Bride of Luna, and she roams Creation on Luna's business, taking her orders directly from the Silver Lady.
- The Champion: For Luna.
- Divine Date: Her special relationship with Luna isn't just metaphorical.
- Happily Married: Well, she considers herself happily married to Luna, anyway.
- Panthera Awesome: Her spirit shape is a leopard.
- Warrior Monk: Her Goal in Life is to destroy the enemies of Luna.
A former slave from Chiaroscuro who now crusades against slavery. Has a bull's legs in every shape he takes; the iconic Full Moon of First and Second Edition.
- A Load of Bull: His spirit shape and Tell.
- An Axe to Grind: His choice of weapon is a double-headed war axe.
- The Chessmaster: Trying to work his way up to this.
- A Load of Bull: Since his Spirit Totem is a bull, his war form greatly resembles a minotaur. His Tell is having the hooves of a bull for feet.
- Mistaken Identity: Because his spirit shape is a bull, when in the South he tends to end up mistaken as Ahlat, the aurochs-headed God of Cattle and Warfare, who gets some of the prayer that would otherwise go to Strength of Many.
- Slave Liberation: Strives to make himself a legend for complete... global... emancipation.
2e's iconic Casteless, former wife of a thaumaturge who dared too much in his attempts to gain recognition from the Salinan Society. "Former" there courtesy of when he summoned a demon. Spends her time protecting her home city and crusading for her cause as a Casteless. Her totem form is a velociraptor.
- Hot Librarian: Works as a scribe and keeps up a repository of magical lore.
- I Just Want to Be Free: The main reason she's Casteless. After living with her controlling husband, she told the No Moon trying to recruit her exactly what he could do with his moonsilver tattoos.
- Meaningful Name: Possibly. Vert means green.
- Shrinking Violet: In human form, wearing a widow's shawl and going about letting Salinan Society members use her dead husband's library.
- Stripperific: When in her beastman shape, dressing in gauzy bits of next to nothing.
Sole survivor of a bandit attack on the caravan her family stayed with. She wandered the desert looking for survivors, and then gained the notice of Luna... though she didn't realize it, being rather cooked in the head from all the sun, and believes the Solar who found her to be the individual who was talking with her in the sandy expanse of the South. Product of the militaristic Illuminated training camp, Kether Rock.
- Berserk Button: Do not threaten Jak. Pia has a lot of patience for a lot of things, but she has no qualms about letting her inner monster out in his defense.
- Cat Girl: Even cuter than Anja (she has a specialty in it), and with far more clothing to boot. Also a deconstruction, as her chipper, cute facade is explicitly what she wishes she were, rather than who she really is.
- Hidden Depths: A cursory glance at her picture in Cult of the Illumintated suggests a genki Cat Girl. Pretty much every other trope here shows what's really going on inside.
- Lunacy: Written around the rules that see Lunars gain Limit toward their Fatal Flaw when they observe the full moon. What happened last time isn't discussed, as she doesn't remember it, but it's left her companion Jak disturbed
- Perky Female Minion: A heroic example, for Jak.
- Rape as Backstory: Has both rape and dead parents in her background as a result of the bandit attack.
- Stepford Smiler: She secretly believes herself to be a monster, which is why she tries so very hard to seem as cute and cheerful and harmless as possible — because she desperately wants it to be true.
Eska of the Seven Blades
A wolf spider-totem warrior from the east, Eska exalted while taking revenge on a tribe that had all but wiped out her own. She was found by an elder named Sublime Danger of the Thousand Daiklave Wings, and splits her time between running errands for them and wandering around the southeast picking fights with anyone she deems strong enough to pose a challenge.
This ties in with their creation as a Super Soldier army for the Solar Exalted. The 5 Elemental Dragons, children of Gaia (a Primordial who had joined the Incarnae against the other Primordials) gifted 100 men and 9,900 women with their powers over Fire, Water, Earth, Air, and Wood. While they served as soldiers in the Primordial War, these first Dragon-Bloods were selected for their health and virility since their main purpose was to reproduce and birth a vast enough army to take on the Primordials and their servants.
After the war they served the Celestial Exalted in family military units called Gentes, each Gens being assigned to 1 Solar and their reincarnations. It was also during the First Age that the Dragon-Blooded started to mate with mortals, which up until then got you, your kid, and whoever you slept with dead. This reduced the 'purity' of the Dragon-Bloods, so from then on the children of Dragon-Bloods didn't have a 100% guarantee of Exalting.
Near the end of the First Age, after being subjugated to the tyranny and madness of the Solars and being manipulated by the Sidereals, the Terrestrials usurped their Solar masters. After the Usurpation the Dragon-Bloods ruled all of Creation in the Shogunate era, which was noted to have their rulers constantly get killed by the next rulers.
Things went mostly well enough though, until the Deathlords (powerful ghosts of the Solars they slew) released the Great Contagion that killed 90% of the population. Then the Fair Folk attacked in an alliance with the Deathlords, destroying half of Creation.
When all seemed lost, several Dragon-Bloods journeyed to the Imperial Manse to use the Realm Defense Grid (also called the Sword of Creation) to save Creation. Only one managed to get through its defenses, save Creation, and come out alive. Her name seems to have disappeared from the texts of history and the memories of everyone who ever knew her (pretty normal occurrence in Creation, in other words), but people call her the Scarlet Empress.
She built the Scarlet Dynasty from the ground up, and unlike the Shogunate it only directly ruled the Blessed Isle. Nevertheless, the Realm became the foremost superpower in Creation, being the pinnacle of civilization and military might. There were rivals though, most notably the other Terrestrial ruled state of Lookshy, so the Realm only indirectly ruled several territories in the Threshold outside of the Blessed Isle through puppet governments.
The Empress took on multiple lovers over the years, and, via her consorts and children, founded the 11 Great Houses who bickered for power, as well as other organizations that didn't exactly get along. It didn't really matter though, since as long as she was in charge the Realm would operate smoothly.
Now the Realm is in disarray as the Great Houses try to get who they want on the throne in a political system that wasn't made to handle a missing Empress, their secret Sidereal manipulators are bickering over letting the Dragon-Bloods continue to be the rulers of Creation or having the Solars return as the rightful rulers, and the forces of Hell, the Underworld and the Wyld are ready to take a bite into this half-dead but still powerful Empire.
Since the Terrestrials are the most numerous of the Exalted, we'll also list all of their organizations since they're pretty... colorful in their own right.
Tropes associated with all Terrestrials
- All Your Colors Combined: Certain Dragon-Blooded Charms, such as Elemental Bolt, produce much more explosive results if multiple Dragon-Blooded contribute to them.
- Elemental Powers: Their five Aspects (not Castes) are Earth, Air, Water, Fire, and Wood.
- Elite Mooks: Zig-zagged. The Dragon-Blooded were explicitly designed as the 'regular' soldiers of the Exalted, and as such far outnumber the other types of Exalted, but are comparatively weak individually. This does not mean you should ever make the mistake of underestimating their abilities or write them off as irrelevant - every single Dragon-Blooded has the capacity to kick your ass.
- In general, it's also a point of contention in the fandom that Dragon-Blooded don't get the same respect as Celestial Exalted - that is, they are often viewed as 'mere' Mooks instead of individual heroes or villains in their own right.
- In 3rd edition, it's noted that if a battle group made up primarily of Dragon-Blooded were to be formed, it could have the highest level of Might, to express just how strong they are. However, it's also noted that such forces have never been seen since the First Age, because even if a large number of Dragon-Blooded gather together, it's usually better to stat them up as individual heroes in their own right.
- Lovable Sex Maniac: Well, how lovable they are depends on the individual, but Dragon-Blooded as a whole have RIDICULOUS sex drives (primarily in 2e).
- Soldier vs. Warrior: They are on the Soldier side of things, intended to work together in groups, as an organized force, unlike other types of battle-oriented Exalted, who tend to be powerful warriors who work better on their own. This mentality can also be seen in the setting's Big Book of War, designed for Dragon-Blooded, The Ten Thousand Correct Actions of the Upright Soldier.
- Super Breeding Program: The Realm and Lookshy are both running Dragon-Blooded breeding programs, though with different focuses. The Realm is looking to restore the purity of their Blood (thus making their individual members stronger), while Lookshy is just hoping to make as many Dragon-Blooded children as possible.
- Superpowerful Genetics: The Dragon-Blooded manifest their powers based on their heritage and genetics - a person with two Dragon-Blooded parents has a much much greater chance to Exalt than a person with only one Dragon-Blooded parent, or a single Dragon-Blooded ancestor (even if it's still terribly unlikely).
The Scarlet Dynasty
The Scarlet Empress had taken the Realm, but even with control of the Sword of Creation and the backing of the Bronze Faction, she was in a precarious position. The Shogunate had been a long succession of one military coup or assassination after another, and there was no guarantee it wouldn't continue. Her solution was to create a government that was highly effective as long as she was heading it...but was pretty much guaranteed to fall apart the instant she wasn't there.
The Realm's aristocracy currently consists of eleven Great Houses, each named for a consort or child of the Empress from whom the extended family descends. The blood of the Dragons runs strong in the Empress' children, and social and religious teachings about the inherent superiority of the Dragon-Blooded and their divine right to rule Creation help prevent rebellion by the commoners against their Exalted lords. To ensure that her own descendants couldn't threaten her position, the Empress followed a Divide and Conquer strategy: the Houses were encouraged to compete against each other for status, and the Empress alternately favored first one and then another, carefully working to prevent any single faction from gaining too much power.
While she was around, the Scarlet Empress kept a close eye on things, harnessing her descendants' ambitions for the good of the Realm. Since her disappearance, though, there's been nothing to keep the Great Houses' Deadly Decadent Court tendencies in check, and they almost immediately grew out of control. Each family wastes its attention on petty political squabbles, ignoring the serious threats looming over all Creation. At this point, Civil War seems inevitable...
... unless, of course, the player characters take it upon themselves to head it off.
- Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Dynasty as a whole and each Great House individually. In fact, family issues are a cultural touchstone of a dynast's life. Most parents barely see their children, letting the caretakers do it for them. In a dynast's family, if you're a kid and eating together at dinner with your parent, *you're being judged*.
- The Clan: The Great Houses.
- Culture Chop Suey: The deliberate kind. The Realm's culture is mostly a mix of Imperial Rome and various Chinese dynasties, but it's also got elements of Achaemenid Persia, the Tokugawa Shogunate, and pretty much any other premodern Old World empire you could name.
- Cultured Badass: Every Dynast is expected to be a competent scholar, dancer, musician and so on...as well as a powerful warrior, no matter what their profession. Also seen in their charms; many of them have a secondary combat application even in non combat abilities.
- Deadly Decadent Court: Especially since the Scarlet Empress disappeared, thus removing the one thing that was keeping everyone else in line.
- Divided We Fall: The Dragon-Blooded were designed to be at their best when working as a team, which is why the Dynasty's complete failure to stop bickering and work together is really unfortunate.
- The Empire: They rule the world, and if you're a Celestial, they're out for your guts.
- Everyone Is Bi: The Realm doesn't put a great deal of importance on sexual orientation; you can sleep with whoever you want, so long as you produce more legitimate heirs for your House.
- Feuding Families: By the Empress' design.
- Manly Gay: Being gay is perfectly socially acceptable, as long as you're willing to do your duty by marrying a member of the opposite sex and procreating. Effeminate behavior, on the other hand, is emphatically not okay, regardless of your gender.
- Matriarchy: A very mild example; the Realm is at least as gender-egalitarian as any modern first world country, and whether you're Exalted or not counts for far more than a little thing like your sex. To the extent that there is sexism, though, it tends to favor women. This makes sense, considering the Realm's savior and leader is the Scarlet Empress.
- In third edition, the head of a Dragon Blooded household is referred to as the "Matriarch" regardless of their actual gender.
- Proud Warrior Race: Even the bureaucrats of the Dynasty are expected to be at least as competent in battle as a decent mortal fighter.
- Training from Hell: Pretty much your whole childhood, if you're a Dynast.
- Vestigial Empire: While the Realm is far more stable than the Shogunate ever was, it's drastically reduced in the amount of territory it controls. Note, however, that it still controls a number of satrapies and colonies, and fields a military that dwarfs every other nation on the planet.
- We ARE Struggling Together: As it turns out, the Scarlet Empress was the only thing holding them together. Now that she's gone...
The Realm's ruling council, the Deliberative, is a bicameral legislature. The upper house, the Greater Chamber, consists entirely of Exalted Dynasts who are appointed by their Great Houses and approved by the Empress (or, today, the Regent); they have the ability to propose legislation. The patricians and nobles from tributary states who make up the Lesser Chamber are appointed by senators from the Greater Chamber, and can veto proposals with a two-thirds majority vote. Proposals that pass both chambers become law unless vetoed by the Empress or Regent. (In theory, the Deliberative can overturn the Empress' veto...with an almost unanimous vote in both chambersnote . Yeah, right, it happened once: there were no survivors.)
The Deliberative was designed with a few specific goals in mind — to handle issues the Empress didn't care about enough to bother with, to give the government an air of legitimacy and rule of law by rubber stamping the laws she did want passed, and to allow the aristocracy of the Realm to feel as if they had a voice in government without giving them any power that actually mattered. The one thing it was absolutely never designed to be, in other words, is a powerful and effective governing body. Which probably stopped seeming like a great idea right around the time people realized the Empress wasn't coming back for a while.
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: Subverted. The Empress placed no limit on the number of Senators so if a majority who disagreed with the Empress's intentions started to form, she could pump Senators who supported her into the Greater Chamber to shift the balance in her favour without taking any hostile actions.
- The Artifact: In-Universe. The original Deliberative actually was Creation's ruling body, being essentially the Solar Parliament. In the Age of Sorrows, it exists simply to create the appearance that the Realm isn't an autocracy, which it very much is. (It's kind of like the Roman Senate that way...)
- Blood on the Debate Floor: Duels and plain old fistfights are a fairly regular occurrence. One time, the Empress became so fed up with the Deliberative vetoing her decrees that she just blocked off the exits and sent the army in to kill everyone.
- Kicked Upstairs: Appointment to the Deliberative is a traditional way to get annoying reformers out of the way — they'll get distracted with the futile task of trying to fix things from within the system.
- The Mole: Manosque Cyan, who seems to be working to convince the Lesser Chamber that in this time of crisis, they should be spending more time on thoughtful discussion and less on, you know, actually doing anything.
- Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering: Their intended function is to merely pretend they're actually doing something.
- Sleazy Politician: Lots of them, all trying to advance their personal ambitions or those of their Great Houses rather than addressing any of the Realm's real problems.
The Thousand Scales
The Dragon-Blooded of the Scarlet Dynasty like to think of themselves as warrior-aristocrats, proving their right to rule through the strength of their arms and sheer military might. The truth is a little more prosaic. In reality, the Realm is a highly centralized and urbanized empire, and while it does need protectors, it needs bureaucrats a lot more. All Dynasts train as warriors, but for every one actually serving as a soldier in the legions, another can be found playing an equally vital role as a clerk, accountant, postal courier, satrap, prefect, administrator, or dozens of other civil service positions. If the legions are the empire's fangs and talons, the ministers of the Imperial Service are the scales of the dragon.
- Badass Bureaucrat: As Exalted who are bureaucrats, they are this.
- Beleaguered Bureaucrat: They are also this, given their workload.
- Desk Jockey: Arguably, the Thousand Scales are as important to the Realm as its legions - making sure the world's largest empire runs efficiently or at all is not a glamorous job, but it is a very necessary one.
- Name That Unfolds Like Lotus Blossom: Sure, there are lots of these all over the world of Exalted, but only in the Thousand Scales can you get a job as one of the Infallible Conveyers of Official Messages and Heartfelt Expressions (also known as the postal service).
- Vast Bureaucracy: They're called the Thousand Scales for a reason.
Acting as both judges and internal affairs investigators for The Realm, Magistrates were in theory answerable only to The Empress, which gave them impressive power while she was alive, and now makes them very vulnerable. It doesn't help that their previous level of protection made a lot of them happy to trample over the afairs of Dynasts, knowing that their patron's protection made them almost untouchable. Now many are in hiding or performing investigations that just so happen to take them a long way away from The Realm. The fact that most are not members of The Great Houses only increases their vulnerability. They employ agents known as archons who are often criminals given a choice between service or death. The higher a Magistrate's rank, the more archons he can employ.
- Cowboy Cop: Many of them are like this, willing to upset anyone and everyone to find their targets.
- Judge, Jury, and Executioner: Their authority and ability to dispense justice theoreticaly vast. These days, not so much in practice.
- Ragtag Bunchof Misfits: What a magistrate's archons can be.
The All-Seeing Eye
The All-Seeing Eye started as a loose, informal collection of informants, but as the Scarlet Empress consolidated her rule, it expanded into one of the most efficient and powerful espionage networks in Creation. Unlike the other ministries, you don't apply to join the Eye; if they decide they want your talents, they'll come to you, whether you're a Dragon-Blood, a patrician, a Sidereal, a beggar or a slave. The intrepid secret agents of the All-Seeing Eye can be found in every imaginable profession throughout the Blessed Isle, the Threshold and beyond, ferreting out threats to the Realm from tax evasion to high treason to incursions by the Anathema.
- Calling Card: Employed by the Eye as a weapon of terror: if you find their insignia — a single open eye — somewhere in your belongings, put your affairs in order, because you're already dead. Actually, no, that's just what they want you to think; it really means you're being considered as a recruit. If you're dumb enough to tell anyone what you found, then you're not the kind of person they're looking for, and you'll be killed to keep the story going. Keep your mouth shut and don't do anything stupid for a week or so, though, and you'll be approached with an invitation.
- Cloak & Dagger: They cover all the standard exciting espionage tropes you'd expect, but as noted in the description, they also do mundane stuff like uncover tax evasion.
- Cosmopolitan Council: The Eye is probably the most egalitarian organization in the Realm. If you've got the skills and the dedication, you're in.
- Government Agency of Fiction: The All-Seeing Eye is an urban legend within the Realm. People may have heard of them, but officially they don't exist.
The Imperial Legions
Creation's a scary place, and the Realm has always kept a standing army. For the Dragon-Blooded of the Scarlet Dynasty, who see themselves as something of a Proud Warrior Race, a history of honorable service in the legions is a major bonus to your social status. For Lost Eggs, military service is the only way to integrate yourself into the Realm's high society unless you want to take vows as an Immaculate monk. For commoners, it's one of the few legitimate and accepted ways to improve your social status.
At one time, the Imperial Legions were indisputably the most powerful military force in Creation. Like so much else, that's changed with the Scarlet Empress' disappearance. She wasn't gone long before the Deliberative seized the opportunity to drastically cut centralized funding for the military and assign individual legions to individual Great Houses instead. Once proud defenders of the Realm, they're increasingly finding themselves to be mere pawns in the political squabbles of Feuding Families, and there's a good chance legion will be fighting legion in the Realm Civil War while Creation falls to pieces around them.
Nearly any of the Military and Warfare Tropes can apply here, but in particular:
- Boot Camp Episode: Most Dragon-Blooded legionnaires attended the House of Bells, the most badass of military academies.
- Gender Is No Object: Would you want to try and tell the Scarlet Empress women don't belong on the battlefield?
- Though to be more accurate, it's actually males that are given prejudice across the Dynasty, including the legions. Not much, but it's there. (In 1e and 2e, this was more nominal than anything else; in 3e, it's an integrated part of the Dynasty's depiction.)
- Mounted Combat: Averted, mostly; it takes special Charms for a Dragon-Blood to channel Essence on horseback (or mounts such as simhata) without their anima banner harming the mount, so the Realm usually doesn't bother. If necessary, they hire mercenaries or use other local forces for their cavalry units.
- The Squad: As the Dragon-Blooded excel at teamwork, the Realm's military doctrine is based around squad tactics. You're assigned to a five-man team as soon as you arrive at the House of Bells, and graded as a group.
The Imperial Navy
The Wyld Hunt
After the Usurpation, the Terrestrials and Sidereals realized that while MOST Anathema had seemingly vanished (most of the Solar Exaltations were trapped in the Sidereal Jade Prison and the Lunars got the hell out of Dodge), occasionally, a few would start making a mess out of things, and the Sidereals needed a way to make damn sure they didn't ruin the plans of the nascent Shogunate. The answer to this was the Wyld Hunt, brotherhoods of Dragon Blooded trained in Celestial Martial Arts, and sent to fight the Celestial Exalted while they were still young, to ensure that they died before they could reach higher levels of power. This had... varying levels of success.
The Shogunate Era saw the Hunt being quite effective, forcing the Lunars to stay in the Wyld, and ensuring the twenty-some Solar Exaltations didn't stay in one host for very long. Things went down the toilet during the Balorian Crusade and the Contagion, but scaled up when the Scarlet Empress took over... and finally petered out to near nothing after she vanished, the Hunt becoming a shadow of its former self due to the resources funding it going to support Dynastic Families hoping to claim power in the inevitable Civil War.
Today, it's basically used to keep troublemakers (such as the murderous Peleps Deled) off the Island, while providing a show of force in the Threshold.
- Church Militant: They're the roving, militant wing of the Immaculate Order; even mortal members of the Hunt know Terrestrial Martial Arts, and the Dragon Blooded members usually know one of the Five Elemental Dragon styles designed SPECIFICALLY (by a Sidereal, of course) to kick the shit out of Spirits and neophyte Celestials.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: A common method of getting rid of troublesome Dynasts is to stick them out in a satrap, or just tag them into the Wyld Hunt, and hope eventually some Anathema or another kills them. This has varying degrees of success, and at least one troublemaker, the aforementioned Deled, saw it as a promotion... when it was really an attempt to get him off the Isle due to his unfortunate habit of killing anyone who disagreed with his interpretations of the Immaculate Texts.
The Immaculate Order
In the aftermath of the Usurpation, it's not surprising that some folk religions sprang up that cast the Celestial Exalted as mad demons and looked up to the Terrestrial Exalted as holy saviors. The Immaculate Faith got its start as one of these Shogunate belief systems. It held that every Dragon-Blood was a kind of living Buddha who had purified his or her soul over many lifetimes and achieved union with the Essence of Creation. All living things were walking the same road toward enlightenment, hopefully drawing closer to Terrestrial Exaltation with each rebirth. The pinnacle of spiritual achievement was represented by the Immaculate Dragons — five legendary Dragon-Blooded heroes who had supposedly led the war against the Solar Anathema, each representing mastery of a different type of elemental Essence.
When the Sidereal Bronze Faction began working with the Empress to design the society of the Realm, they realized this was just what they were looking for. They carefully redesigned the Immaculate Faith into a Path of Inspiration designed to enforce social control. The Bronze Faction's version of the faith, known as the Immaculate Philosophy, emphasizes respect for hierarchy above all else. The highest duty of all mortals is absolute obedience to the Dragon-Blooded, their divinely appointed rulers. Beyond that, know your place, work to benefit the community, and respect your superiors - the way to improve your lot in life is to work toward a better reincarnation. Don't pray to any gods; the Immaculates will tell you when each one has their allotted feast day, and worrying about them beyond that will just distract you from spiritual advancement. Above all else, resist the Anathema in any way you can — they aren't true Exalted at all, but ancient sorcerers who stole the power of the sun, moon and stars through foul demonic pacts, and their lies will only lead you to ruin.
These rules are enforced in the Realm by the monks of the Immaculate Order. Aside from meditation, studying theology and all your other usual monkly duties, all of them train in martial arts — and the Dragon-Blooded among them are initiated into Celestial martial arts, allowing them to face down demons, rogue gods, and even the Anathema as formidable opponents. These heroic figures wander the countryside teaching the young, fighting sin, heresy, and injustice, and protecting the faithful from all manner of supernatural threats.
And, of course, the whole thing is still masterminded by the Bronze Faction, who have the entire Order quite firmly under their thumbs. Don't get too cynical — about 90% of the Immaculate Order's teachings really are objectively true, making it probably one of the most accurate religions in Creation when it comes to its picture of how the world works. (The prohibition on unauthorized prayer, for instance, really is quite sensible as a way to prevent bribery and corruption in the Celestial Bureaucracy.) The problem is that the other 10% includes stuff like "Kill all Solars on sight" and "Your Terrestrial lord and master has a sacred duty to treat you like crap, so you'd better take it and like it".
- All Monks Know Kung-Fu: Being that they're inspired by Chinese Monks, it makes sense.
- Church Militant: Hello Solar/Lunar. Meet the Wyld Hunt. You are going to hate them very quickly.
- Corrupt Church: Averted. Immaculate doctrine is based on pre-Empress beliefs, most of which were actually pretty much true, before they were reworked to prop up the burgeoning Realm. The Immaculate Order is an imperialist cultural weapon used to further the Realm's conquest, but most of the followers, both higher ups and the laymen, are as genuine as any other follower of religion.
- The Man Behind the Man: The Sidereal Bronze Faction. There's a reason "Mouth of Peace" sounds so much like "mouthpiece."
- Path of Inspiration: The Immaculate Philosophy counts as one of these from one perspective — it's definitely designed as a tool for social control, several of its core tenets are completely bogus fabrications, and its Dragon-Blooded leaders are sincere believers. Depending on how you look at it, it could also be seen as a few other related but distinct tropes.
- Religious Bruiser: Every single Immaculate.
- Scam Religion: While the Order's ostensible leaders are largely sincere, the Bronze Faction Sidereals who actually run the whole thing take a considerably more cynical point of view.
- Warrior Monk: See the Wyld Hunt entry above, with which the Immaculates are commonly associated.
- You Didn't Ask: Third edition establishes that since plenty of Immaculate Doctrine comes from the First Age or early Second Age, it's acknowledged that Solars and Lunars are Exalted of the sun and moon respectively suffering from With Great Power Comes Great Insanity. The monks decided that this is probably too confusing for most people and decided to let them believe the Anathema suffer Demonic Possession without ever really confirming or denying it, only explaining the truth to trusted monks who go looking for it.
The Imperial Houses
The largest and most powerful of the Great Houses, House Mnemon has strong ties to the Heptagram and the Immaculate Order, producing many — perhaps even most — of the Realm's sorcerers and monks. More than any other Great House, House Mnemon cannot be understood without understanding its leader, Mnemon herself. She takes, shall we say, an unusually hands-on approach to running the family, and has forged her descendants into a finely-honed tool for advancing her own ambitions.
- Magical Society: House Mnemon produces so many sorcerers, it might as well be.
Aspected toward Fire, Cathak is another large and powerful House, though not quite as big as House Mnemon. A family with a strong military tradition, they're probably the strongest of the Great Houses in terms of their legions. House Cathak is respected throughout the Realm for its devotion to tradition and discipline.
- Attack! Attack! Attack!: Cathak soldiers are known for their valor... and not for their smarts, though nobody says it to their faces.
- Black Magic: The Dynasty in general tends to view sorcerers as creepy nerds, but House Cathak really does not like sorcery. Even the few sorcerers who are in House Cathak don't get invited to Cathak parties.
- Comes Great Responsibility: They're very big on instilling a sense of duty and discipline in every Cathak scion. You would be too, if you were raising children who might suddenly develop the ability to burst into flame at any point in their adolescence.
- Proud Warrior Race: Of the soldier variety.
The other Houses just don't know what to do with House Cynis. In a society that values the ideal of strict military discipline above nearly all else, the Wood-Aspected House Cynis has cultivated a reputation of culturally sensitive artists and doctors who are also a bunch of utterly debauched hedonists.
This reputation is somewhat exaggerated. Sure, the Cynis social scene revolves around regular orgies. And, sure, they control the Realm's prostitution...and drug trade...and slave trade. That doesn't mean they're the lazy, useless socialites the other Houses would sometimes like to think, though. When it comes down to it, the Cynis are also the beating heart of the Realm's culture, and the best doctors in the Scarlet Dynasty - and if push comes to shove House Cynis is a wealthy and powerful family...and one with access to a lot of information about the secret vices of nearly every prominent figure in the Dynasty. Those medicines can be poisons just as easily...
- Casual Kink: If there is a fetish, odds are there's a Cynis out there with it.
- Deadly Doctor: Underestimate House Cynis' expertise in herbology and biology at own peril.
- Eccentric Artist: Tamer Cynis tend to be just as debauched and artistic, but are nicer about it.
- Everybody Has Lots of Sex: To them, "orgy" and "party" are synonyms. And like all Dynasts, they love to party.
- The Hedonist: Read their entry again, why don't you? Hell, in 3e their house founder died of *overdose*, and she was a Wood Aspect, who are immune to most poisons.
- Hookers and Blow: Their favorite pastimes.
- Love Is a Weakness: Downplayed. House Cynis is a huge fan of following your heart...in regards to concubines. Actually loving your spouse is going to result in them barely keeping a straight face.
- Mad Artist: Meaner Cynis, and there's a lot more mean Cynic than tame ones.
- Mr. Vice Guy: Nicer members of the House. The others are just depraved.
- Opium Den: Anything in the holdings of Cynis, ever.
- Sexual Extortion: If you mildly piss them off, they won't hesitate to use this. Really pissing them off makes them sadistic.
- The Social Expert: They are the social butterflies-and wasps-of the Blessed Isle.
- Wicked Cultured: They are proudly this, especially in 3E.
Aspected toward Fire, House Sesus has a powerful military...and not a lot else going for it. At least, not publicly; in truth, House Sesus are the House that is the hidden recruiting grounds for members of the All-Seeing Eye; while they are competent soldiers, their real skill lies in gathering battlefield intelligence and organizing networks of spies. Loyal friends of Mnemon and Cynis, House Sesus is the hidden underhand of those who would seek to take the Scarlet Throne...and increasingly, they are beginning to wonder if Mnemon herself would be such a good queen.
- Combat Pragmatist: Other Houses seek honor and glory in battle. Sesus finds glory in winning. Needless to say, Cathak and Tepet really don't like them, and they return the disfavor.
- Gang of Bullies: The Sesus Chenow household, known for being a pack of nasty Blood Knights and general jerkasses.
- Genius Bruiser: Their namesake, and an ideal to achieve in Sesus thought.
- Kicked Upstairs: Actual dumbasses and thugs tend to end up getting this fate, to help with the Obfuscating Stupidity.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: They do their best to seem like thugs without much other than their armies going for them. This is exactly what they want you to think.
- Took a Level in Badass: In First and Second Editions, they were dumb thugs and little more than Mnemon's goon squad. Third Edition makes that an elaborate ruse by extremely canny Combat Pragmatists
- The Spymaster: Their specialty. Cathak can outthink them, Peleps can outsail them, and Tepet (once) could outshine them...but nobody holds nearly as much intel as them.
Only a few years ago, the Air-Aspected House Tepet was a powerful family, known for producing many of the Realm's finest soldiers and sorcerers. Today, it's a pitiful and decaying shell of what it used to be.
In one of the Realm's greatest military disasters in recent memory, the bulk of the Tepet forces were slaughtered by the armies of the Bull of the North at the Battle of Futile Blood. In a single stroke, the House lost its military strength and much of its population. Now crippled and impoverished, House Tepet is desperately trying to rebuild its power base through adoptions and marriage alliances, but they simply don't have the resources left to do much more than stave off the inevitable for a while. No one's saying it yet, but as the other Houses gather like hungry vultures, deep down every Tepet knows the truth: their House is doomed.
Doomed, that is, unless the last remaining Tepet general — a promising young officer nicknamed "the Roseblack" — has anything to say about it...
- Impoverished Patrician: Their fortunes have not been particularly good of late.
- Riches to Rags: Previously would have been a kingmaker house, if it wouldn't have seized the throne itself with the disappearance of the Empress. In more than one place the ravaging of their house is stated to have been deliberate, to cripple a house growing too large and too powerful for the Empire's good.
- Proud Warrior Race Guy: They used to follow a more 'heroic' bent compared to Cathak's soldier and Sesus' underhandedness. Shame that the Battle of Futile Blood happened....
All the Empress' children were highly intelligent, but Ledaal was something special. The Empress made sure to supply the young prodigy with the kind of education it took to challenge her growing intellect — including the very best in Sidereal tutors.
Today, the Air-Aspected House Ledaal follows the traditions set by its founder as a House of accomplished intellectuals and sorcerers... and their Sidereal consultants. This gives the Ledaal a rather different perspective on some issues than the other Great Houses. For instance, having made a close study of historical records of Anathema sightings, Ledaal scholars have realized that the Deathknights are a new phenomenon — and one that has the potential to be far more dangerous than the Solar and Lunar Anathema ever were.
Unfortunately, not only have they had no luck convincing the other Great Houses of this, the other Houses are so caught up in their Deadly Decadent Court intrigues that they refuse to believe Ledaal has different priorities. Every time House Ledaal suggests something like refocusing the Wyld Hunt's priorities on the Abyssals, the rest of the Dynasty assumes it's part of some cunning and subtle political scheme. It's gotten to the point that Ledaal has put forward one of its own as a candidate for the Scarlet Throne — albeit a candidate with no real chance of succeeding — just so the other Houses will stop assuming Ledaal's lack of a candidate is some sort of ruse.
- Ignored Expert: They happen to have a pretty good idea of what's wrong with the Realm. The Realm does not listen.
- Magical Society: The Ledaal Catala household.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: If you want to run a game about getting the Scarlet Dynasty to unite and focus on the real problems facing Creation, House Ledaal is among your likeliest allies.
The other Great Houses see the Water-Aspected House Peleps as a pack of scheming, treacherous liars and cheats who'd sell their own grandmothers for the slightest political advantage. This is pretty much true — even within the House itself, scions of House Peleps are raised in an environment of intense political intrigue and no-holds-barred competition. In their defense, though, their motivations are not entirely selfish; House Peleps is unshakably loyal to the Realm and its interests.
Traditionally, the basis of Peleps' power in the Realm has been their control of the Imperial Navy. Unfortunately, shortly before her disappearance, the Empress decided to remind them who was boss by reassigning the Merchant Fleet to House V'neef — something that still rankles in the hearts of most Peleps.
- Big, Screwed-Up Family: These are true of all the Great Houses, but Peleps raises them to an art form.
- Bilingual Bonus: The Peleps Kaizoku line is a household of privateers. Kaizoku is Japanese for "pirate."
- Black Magic: They dislike sorcery almost as much as House Cathak.
This Water-Aspected House was a favorite of the Scarlet Empress... up until a few centuries ago, when a group of unusually reckless and stupid young Iselsi staged an ill-conceived attempt to assassinate her. While the perpetrators were all caught and tortured to death, the Empress had no choice but to make an example of the entire House for not putting a stop to the plot in the first place. Nearly all the House's possessions were seized, the House elders were arrested on trumped-up charges, and the Empress continued making sure to have a few Iselsi exiled or executed every few years thereafter. Though a tattered and disgraced remnant still exists, it's clear to everyone that the Empress intended to dismantle House Iselsi as slowly and painfully as possible.
Or at least, that's what she wanted everyone to think. Fond as she was of the Iselsi, the Empress saw their punishment as an opportunity. Many of the Iselsi who were reported killed or exiled were actually placed in high-ranking positions within the magistracy, the All-Seeing Eye and the Immaculate Order under assumed names. This gave the Empress a powerful network of spies and secret police whose loyalty she could be certain of, as the family had no official position to speak of and were solely dependent on her covert backing. Eventually, the plan was to stage some dramatic act of heroism on the part of the remaining known Iselsi that would allow her to restore the House to its former glory.
Unfortunately for House Iselsi, the Empress' disappearance has put a bit of a kink in that plan...and they are not happy.
- Deep Cover Agent: Their current livelihood.
- Impoverished Patrician: ...and what they get in return.
- Revenge: They have been stewing in their grudge against the other Houses for a very, very long time. Now that the Empress is gone, they feel they can finally start working towards it.
Once, it was a popular joke to call House Ragara "the Imperial Bank." Today, it's long since ceased to be a joke. A long series of shrewd investments and strategic marriage alliances has made the Earth-Aspected House Ragara by far the wealthiest of the Realm's Great Houses. They're entirely willing to share their good fortune with others...at reasonable rates of interest, of course. But don't worry — if you can't pay them back in jade, favors or valuable information will do just as well.
- Every Man Has His Price: Their House's philosophy.
- Evil Debt Collector: The House is ecstatic when they get to pressure people via debts, since that's how they find political influence.
- Mad Scientist: Ragara loves them some forbidden magic experiments.
- Morally Bankrupt Banker: Bit on the amoral side. Even compared to the other Houses.
- Work Off the Debt: Everybody is in debt to Ragara, and they love the ability to force this on their debtors.
By far the youngest and smallest of the Great Houses, House V'neef is off to an excellent start. A House of very strong breeding, nearly all V'neef's scions so far have Exalted as Wood Aspects, and wise investments in vineyards and firedust have given the family a strong financial base. Prior to her disappearance, the Empress showed the House a great deal of favor as well, even granting them control of the Realm's Merchant Fleet. This favoritism did not endear House V'neef to the rest of the Scarlet Dynasty, but thanks to her extraordinary charisma and a hefty dose of cunning, V'neef has been able to keep the other Great Houses from ganging up on her family in the Empress' absence... at least, so far.
- Blue Blood: The bluest in the Dynasty.
- The Gunslinger: V'neef has quietly made sure all her children are trained in the use of firewands.
- Parental Favoritism: The other Houses view House V'neef collectively as the Empress' pets.
- Wine Is Classy: Made much of their money in vineyards, and the House mon is a stylized bunch of grapes.
Nellens was one of the Empress' mortal consorts, and one she must have cared for a great deal, for after his death she took the unprecedented step of granting his children the status of a Great House. The only Great House founded by the un-Exalted, House Nellens has still not managed to achieve anything like the Exaltation rates enjoyed by the other families of the Scarlet Dynasty, and is generally thought of as the mortal House. This makes them a bit of a joke to the Dragon-Bloods of the other Houses, who generally treat even the few Nellens who do Exalt with mild contempt. On the other hand, though, seeing a mortal family holding the same status as the major Dragon-Blooded lines does a great deal to endear House Nellens to patricians and un-Exalted Dynasts, an advantage the other Great Houses are rather foolish to ignore.
- Badass Normal: Collectively, for holding their own in a political environment dominated by — and designed to favor — the Terrestrial Exalted.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: De facto leader of the Confederation Of Rivers because they have the best soldiers and the scariest weapons. To be fair they're usually fairly nice about it.
- Deadly Decadent Court: Averted and pretty much the only Dragon-Blooded society to do so. The Lookshy General Staff is exactly that; a General Staff, a military hierarchy. While there's some scheming here and there most of Lookshy's leaders are far too dedicated to their duty.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: A combination of Feudal Japan and Sparta.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Compared to the Realm at least. They are also a big Dragon-Blooded power and have a huge, highly effective army but they don't treat mortals like cattle, they rarely if ever use slavery and they've not once tried to subjugate other nations. In fact they constantly bust their balls to keep the other Scavenger Lands nations free of outside forces. They even have a much more relaxed version of the Immaculate Order and don't immediately try to kill all Celestials...
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: They detonated a Soulbreaker Orb, essentially a soul nuke, on a Realm army besieging Lookshy. They weren't even losing. That was more to do with the fact that it was NOT the first time the Realm had tried to take them over (Blockades, Pirates, and at least two full scale invasions had harried them from the beginning), but it was INDEED the last time the Scarlet Empress attempted to conquer the Seventh Legion (Nothing quite says 'Don't fuck with us ever again' like shredding the souls of half an Imperial Legion).
The Seventh Legion
- Elite Army: Keeping with the Sparta metaphor, Lookshy has about a fifth the Dragon-Blooded and a fraction of the numbers of the Realm, but due to technological superiority and better training, can defend themselves in a conventional war against any force the Realm is able to bring to bear. This is before they break out the WMDs.
- Private Military Contractors: Are hired out as this or trainers to the rest of the Scavenger Lands to 1: Make sure other nations can defend themselves and 2: Remind everyone how much better at fighting Lookshy is and how foolish it would be to fight them.
- Too Awesome to Use: A real problem. They have so many lovely First Age weapons and artefacts but are incapable of fixing most of them. Once they get broken, they're gone.
- Where Does He Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: Stockpiled a huge pile of First Age weapons, more than any other group including the Realm. It is no coincidence that they've not lost a war since the Contagion.
The Signature Sworn Kinship (of Third Edition)
Sesus EshuvarThe iconic Air Aspect, a former member of the Imperial Navy.
- Arranged Marriage: Eshuvar is married to the unexalted Mnemon Rela and even has two children with her, but he hates her and openly cheats on her out of spite. Ironically, if they weren't married, they'd probably be friends.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He's actually an extremely accomplished sorcerer, even summoning the neomah that allowed River and her wife to have a child, but he has cultivated an image of a philandering socialite.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Sometime by RY 758, Eshuvar became dissatisfied with his life despite doing everything expected of a Dynast of the Realm. Even cheating on his wife isn't as satisfying as it used to be.
- Hazy Feel Turn: The Wyld Hunt he took part in fifty years ago made him determined to be a better person and if it weren't for the wealth, privilege and comfortable life of a dynast, he probably would be.
- Parental Neglect: As typical of a Dynastic parent, his children don't really elicit more than a Minor Tie of Distant Interest.
- Your Cheating Heart: Aside from his many affairs, he and Mathar have developed romantic feelings for each other, but as of yet it hasn't gone any further.
Kingfisher SwiftThe iconic Earth Aspect, an outcaste who 'took the coin' and joined the Imperial legions, marrying into a wealthy patrician family. Now head of her family's household guard.
- Court-Martialed: The Great Houses forced her out of her legion by charging her with insubordination; the trial took place over a single afternoon.
- The Heretic: Downplayed; she wears a red-haired icon of Daana'd on her belt. River never judged her for it.
- It's Personal: When the Anathema she and her Hearth captured in RY 718 escaped from the Imperial Manse in RY 768, Kingfisher reunites with them to finish what they started, before they came after their loved ones.
- Patriotic Fervor: Her Defining Principle is "The Realm must endure", with her Major Principle "My loyalty lies with the Scarlet Throne, not the Great Houses" making it clear where she stands.
- Rags to Riches: She was born the daughter of a peasant family, then Exalted, went to Pasiap's Stair, enrolled in the Imperial legions, and married into the small but prestigious patrician Tereya family.
- Reluctant Retiree: Was an officer in the Imperial legions, but was forced out when the Great Houses took them over.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Light violet, in her case.
Left Hand ChalimaThe iconic Fire Aspect, an outcaste who rules her own principality in the Hundred Kingdoms.
- Dual Wielding: A daiklave and devil caster.
- Exotic Extended Marriage: Has two husbands, one living and one a ghost, and loves them both (albeit only a Minor Tie).
- The Heretic: A follower of the Intou heresy, which incorporates ancestor cult worship into the Immaculate faith. This provokes mild consternation in River.
- Knight Errant: She started out as a wandering hero, championing the poor and the weak, and returns to the role when she finds rulership chafing; indeed, she's made "protecting the weak and impoverished" her Defining Principle. She's happy to sign on with like-minded adventurers, and to recruit others to help out with her causes.
- Rags to Riches: From an orphan who never knew where her next meal would come from to Exalted queen of a small principality.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: Often to be found amongst her people, working alongside them and hearing their concerns.
- Rummage Sale Reject: She's more concerned with whether she likes a piece of clothing or armor than whether it matches her wardrobe.
- The Usurper: Became queen by taking the cloak from a tyrant-king.
Righteous RiverThe iconic Water Aspect, a former member of the Immaculate Order.
- Marry for Love: When she fell in love with her future wife Jihe, House Ledaal objected because Jihe was a patrician, so the match didn't offer political or financial advantage, and her superiors in the Order wanted to keep her on the road to avoid the temptation of a physical relationship. She chose to marry Jihe, leaving the Order and accepting reduced status within her House.
- Meaningful Rename: Took the name Righteous River Overflows its Banks upon joining the Immaculate Order; her original name was Ledaal Sivarin Indri.
- Mystical Pregnancy: When River and her wife wanted a child, Eshuvar summoned a neomah to help them conceive.
- Putting the Band Back Together: When she learns the Anathema from fifty years ago escaped the Imperial Manse, because of the threat he would pose to their families, she resolves to reunite her Hearth to go after them.
- The Quiet One: She's a woman of few words.
- Walking the Earth: What she did as a monk, serving various roles.
Yushoto MatharThe iconic Wood Aspect, a member of Lookshyan intelligence.
- The Charmer: Backed up by several social Charms.
- Passed-Over Promotion: Was in line for a prestigious promotion in Lookshyan intelligence, until his rivals remembered his Kinship included three dynasts, and he never once extracted anything from them to the benefit of Lookshy.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: He should have used his Kinship with Eshuvar, Kingfisher Swift, and Righteous River to gain intelligence on the Realm for Lookshy, but refused at every opportunity.
- Undying Loyalty: His Defining Principle is "Loyalty above all"; to Mathar, that means his Kinship over Lookshy.
The Scarlet EmpressDuring the invasion of the Fair Folk, just after the Contagion, one young (Earth Aspected) junior officer in the Shogunate military, along with her Sworn Brotherhood, entered the Imperial Manse to try to activate the Defense Grid. She alone survived, and with her newfound power became the Scarlet Empress, leader of the Scarlet Dynasty, which covered the Blessed Isle and several coastal satrapies. For about five hundred years, she's led the Realm relatively well, using the Immaculate Order granted to her by Chejop Kejak (very unwillingly).
Five years ago, she vanished. No one (who's telling) knows where to.
According to Return of the Scarlet Empress* , though, she was abducted by the Ebon Dragon to be his bride; an unknown time after the return of the Solars, she will return to Creation, reunite the fractured Realm, and be the messiah for the people therein. Except for the fact that she'll be brainwashed, Mind Raped, and have a ring on her finger that makes her love, honor and obey the cosmic embodiment of being a douchebag.
- Ancient Conspiracy: There are hints that her early life was cultivated by a centuries-old sociopolitical game that had become popular in the Shogunate, and it's possible that she picked up a bit on its practices.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: About as fearsome in a one-on-one fight as a Dragon-Blood can possibly be — and combat's not even her main area of focus.
- Asskicking Equals Authority: Crowned herself Empress by taking control of a superpowered weapon of mass destruction.
- Badass Boast: Gives one in one of the comics in Return of the Scarlet Empress."My children, my subjects, people of Creation: fall silent! Hear me, your Scarlet Empress, champion of Creation, eternal ruler of the Blessed Isle! For years I turned my face from this world to commune with the dragon of my aspect and his four equal peers! And now, with my return from meditative isolation, this lawless tumult ends! Today I set right the crumbling hierarchy of my government, my legions, and the great houses! And woe be unto whoever defies me in this righteous cause!"
- Badass Bookworm: The Imperial Manse was built by Autochthon and expanded on by Solar savants, and was meant for Solar hands alone. The Dragon-Blooded Scarlet Empress was able to use it to save Creation from the Fair Folk.
- She's also one of the greatest Dragon-Blooded sorcerers ever.
- Big Entrance: An utterly epic one in one of the comics from Return of the Scarlet Empress, where she used the Imperial Manse to broadcast a message that most of Creation hears.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: More subtly than most in Return of the Scarlet Empress, but the Ebon Dragon did something nasty to her mind.
- The Chessmaster: In her position, there's no other choice.
- Deal with the Devil: One possible option if she dies during the events of Return of the Scarlet Empress. The Neverborn are so impressed by her that they offer the former Empress a deal, which she accepts. She ends up meeting the Princess Magnificent with Lips of Coral and Robes of Black Feathers on the edge of Oblivion, where she ends up tearing the Deathlord to pieces and absorbing some of her power, becoming the Scarlet Phoenix Astride the World, becoming the 14th Deathlord, thus gaining the full power of a Deathlord, and most of her original power as a Dragon-Blooded.
- Death Equals Redemption: One possible option if she dies during the events of Return of the Scarlet Empress. She ends up in the Underworld free of the Ebon Dragon's influence, and decides to overthrow the Deathlords, getting in contact with some ancient Solar ghosts, and convincing them to try and pray to the Unconquered Sun. He answers their prayers, and empowers them and any ghosts who join the Scarlet Empresses's cause, rendering them immune to magic and charms that would force them to betray her cause, rendering them immune to any attempts to summon, command or destroy them with spells or necromancy, and are no longer considered creatures of darkness, creating a force that poses a great risk to the Deathlords.
- Dishing Out Dirt: Don't let her outfit fool you, she's originally an Earth Aspect (themed after a ruby).
- The Dreaded: When she returns in Return of the Scarlet Empress, most of the Realm's enemies are terrified, including the Deathlords.
- Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Averted completely. One of the strict canons about her is that she was The Gadfly; the founder of the All-Seeing Eye barely avoided execution for a rather insulting marriage proposal because he backpedaled hilariously.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: Her characterization is deliberately ambiguous, to the point where you can play her as anything from a tragic, heroic figure who had no choice but to do some awful things to save all Creation to an out-and-out supervillain — but in any interpretation, she's not someone you want to cross.
- I Did What I Had to Do: We don't really know much about the Empress as a person, but this is pretty much the cornerstone of her characterization — it's not that she lacks a conscience, but if she has to do something horrible to achieve her goals, she'll do it without hesitation and cry about it later. (In private.)
- Immortality Seeker: The reason she wanted to write the original Broken Winged Crane. Her fear was when she died of old age, all of her accomplishments would be undone by the new ruler.
- King in the Mountain: The missing Empress is rapidly on her way to becoming this sort of figure in the Realm's folklore.
- At least until a Solar's Daiklave cuts her down.
- King Incognito: Popular folklore has it that during her periodic unexplained absences, she was traveling the Realm undercover as an ordinary peasant. This is completely untrue... probably.
- Lady of Black Magic: One of the most accomplished sorcerers the Dragon-Blooded Host ever produced.
- Lady of War: Also one of their greatest generals — and remember, she started as a common soldier.
- Mother of a Thousand Young: Ancestor of ten thousand young is more accurate. While she is only the mother of about a dozen children, when all her descendants are added together, she has birthed the strongest and most numerous Dragon-Blooded bloodline in the history of Creation.
- She has a charm that increases her Essence pools by an amount related to the magnitude of the unit that would be created if all her living Dragon-Blooded descendants where collected together. The magnitude of this unit is 9, which means that the number of her living Dragon-Blooded descendants is over 5,000. This means that at least half of the Dragon-Blooded in the Realm are descended from the Scarlet Empress.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: The Scarlet Empress's original name has long since been forgotten. At your discretion, there may be a plot hook there.
- Pimped-Out Dress: Wears one worthy of someone called the Scarlet Empress.
- Rags to Royalty: We know very, very little about her background before becoming Empress, but pretty much the one thing that's clear is that she was no one important. The higher-ups in Lookshy had never even heard of her.
- In Return of the Scarlet Empress it's stated that in the First Age, all she would have considered good for would be a lieutenant, a regional administrator or a Solar's concubine.
- Really 700 Years Old: The Realm has been around for over 700 years (its calendar is in its 768th year) and she was alive before that.
- Rightful King Returns: Rescuing the Empress is a common potential goal for Terrestrial games. (Rather subverted if you go with the storyline in Return of the Scarlet Empress.)
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: She created the Scarlet Dynasty after using the Sword of Creation (something she shouldn't have been able to use) to repel the Fair Folk, and ruled it for over 700 years.
- The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: One of her lovers noticed her crying in her sleep.
- Underestimating Badassery: A lot of people did this to her, including the oldest and most powerful Celestial Exalted.
- She did this herself during the events of Return of the Scarlet Empress, underestimating the abilities of The Chessmasters that held power in the South, although her Infernal allies meant she was still able to succeed.
- Vetinari Job Security: The Empress designed the entire Imperial system so that it would collapse without her — and when she vanished, that's exactly what started happening.
The Mouth of Peace
The effective leader of the Immaculate Faith as practiced within the Realm and its satrapies and tributaries. The current Mouth of Peace is from House Mnemon, but is resisting efforts by her esteemed grandmother to relocate the Order's headquarters from the Palace Sublime in Sion to the Imperial City where it (and she) would be easily exploited politically.
- The Alleged Boss: Between the fact that her grandmother is using her considerable power to try to control the Order through her (along with the rest of the Realm and anything else Mnemon fancies) and that she is really nothing more than a pawn of Chejop Kejak, she actually has a lot less self-determination than most believers think.
- High Priest: The Crystal Dragon Buddha nature of the Immaculate Order makes her more of a High Lama. Note that the Immaculate Order is effectively the state religion of the Realm. Which means that schismatic groups that also follow the Immaculate Philosophy, but which do not accept the authority of the Realm (e.g. Lookshy), are not prone to taking pronouncements from the Palace Sublime very seriously.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: The Mouth of Peace is expected to sever all ties to their life outside of the Immaculate Order. This includes ceasing to use their name, or allow others to use it.
- Punny Name: "Mouth of Peace" = "Mouthpiece", which is what she and the Immaculate Faith in general are for the Bronze Faction Sidereals. In fact, Chejop Kejak, who often poses as the Mouth of Peace's oddly forgettable secretary, symbolically has an office above hers in the tallest tower of the Palace Sublime.
The iconic Earth Aspect of First and Second Edition. The eldest living daughter of the Scarlet Empress, which carries its own associations by the boatload. Mnemon is considered by many to be the prime candidate for the throne now that the Empress has vanished — and if it wasn't for the fact that she's also considered by many to be an utterly ruthless, power-hungry jerkass, she might have claimed it by now (and in fact, that's part of the reason she has supporters, in that she is campaigning on acting exactly like her mother if given the Throne). She's a skilled architect, an accomplished sorceress, head of her own noble house... and one of the few Dragon-Blooded who is fully aware of the existence of Sidereals.
- Affably Evil: In Third Edition. She's temperamental and power-hungry, still, but she genuinely cares about her House and the Realm, being a devout Immaculate too despite knowing the origins of the religion. She's just extremely paranoid for justifiable reasons and ruthlessly dedicated to continuing her mother's will.
- Big, Screwed-Up Family: She's the daughter of the Scarlet Empress. It comes with the territory. The day she Exalted, her older brother tried to have her killed via a poisoned suit of armor. This was not the last time he tried.
- Cain and Abel: Believe it or not, she's Abel; her brother Ragara tried to assassinate her repeatedly even as teenagers. Part of her motive for seeking the Throne is to stop his House from running the Realm to the ground and to free her House from its debts to Ragara.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Dodging repeated assassination attempts from your sociopathic brother will ruin your ability to trust.
- Evil Matriarch: How she runs House Mnemon (albeit with a more Affably Evil bent in 3E).
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Up till her Exaltation, she was a quiet girl with no outstanding talents who lived in terror of her mother and her elder siblings Sesus and Ragara. Now she's considered the heir apparent to The Empire.
- Generation Xerox: This is one of her problems in 3E; she's too much like her mother, and everyone is aware that Empress Mnemon would be a continuation of the Scarlet Empress. Given how much of an autocrat Her Redness was, the Houses are not fans of giving up autonomy, especially to a woman who has developed her family's legendary grudges against several of them.
- God Save Us from the Queen!: She's got quite the temper on her, and the other Houses know it — if they could find the right compromise candidate, they'd throw all their support behind them rather than let Mnemon take the throne. Mnemon's fully aware of this, too — the only reason she hasn't taken the throne is that she knows she can't keep it at this time.
- La Résistance: Ends up running an underground movement in Return of the Scarlet Empress once she realizes just who her mother's new husband is.
- Lady of Black Magic: Probably the most powerful sorcerer in the Dynasty now that her mother's gone.
- Magic Misfire: When she was studying at the Versino, she chose the wrong moment to try to peek in on the summoning of a Second Circle Demon. As a result, the school got utterly destroyed, she only survived by casting Invulnerable Skin of Bronze, and the site had to be salted and warded afterwards, with the Heptagram being set up in its place.
- Older Than They Look: Mnemon is 399 years old, which is something of an accomplishment in and of itself for a Dragon-Blood, but doesn't look like she's pushing her thirties.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Despite her honest piety in the Immaculate Order, Mnemon is only wary of the returning Solars, rather than outright hatred of them.
- The Resenter: Really, really, really doesn't like her sister V'neef. A large part of it stems from the fact that V'neef seemingly effortlessly cultivates an ideal of being the second coming of the Empress in temperament, ability and appearance, all coming naturally to her, while Mnemon very publicly and painstakingly crafted her entire public persona as the Scarlet Empress 2.0 - from her perspective, V'neef managed to do effortlessly in a short time what Mnemon has dedicated her entire life to achieving, and it drives her absolutely nuts.
- Summon Magic: Not only is Mnemon a highly-skilled summoner in her own right, she also possesses an artifact that makes her one of the few Terrestrial sorcerers able to summon Second Circle Demons.
- Took a Level in Kindness: In Third Edition she's significantly more mature and calm than previously portrayed, and given several sympathetic traits like her honest spirituality.
- "Well Done, Daughter" Girl: One of the relatively rare cases where the issues revolve around living up to her mother's legacy.
A powerful elder Fire Aspect and the current head of House Cathak, Cainan exemplifies all that the Scarlet Dynasty says a Dragon-Blood ought to be: a mighty warrior, a grandfather many times over, a devout practitioner of the Immaculate Faith, passionately devoted to serving the Realm and upholding its traditions above all else. He's perhaps the most respected political leader in the entire Realm, and in some ways, it's a wonder that he hasn't been urged into taking the Scarlet Throne.
Except that, well, the problem with elder statesmen is the "elder" part. Cainan's health isn't declining yet, but with a few centuries already under his belt, it's clear to everyone that he hasn't got long left — and the Sidereals of the Bronze Faction have foreseen that the thread of his life will run out in perhaps a decade or so. Putting Cainan on the throne wouldn't actually resolve the succession crisis so much as delay it for a few years, so those looking to avert civil war sigh regretfully over What Could Have Been and turn their attention to other candidates. On the other hand, though, Cainan's endorsement could mean a great deal to some of those others...
- Badass Bureaucrat: He is so mighty, widely respected and so skilled as a stateman, about the only thing that will kill him now is time.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: Was one of eight children. He himself has fathered fifty eight children, and all of them are supposedly legitimate! (his poor, sore, wife!)
- Mr. Fanservice: Well, the way Melissa Uran drew him, anyway. Cainan's sexiness became something of a meme on the Freedom Stone forums in particular.
- Warrior Monk: Trained at the Cloister of Wisdom, but went on to a career in the Legions rather than taking vows as an actual monk.
Drogath managed to be such a nasty little snob and bully from a young age that his own family was more resigned than proud to hear he'd Exalted as a Fire Aspect. His attitude failed to improve thereafter, and once he'd graduated from the House of Bells at the bottom of his class, he was shipped off to oversee House Cathak's assets in Chiaroscuro, a transparent excuse to get him as far out of the way as possible. He's still there, scheming for a way back into his family's good graces and generally being the same evil little git he always was.
- Blood Knight: He really does have the temperament to make a fine soldier. It's too bad delight in hurting people is his only real qualification for the job.
- Lack of Empathy: Exalted while beating a patrician teacher for trying to explain to him that it's not always hilarious when unpleasant things happen to other people.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: Chiaroscuro is an important city, it's just that they only need to pay lip service to the Realm.
- Royal Brat: "Do you know who my parents are?!" was a favorite phrase of Drogath's in his schoolyard bully days. A case of Irony because his parents actually do not approve of these tantrums, since Dynast children are expected to act with dignity and maturity even as children. Which is why his inflated ego does not translate into elevated status once he reaches actual adulthood.
- Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up
- The Unfavorite: His father's graduation present to him was a fire pearl. This is the equivalent of giving a cigarette lighter... to someone who can already start fires at will anyway.
Cynis Denovah Avaku
Second Edition's iconic Fire Aspect. Born to a disgraced and impoverished household within the most decadent of the Realm's Great Houses, Avaku has lived his whole life with one goal: to make the Denovah family respectable once more. So far, he's doing better than anyone could have expected — he Exalted as a Fire Aspect despite his unimpressive breeding, managed to earn admission to the Realm's most prestigious Military Academy, and is currently serving an exemplary career in the Legions.
Aside from his military accomplishments, Avaku is notable for being about as good a guy as you could possibly expect from a loyal son of a corrupt and decadent slave society; when the game's developers need a generic heroic Dynast to appear in a chapter comic or illustration, he's often the one they pick.
- Anti-Villain: While he himself is a decent person, he does murder a kid to protect his family's drug money. He is having trouble reconciling the two.
- Defector from Decadence: His appearance in the 2nd Edition core book implies that he could pretty easily become one of these, with just a small push from the player characters...
- Eyepatch of Power: He's a badass, and he has a big black one.
- Fiery Redhead: ...yep.
- Good Parents: His own parents sacrificed virtually everything they had to pay for his education, and when he Exalted to get him into the House of Bells. He in turn is very devoted to his son and daughter, and he wants to provide for and protect them as best he can. Which is the main reason he puts up with the immoral business activities of House Cynis.
- Happily Married: His Arranged Marriage to the un-Exalted Mnemon Caras Minata is one of the most loving and healthy relationships we see in canon.
- Heroic Second Wind: "I'm a student of Hesiesh. Let me show you what that means."
- Impoverished Patrician: He's a Dynast, but his family is almost completely out of money because they haven't been producing Dragon-Blooded. He's trying to turn this around, but the way House Cynis makes money is through murder, slavery and drug dealing, which he's really not on board with.
- MayflyDecember Romance: One of his biggest regrets is that he truly loves his wife, and that his lifespan is about three to four times what hers is, so she will die of old age before he hits middle age.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: He disapproves of a lot of things the Realm does. And a lot of things the Legions do. And a lot of things House Cynis does. But he's an absolute patriot with respect to all three.
Sesus Nagezzer, a.k.a. The Slug
First Edition's iconic Wood Aspect, an ex-general and consummate manipulator. He's very much a self-made man; born into a family of warriors, the naturally bookish and quiet Nagezzer was made the focus of his elder brothers' bullying, his Exaltation coming after a prank nearly knocked him unconscious...underwater. Unfortunately for his standing with his already domineering mother, he nearly killed his brother in a rage, and was shipped off to the House of Bells. His luck with bullies didn't improve, which is how he was first introduced to the providing of legally-questionable products — there's a lot of misery one can avert if you can score your classmates some drugs and hookers.
He quickly proved himself a master tactician, but one day, he had the misfortune of trying to subdue a rather wily god who'd figured out that it didn't need to fight Nagezzer's men — just evade and outlast them. After six days of trying to track the evasive spirit, his demoralized and exhausted men began to believe he was letting it get away, so to provide an example, he decided to draw out the spirit...alone. He was found several days later with the general appearance of Swiss cheese, and with permanent loss of function in his right leg.
Unable to teach himself the Martial Arts style needed to help restore the use of his leg, he was honorably discharged and inherited his family estate. He proceeded to transform it into a regular Den of Iniquity, his growing weight problem eventually earning him the moniker of "the Slug".
And this is why people underestimate him.
While he did go through a rather bad patch after his injury, Nagezzer was soon able to pick himself up and decided to pursue a different way of serving the Realm; being a vice merchant, as it turns out, allows one to stick one's nose in other people's Dirty Business, and given how the Scarlet Dynasty is a Deadly Decadent Court by design, this means the Slug is also one of the best powerbrokers around. This, combined with his nigh-unparalleled loyalty to the Realm, has quietly turned him into a lynchpin of its social cohesion.
And he needs all that power, because with the disappearance of the Empress, he's about the only thing holding it together.
- Adipose Rex: He isn't a king, but he is a noble and very important to the Realm. He is also very fat.
- Creepy Twins: He has a pair of them as his personal assistants/concubines/bodyguards.
- Fat Bastard: This is pretty much how the Scarlet Dynasty views him. He's happy to live down to their expectations — it provides an excellent cover.
- Handicapped Badass: Don't let the fact that he's obese and crippled fool you — get within range of his cane and you should probably budget the medical cost for concussions in advance, as Manosque Cyan finds out in a comic.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation: He wrestles with self-loathing, largely as a result of being loyal to a militaristic society that despises anyone who's incapable of military service.
- Kavorka Man: Despite being about as physically attractive as, well, a Slug, he seems to have won the hearts of his personal assistants. Somewhat justified in that they're two of the few people Nagezzer has let get close to him emotionally, and thus they can see that there's a good man underneath that flab.
- Large and in Charge: As a function of being a chubby Dynast.
- Mr. Vice Guy: Gluttony has always been something of a passion for him, and part of the reason he's so wide is that he lapsed into compulsive eating during his post-crippling depression. He's also the very ideal of a patriot, and despite what you may think about the Realm, he's still very selfless in his defense of it.
- My Country, Right or Wrong: Everything he does — even the vice trade — is for the good of the Realm.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Over the years, he's cultivated an image as a peerless hedonist, all the while arranging backroom deals, hiring mercenaries, sabotaging idiots, and doing whatever else he feels necessary to protect the Realm.
- The Stoner: Subverted. He's a habitual druggie, but he's also a paragon of self-control; none of his vices have blunted his mind much.
- Stout Strength: He can't run anymore, but he's kept up the other parts of his old training regimen.
First Edition's iconic Fire Aspect.
Once upon a time, there was a little girl who was probably the happiest little girl in the kingdom. She didn't see her parents much, but she didn't mind that, because she had two nursemaids who were the best caretakers any child could ask for. They told her stories and braided her hair and were never, ever mean to her, and she loved them very much.
This idyllic life came to an end one day when the girl's mother noticed how her daughter was being "coddled" and had the two nursemaids fed alive to sharks while the girl watched, screaming. Fortunately for the little girl, just before her mother could murder her too, she Exalted as an Aspect of Fire.
After perhaps the most traumatic Exaltation on record, Sesus Rafara wasn't sent to any of the normal secondary schools. Instead, she was drafted into a special program. Kept isolated from society, she was educated to view the culture of the Realm from an outsider's perspective. To teach her to avoid emotional vulnerability, she was repeatedly betrayed in both large and small ways by anyone she came to trust. The project was a smashing success, and today Rafara is one of the Realm's most accomplished spies, infiltrators and assassins.
She is still waiting for the chance to kill her mother.
- Break the Cutie: Pretty much the overriding theme of her whole life.
- Contract on the Hitman: She believes it's only a matter of time.
- The Cynic: Can you blame her?
- Hitman with a Heart: Mostly subverted. House Sesus took an innocent child and did their very best to turn her into a remorseless sociopath, and they almost entirely succeeded... but there's a few hints here and there that she hasn't been rendered quite so heartless as her handlers would like to believe.
- Humans Are Bastards: That's what her whole life has taught her to think, anyway.
- In Love with the Mark: It's not clear whether "love" is the right word, but assigning her to spy on Tepet Ejava... may have been a mistake.
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: House Sesus is heading for a big one. It turns out some people don't appreciate being used as a tool their whole lives to further their corrupt family's petty political goals.
Sesus Chenow Lahor
A real piece of work. First appeared in the venerable adventure book Time of Tumult as the distillation of the Realm's jackassery towards everyone in Creation who is not a Dynast. Revealed in Aspect Book: Fire to actually be even worse than that.
- Disproportionate Retribution: People who talk back to him don't tend to live very long.
- Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Type 2; he's got a sense of humor, but it's the really nasty kind. And he doesn't realize the other Dynasts aren't laughing with him...
- Never My Fault: The disproportionately high casualty rate in units commanded by Lahor are completely the fault of his terrifying enemies and have nothing at all to do with his Lack of Empathy toward his own troops.
- Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Played with. He was assigned to Wangler's Knob (the ass end of nowhere, as far as the Realm is concerned) because he raped a young woman... which wouldn't have been a big deal if she hadn't Exalted as a Dragon-Blood during the attack.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: As a result of the rape, although so far he's too thick to realize it and is still treating the whole thing like a vacation.
- We Have Reserves: Always his preferred tactic as a military commander.
Second Edition's iconic Wood Aspect. The woman who would become known as the Roseblack was literally born on the battlefield* , to a family with a long history of distinguished military service. Exalting at a young age, she was already certain of what she wanted to do with her life: she applied to the House of Bells as soon as she could and enrolled in the Legions immediately upon graduating. Her rise through the ranks was swift and steady.
Then came the Battle of Futile Blood, where the bulk of House Tepet's forces were decimated. Now the beggared general of a ruined House, Ejava was assigned to lead the Vermillion Legion — more commonly known as "the Red-Piss Legion," the beggars, strays, drunks, and drafted criminals of the army.
But those who thought her career was over were very wrong. To everyone's shock, under Ejava's leadership the Red-Piss Legion was swiftly transformed into a disciplined and effective fighting force that won a series of stunning victories. Today, the Roseblack is one of the Realm's most beloved and popular war heroes, as well as the leader of a highly skilled army that bears her astonishing personal loyalty... and that kind of thing makes a Deadly Decadent Court in the middle of a succession crisis very, very nervous. Several of House Tepet's enemies in the Deliberative have been quietly making plans to have her killed before she can march on the Blessed Isle and declare herself Empress. Ironically, there's a good chance those very efforts will end up goading her into doing exactly what they're afraid of.
- Army of Thieves and Whores: The Red-Piss Legion is a textbook example.
- Expy: Of one Julius Caesar.
- Fatal Attractor: Three great loves in her life (two men and one woman), all dead after a fairly brief time with her.
- Jack-of-All-Stats: When it comes to the skills of a military commander. Arada — himself one of the Realm's greatest generals — says he's a slightly better tactician than she is when it comes to his particular area of expertise... but she completely outstrips him in absolutely everything else.
- Lady of War: Oh, yes.
- Magnetic Hero: There are people Ejava's never even heard of who are currently putting their lives on the line to protect her from her enemies.
- Father to His Men: Her main asset in the coming civil war is the Undying Loyalty she inspires in the soldiers serving under her.
- Reassigned to Antarctica: After the crushing defeat of her forces, she was assigned command of the Vermillion, more colloquially known as "the Red-Piss Legion."
- Reassignment Backfire: She's actually managed to turn the Red-Piss Legion into a crack fighting force that's intensely loyal... to her personally, not to the Deliberative.
- Reluctant Ruler: Ejava would sincerely like nothing better than to be serving a commander-in-chief who was truly worthy of her loyalty. Unfortunately, she's reluctantly coming to the conclusion that there's no better candidate for the job than her.
- Tragic Monster: In Return of the Scarlet Empress, she has a possible fate as second in command of the Scarlet Empress...because she's been turned into a mind-controlled puppet.
- Unfriendly Fire: The main reason she hasn't announced her candidacy for regent is that she's wholly aware this could happen if she does so while she's in the field.
- Will They or Won't They?: Has a long-term flirtation going on with Ragara Nova, the Prefect of Chanos.
- The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: As any general has to be.
The iconic Air Aspect of First and Second Edition, Arada overcame a troubled childhood that saw him packed off to reform school to become one of the Realm's greatest heroes. He once slew one of the Solar Anathema just to make a point, and his military accomplishments are nearly unparalleled. Since the height of his career, though, he's fallen almost as far as he once rose.
Sent against the armies of a powerful Solar warlord without clear intel on what he was getting into, Arada's forces suffered a crushing defeat at the Battle of Futile Blood. House Tepet was left broken and impoverished, and Arada retired in utter disgrace. Since then, he's withdrawn from Dynastic society and is ostensibly living as an Immaculate hermit, although he actually spends most of his time looking for comfort at the bottom of a sake bottle. Considering the mess his favorite granddaughter Ejava is likely to find herself in soon, though, it remains to be seen whether he'll be forced out of retirement...
- Achilles in His Tent: What he's been doing since the Battle of Futile Blood.
- Genius Bruiser: A casual summary of his life story could easily give you the impression that he's not much more than a soldier and a bit of a thug. Pay close attention to his sections in Aspect Book: Air, though, and you'll realize he is a ferociously intelligent man.
- Nice to the Waiter: He'll accept quite a lot of backtalk from mortals if he thinks they've got a point — something that's very unusual for a Dynast.
- Properly Paranoid: His belief that the Tepet Legions were set up by the other Great Houses, who feared House Tepet's military might, is largely based on his own bitterness and paranoia. It is also probably true.
Something of a Foil for her cousin Ejava, the Fire-Aspected Lisara is generally regarded by House Tepet's elders as a disappointment. Both her parents are noted generals and she graduated with honors from the Realm's most exclusive military academy, so expectations for her career were very high. However, so far she's accomplished absolutely nothing of note, and currently holds the unenviable position of second-in-command of a minor garrison near Chiaroscuro.
Fortunately for Lisara, no one has yet realized just how big of a failure she actually is. In reality, she only managed to get as far as she has in life through a combination of nepotism, seduction, and blackmail. Constantly overshadowed by her more hardworking and talented cousin, it was Lisara who got the Roseblack removed from the field at a crucial moment out of sheer petty jealousy, and it was Lisara who suggested the ill-conceived strategy against the Bull of the North that led House Tepet to ruin.
- Does Not Like Men: For absolutely no apparent reason. Currently she spends most of her time amusing herself by assigning male officers under her command to menial chores or pointless suicide missions. Note that sexism against women is basically nonexistent in the Realm, which borders on an outright Matriarchy, so Lisara manages to be a weird Distaff Counterpart to the Straw Misogynist (a Straw Misandrist?) without actually qualifying as a Straw Feminist.
- Never My Fault: Lisara is just as oblivious to her own incompetence as everyone around her is.
- Paper Tiger: As an NPC, she makes a deliciously hateable antagonist who'll go down like a punk as soon as the player characters turn their attention to her.
- Unknown Rival: She wants to bring down the Bull of the North... not to atone for her mistakes or avenge her fallen kin, but because she views him as her own personal nemesis, despite the fact that he's thousands of miles away and has almost certainly never heard of her.
- The Vamp: How she got everything she has in Dynastic society.
Elana's easy to recognize when she appears in illustrations or chapter comics — a short woman with close-cropped blond hair, carrying a huge-ass sword. Rather spoiled by her mortal older brothers, young Elana began acting out in her grief and rage after they were killed in battle, and was eventually shipped off to reform school. There, she was unlucky enough for one of the combat instructors to take a special interest in her, beating her savagely. She devoted herself to training for revenge, and her first act after Exalting as an Air Aspect was to kill him in a duel. Afterward, she found that he had left behind a letter of recommendation for her, to be sent to the Realm's finest military schools in the event of his death at her hands.
Still dogged by her unsavory past, Elana was unable to find a better position than as a junior officer in the Red-Piss Legion, where she served for nearly a century. Her moment of glory came at the Battle of Five Fangs, when the legion was ordered to retreat, leaving the wounded to be devoured by the cannibal horde they'd been fighting. Elana defied orders to stay behind with her troops, defending the wounded for over 48 hours until reinforcements arrived. The accomplishment was celebrated in story and song as the Two Day Fast (because the cannibals didn't get their meal, get it?), and Elana retired a hero. The public acclaim was rather startling to Elana, who'd expected to be court martialed for disobedience... but not as startling as being summoned to an audience with the Scarlet Empress.
It, uh, didn't go the way she expected. After spending about a month in the Imperial Palace as the Empress's lover, Elana left to continue serving the Empress — now as one of the Realm's wandering magistrates.
- Arranged Marriage: House Tepet is getting really impatient with her efforts to put it off. So is House Peleps, the family of her betrothed.
- MayflyDecember Romance: With her mortal assistant, Beren.
- Small Girl, Big Gun: Or sword, anyway. In many illustrations, it bears a distinct resemblance to Cloud Strife's buster sword.
- The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: Not Elana herself — she got just a glimpse of the human being behind the Scarlet Empress's imperial facade, and became quite fond of her.
- You Shall Not Pass!: The Two Day Fast.
An Air Aspect and House Ledaal's dark horse candidate for the throne, Kes is a genius, an accomplished sorcerer, a successful member of the Thousand Scales and an agent of the All-Seeing Eye — but he's best known for his mastery of the game of Gateway. He is also dogged by rumors about his association with the unsavory Sesus Nagezzer and the, ahem, proclivities of Kes and his wife Ragara Szaya, but this is rather minor compared to, say, what House Cynis considers a better-than-average party. Really, the critical flaw in his possible candidacy is that, while he's well-liked and politically viable, Kes himself is not among his supporters.
Still, if Mnemon and Ejava come down with a case of death, he may not have much of a choice...
- Chess with Death: A chapter comic in Compass of Celestial Directions: Malfeas has him challenging Sigereth (a Second Circle demon whose entire being revolves around the playing of games of skill) to a Gateway match in order to rescue Szaya, with Kes' own soul at stake if he loses.
- Childhood Friend Romance: He and Szaya met back when they were the two youngest players on the competitive Gateway circuit.
- Clasp Your Hands If You Deceive: Does this pose in a comic when he counters an attempt by Mnemon to psych him out using an angyalka demon (their Magic Music causes people to be reminded of the events of their lives, thus setting those with a Dark and Troubled Past off balance — except he doesn't have one, while Mnemon herself has an inferiority complex and mommy issues).
- David vs. Goliath: Statistically, he has no chance of beating Sigereth. Nevertheless, fans and writers alike agree that somehow he's going to find a way to pull it off.
- In the final comic in Return of the Scarlet Empress it turns out he won.
- Deadpan Snarker: He was actually the first to refer to the Scarlet Empress as "Her Redness." It has since become a Fan Nickname.
- Expy: Lionel Kes is apparently the Straight Gay James Bond of the Exalted Modern Elseworld.
- Happily Married: Kes enjoys a very happy relationship with Ragara Szaya, despite the two being among the very few people in Creation to canonically score a 6 on the Kinsey scale.
- If It's You, It's Okay: Averted. Sure, Kes and Szaya have managed to produce the requisite number of heirs, but the only way they're able to enjoy sex with each other is through shapeshifting magics or the summoning of neomah.
- Incompatible Orientation: With Szaya, on both sides. They worked it out, though.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Kes is a bureaucrat and about as uninterested in combat as a Dynast can get away with; Szaya is a career military officer.
- Non-Action Guy: Part of the reason he's not a serious candidate for the throne — the Realm wouldn't follow a leader who can't fight well.
- Platonic Life-Partners: With Szaya. Okay, the "platonic" part is rather complicated, since they're married and they do enjoy having orgies together and occasionally using magic to switch to each other's preferred gender. But in their natural forms, they're not the least bit attracted to each other, they're just BFFs.
- Smart People Play Chess: Oh so much. Played a game against the Scarlet Empress herself at the age of eight, and often uses the game to tweak his opponents in ways that go beyond the board.
- Straight Gay: Well, by real-world modern-day Western standards, although he's almost femmy for a Dynast.
Even as a young boy, Peleps Deled knew he was different from other children. They didn't understand his deep yearning for spiritual fulfillment. They didn't understand the all-consuming importance of the Immaculate Faith's holy mission to bring righteousness to the world. Most of all, they didn't understand that all his opinions were absolute objective truth and anyone who disagreed with him was obviously wrong.
He thought he might find some peers at the Cloister of Wisdom, but tragically, his fellow students there proved to be just as misguided. Most frustrating of all, even after he patiently explained their errors, they'd simply cling to their false beliefs. When debate failed, there was only one thing to do: challenge whoever disagreed with him to a martial arts duel and beat the heresy out of them. If they failed to survive the process, well, they must not have been enlightened enough.
Possessed of truly impenetrable self-righteousness, Deled's stymied all his teachers' attempts to encourage him to develop some scrap of humility. Unfortunately, his nearly unmatched prowess in martial arts is too valuable to waste, so instead of giving up and having him assassinated, his superiors have traditionally settled for making him someone else's problem. His uncle sent him to the Immaculate Order so he'd stop beating up family members, and the Immaculates sent him to the Wyld Hunt so he'd stop beating up fellow monks. After his boss retired for political reasons, this made him the master of his own branch of the Hunt. Oops.
The iconic Water Aspect of First and Second Edition and a notorious total nutjob, Deled has amassed a remarkable amount of disgust on both sides of the fourth wall: fans love to hate him, and the other Dynasts are fervently hoping he'll get himself killed chasing Anathema.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Little Deled's uncle, thinking to teach the boy some humility, showed him a kata that could only be performed correctly by an Exalt. Deled Exalted while trying to practice it.
- Bad Boss: Those under his command frequently suffer "accidents" if he finds their piety lacking. Considering his standards, it's amazing he has any subordinates left.
- Blade on a Stick: Wields a jade dire lance.
- Circular Reasoning: Deled knows his beliefs are correct, because martial prowess comes from spiritual enlightenment, and he's never lost a duel. How does he know that martial prowess comes from spiritual enlightenment? Because he's extremely spiritually enlightened and he's never lost a duel.
- The Fundamentalist: The only thing he's more serious about than martial arts is his faith in the Immaculate Order. In the incident inspiring his assignment to the Hunt, he killed a fellow initiate for disagreeing with a single preposition in a statement about an abstract theological issue (by vs of).
- Hate Sink: No one, in-universe or out, wants anything to do with this psycho.
- Knight Templar: When it comes to the Anathema... or heretics... or people who fail to acknowledge the obvious rightness of his position once he's explained something.
- Right Makes Might: According to Deled, this is the source of his talent for martial arts. The sad thing is that this isn't even that far off from Immaculate teachings, merely taken to an extreme.
- Uriah Gambit: The reason he's been left in the Hunt with little support. The Realm is starving the Wyld Hunt in hopes that Deled will either get himself killed or fail so catastrophically that he has to be replaced.
A martial arts master of House Peleps, he is devoted to the Wyld Hunt as well as in love with Lidaal Aruna. Taguro forms the Big Bad Duumvirate of the Udon comic with her and serves as a first-hand perspective on how Dragon-Blooded society works.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: To the extreme.
- Expy: Subverted. A Wyld Hunt-obsessed Peleps should invoke Deled, but Taguro is a much nicer person.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Seems to be this way to Cathak Drogath's relationship to Aruna.
- Pyrrhic Victory: He manages to kill a Solar Exalted, which is normally a feat for the ages. Unfortunately, it will just reincarnate and he was forced to run with his tail between his legs—showing he's Not So Different from Cathak Drogath.
RagaraThe Empress's eldest son and oldest living child period, Ragara is vicious, cunning, and utterly sociopathic. Filled with little love for his family or the nation his House nominally serves, the Empress realized early on that Ragara would try to overthrow her at the earliest opportunity. Either unwilling or unable to put her son to death, she instead put to work many schemes to keep Ragara beholden to her and the Realm as a whole. While Ragara was never able to actually kill any of his siblings to make his ascension to the throne a certain thing, he did not lack for trying, with his most famous and favorite subject of torment being his little sister Mnemon, and only Mnemon and the Empress herself could be said to have a larger impact on the political dynamics of the Great Houses.
Of course, this was all when Ragara was young. Now, he is an infirm old man, only kept alive by his sword, as his body siphons the life force of an entrapped Solar soul contained inside it. His House is one of the most dominant in the Realm, so affluent and wealthy it is effectively the Realm's official bank. But still, he silently rages he was never able to make his ascension absolute and uncontested...
- The Atoner: Subverted. He's become sincerely regretful over how he acted in his youth... at least partly because it didn't work, and on some level he's still trying to make his House the ultimate victor of the succession crisis as a way to undo his failure.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He was so mono-maniacally hyperfocused on ensuring that he was the heir apparent of the Empress who would survive to adulthood that Her Redness - who, keep in mind, deliberately fostered outright enmity between her children's Houses to ensure none of them would unite against her - had to impose numerous decrees and threats to keep him from actually killing off his siblings. He's also a financial wunderkind who pretty much defined how to use and take advantage of economic dominance as a political tool within the Realm, and his policies have pretty much made his House one of the most dominant and well connected in the Realm - only two Houses do not owe any form of outstanding debt to him, and only because they explicitly avoided doing business with House Ragara at any cost. Even Mnemon, much as she despises her brother, was unable to avoid getting trapped in his web of debtors.
- Cain and Abel: He's the Cain. To everyone. The amount of siblings he did not try to kill can probably be counted on one hand, and those ones are probably only because they likely died before he could actually put in motion any plans to do so. His most famous Abel is Mnemon, and he can be considered the major reason why she's become so messed up in adulthood.
- Dark Lord on Life Support: By every reasonable metric, Ragara should be dead, as he is positively ancient by Dragonblood standards. Only his attunement to his daiklave is keeping him alive at this point, and even then its potency is beginning to run dry. Whether he is aware of this, and if he is what measures he is taking to remedy the situation, are unknown.
- Evil Old Folks: Even older than his sister Mnemon, and with the Empress missing and for all intents and purposes considered dead, may very well be the oldest known living Dragon-Blood in Creation. Unlike his sister, however, he very much looks his age, and is only kept alive by his cursed sword feeding him the life force of a Solar's soul. He has long since withdrawn from formally ruling his House and has spent his days in retirement living in seclusion on an island off the coast of the Blessed Isle.
- HeelFaith Turn: Subverted. He's become more faithful to the Immaculate Order in his old age, but it's only a Major Intimacy; the more prominent part of his personality is still The Resenter.
- Parental Favoritism: A very unusual example. He started off as his mother's favorite child, he started feeling snubbed by the fact he never got named heir presumptive, and from this started his Cain and Abel routine and soon fell out of favor as a result. That said, if anyone else tried to pull off any of the things Ragara has done, they would have been executed and wiped from the ledgers without a second thought. The very fact that Ragara - both the individual and the House - still exists in the present day, let alone with the pedigree they have, is explicitly pointed out as a major sign that, regardless of any matters regarding succession, the Empress still had a large degree of affection towards her eldest son.
- Pet the Dog: As shown in his writeup in Heirs to the Shogunate, he actually does care for his House and Hearthmates, though his Morally Bankrupt Banker side is more prominent by far.
- Retired Monster: As mentioned above, he's gotten too old and infirm to lead his House or employ assassination attempts against his siblings anymore. While he has come to regret some of the things he's done, he feels nothing but scorn and frustration over having not pulled it off.
- The Evil Prince: He really did not take the fact he wasn't named heir to the throne despite being the initial favorite well.
- The Resenter: Of his siblings, his mother, his age... Ragara is angry about a lot of things.
- Was It Really Worth It?: He's started to wonder this.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: He started off as this towards his mother, the Scarlet Empress. Then he got worse.
Mastery of supernatural martial arts generally takes a degree of spiritual focus that other Charms don't usually require. That goes double for Dragon-Blooded learning Celestial Martial Arts, which don't come naturally to them; it takes special initiation Charms as well as intense meditation and plain hard work for a Terrestrial Exalt to achieve the necessary purification of soul and body. As for Sidereal Martial Arts, they've always remained entirely out of reach.
Until now. Bronze Faction Sidereal Anys Syn, the inventor of the Five Dragon styles and Creation's premier martial artist, thinks she may have finally found a suitable candidate in Ragara Myrrun. An elder Earth Aspect and one of only a few living Immaculate grandmasters, Myrrun's mastery of Essence and expertise in the martial arts is second to none. He currently spends almost all his time in the Palace Sublime, writing martial arts treatises that are used throughout the Realm... and secretly training with Anys Syn in his spare time. He's already mastered numerous Celestial styles, and his sifu feels that with the proper rituals of purification and preparation, he'll be ready for initiation into the final level of martial arts mastery soon. If she's right, and the process turns out to be repeatable, this could be the secret weapon the Bronze Faction has been waiting for — a way to produce large numbers of warriors who could be near-equals to the Solar Exalted in combat, able to push back the Fair Folk hordes and maintain Creation's infrastructure without turning to the Solars or Lunars for help.
- Deadly Upgrade: Myrrun's fate is left open as a plot hook for Storytellers, but Word of God says the default result is a spectacular case of Explosive Overclocking.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: So many ways this could go. The sidebar that describes the project is titled "Boom!"
- Heroic RRoD: What will likely happen.
- Super Mode: On the off-chance that it works, a whole new realm of badass has opened up for Terrestrial games!
- Super-Power Meltdown: This is what has happened to every other Dragon-Blood that tried to learn Sidereal martial arts, and there's no reason to believe that Myrrun is any different.
The youngest living child of the Scarlet Empress, V'neef was conceived as something of an experiment in the genetics of Terrestrial Exaltation. Her father had the purest Dragon-Blooded heritage of any of the Empress's consorts, and as expected, V'neef Exalted at a young age and grew into a powerful Wood Aspect. The Empress granted her the right to found her own Great House at an unprecedentedly young age, and though the House remains small, it boasts a very high rate of Exaltation as well as a strong financial base.
The Empress seemed quite pleased with her youngest daughter, and there's speculation that had she designated a successor, V'neef might very well have been it. V'neef, however, believes that as nice as it might be to take the Scarlet Throne herself or through one of her children, she just doesn't have the necessary power base yet, and she's willing to settle for a candidate with whom she can build a strong alliance. A quiet, pleasant woman, V'neef's ambition is quite a bit subtler than that of most of her siblings... but ultimately no less powerful.
- Blue Blood: Not only a child of the Empress, but the one with the purest Dragon-Blooded pedigree of them all.
- Cain and Abel: Mnemon respects and even kind of likes her little sister, but she will not hesitate to kill her rather than let her take the throne. Made more explicit in Third Edition, where V'neef is said to resemble the Empress more than Mnemon herself does, which is precisely the image Mnemon's been trying to cultivate for centuries.
- The Charmer: In The Manual of Exalted Power: Dragon-Blooded, there's an illustration of Mnemon, Tepet Ejava, Cathak Cainan, Cynis Denovah Avaku, and Ledaal Kes at one of V'neef's parties, all laughing and having a good time together as they listen to V'neef tell a story. Now scroll up and read the bios for those people, and you'll see that V'neef's social abilities have got to be terrifying.
- Parental Favoritism: The Empress's support for House V'neef might have just been her standard policy of playing the Great Houses against one another, but Mnemon, at least, believes that the Empress genuinely liked V'neef best.
- Silk Hiding Steel: V'neef doesn't overtly rule her House with an iron fist the way some others (*cough* Mnemon) do. Because of this, many people make the mistake of thinking she's not a politically powerful figure. They are very, very wrong, and she likes it that way.
Ask anyone in the Realm about the major dark horse candidates for the Scarlet Throne, and they might bring up Ledaal Kes, or Sesus Nagezzer, or V'neef herself. But V'neef Bijar just might have a better chance than any of them... and nobody knows it but her.
Sure, she's got no political experience and no base of supporters. But did the Scarlet Empress have those things when she took the throne? No — what she had was the Sword of Creation, which made all those other factors irrelevant. And that's what Bijar intends to have.
For the last three years, the Fire-Aspected Bijar has been using her position as House V'neef's head security expert to research the defenses around the Realm Defense Grid, ostensibly in order to try to reverse-engineer them. What no one knows is that she's very quietly been working on breaking them, and has already made her way past the outer layer of defenses. If she makes it all the way inside, the struggle for the Scarlet Throne is likely to come to a very abrupt end — one that absolutely no one is expecting.
- Cutting the Knot: Bijar's realized that if someone can take control of the Realm Defense Grid, none of the military maneuvering and political scheming the other candidates are spending all their effort on is going to matter one bit.
- No Social Skills: Well, not quite none, but she's notably lacking in tact and social graces for a Dynast, and especially for a child of V'neef. Her default mode of social interaction comes across as intensely abrasive and condescending, something she's entirely unaware of.
- Surrounded by Idiots: Not really — she just has unrealistically high expectations of everyone around her.
- The Unfavorite: Bijar is the least favorite child of V'neef, who finds her untrustworthy and rather obsessive (both of which are absolutely true).
Karal LinweiAn up and coming military commander of the Seventh Legion in Lookshy and a potent Fire Aspect for someone just past the age of seventy. It has been taken as a given until recently that she will become a prominent member of the General Staff, and more. Her career is currently in danger due to the scandal that her mortal daughter Fire Orchid has become one of the hated Anathema (she has in fact Exalted as a Solar).
- That Thing Is Not My Child!: Has not made up her mind on this yet. Fire Orchid is not exactly marching around Lookshy flaunting her Solar exaltation, and Linwei has no idea if the rumors are true or not. She is now searching for her daughter in order to determine whether or not she truly has become an Anathema, and if so how she will react to the situation.
A First Age character in the Dreams of the First Age boxed set.
The oldest Terrestrial ever recorded, Gauto was born some point in the Time of Glory and fought in the Primordial War... and he's managed to outlive Solars simply by living a simple life in harmony with the elements, enduring at least into the Era of Dreams (roughly thirty-five centuries after the end of the Primordial War). His longevity still produces a demand for tissue samples from the Solar Deliberative, however, and the years have taken a major toll on his mind and physique. As a result of his infirmities, the Deliberative has a Dragon King nurse looking after him.
In fact, he isn't all that infirm. His simple life has brought him a great measure of wisdom and enlightenment - his Motivation in its entirety is "Be." A close friend to Kejak, he advises the Sidereal on a broad range of deep and important topics using only allegories involving flowers, his specialty, never even wondering what the actual issue is. Indeed, Gauto has no idea that Kejak is asking his advice on the upcoming Usurpation.
- Really 700 Years Old: He fought in the Primordial War, and by the time of Dreams of the First Age is over 3,500 years old.
- Time Abyss: Over 3,500 years old, which is over ten times the lifespan of a normal Dragon-Blooded (which is usually 300 years without anagathic drugs and/or a particually strong grasp of Essence).
- Being Good Sucks: Because Resonance will hurt you for it unless you get creative about your heroism.
- Cursed With Awesome: Resonance tends to do bad things when it goes off... but sometimes the Exalt wants those bad things to happen, and deliberately cultivates Resonance to weaponize it. (Word of God says that this part is going away.) He's Blessed With Suck at all other times.
- Evil Makes You Ugly: One of the two options Abyssals can choose as they rise in Essence — if they choose not to invest points into Appearance and invoking Evil Is Sexy , they can let their Appearance naturally rot away and become the death that men fear.
- Evil Is Sexy: The other options for Abyssals who don't want to end up looking like shrouded, walking corpses. They can instead focus on putting points into Appearance and become the death that men crave.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Abyssals are the most likely Exalted to have been nobody of particular consequence right up until their deathbed when a Deathlord came to make an offer. The signature Abyssal circle includes a streetwalker, a graverobber, and a poet.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Abyssals can't recover Essence naturally outside of the Underworld. They can, however, sprout fangs and drain Essence out of some poor blighter's throat.
- Redemption Equals Death: Inverted; most Abyssals become Exalted as they die, thus corrupting them rather than redeeming them. That said, it can be played straight — Abyssals can redeem their Exaltations back to Solar nature, but may well die in the attempt.
- Resurrective Immortality: Any Abyssal who learns the Charm Immortal Malevolence Enslavement gains this at the cost of losing a point of Essence when they die, as they forge a connection directly with the Neverborn. Although this does means they can never redeem themselves.
- That Man Is Dead: Abyssals have to give up their pre Exaltation name as part of their Exaltation, so the only time they can answer to their old name is to say this.
- Trauma Conga Line: Dying is often the least bad thing that happens to an Abyssal in his Exalted existence.
The Signature Circle (of First and Second Edition)
The Maiden of the Mirthless Smile
The iconic Dusk caste. Some Abyssals only took up the offer of the Black Exaltation because it was that or death, or because they didn't understand what it meant. The Maiden is not one of those. She was always off as a child (to put it freaking mildly), and she was very good at keeping her dirty deeds hidden from her parents. Like torturing and dissecting animals. And her governess. And her siblings. Until finally, she ended up killing them and burning her house to the ground. Is it any wonder she ended up in the employ of the Mask of Winters?
- Ax-Crazy: As her backstory, current actions and goals show, the only thing she cares for is to kill.
- BFS: Her soulsteel daiklave, Ironic Jest.
- Creepy Child: As a child, she had a fondness for torturing small animals to death. She later expanded her practice to her family members.
- For the Evulz: She's a violent and cruel sociopath, takes pleasure in torturing and killing, and her best memory is the face of her mother just before she murdered her.
- Omnicidal Maniac: All Abyssals are bent towards it, but she excels at it. Her Motivation is "Spit on the ashes of Creation."
- Parental Obliviousness: The Maiden's parents never suspected her: not when her older brother disappeared, not when her nanny disappeared, and not when she started going after other 'prey'. They didn't truly get it until they got stabbed by their own daughter, and even then they were confused. She just laughed in their faces.
- Skunk Stripe: Inverted: she has black streaks in white hair.
- Self-Made Orphan: Murdered her parents in cold blood.
- The Sociopath: Complete with torturing of small animals!
- Token Evil Teammate: Yes, you read that correctly. All the other members of the iconic circle are Punch Clock Villains or believe destroying Creation is a kindness. Not Maiden, though — she just wants to inflict pain before killing whomever.
The Lady of Darkness in Bloodstained Robes
The iconic Midnight caste. In life, she was a street whore and sometime concubine, who fell prey to the numerous sexual diseases she acquired from her patrons. Then the Mask of Winters made her an offer, and she joined up with the main Abyssal circle.
- The Load: As far as her circle's concerned, she's not pulling her weight. It really doesn't help she's seduced most of them. Repeatedly.
- Make Me Wanna Shout: Her trademark attack, screaming people dead.
- Ms. Fanservice: Her outfit goes way beyond a chainmail bikini. There's a reason her Fan Nickname is "Chaintits."
- Punch-Clock Villain: She would have jumped ship by now, except Mask of Winters has terrified her into service.
- Really Gets Around: She's a prostitute. It comes with the job.
- The Resenter: Has a grudge against the Maiden of the Mirthless Smile for being more attractive than her.
- The Vamp: Literally!
The Seven-Degreed Physician of Black Maladies
A scion of House Ragara, the Physician's life took a downturn when he failed to show a sufficiently strong draconic heritage. Eventually, he moved to the Threshold and got involved with unsavory recreational medical practices involving unwilling volunteers; this may or may not have been the reason that someone stabbed him in the face, thus triggering the chance for the Last Breath. He serves as the iconic Daybreak.
- Card-Carrying Villain: Downplayed; while he doesn't overtly revel in being an evil bastard, he is quite sure he did something to deserve getting shanked in the face.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: The opportunity for his Black Exaltation came when he answered his door and got a knife in the forehead... which didnt instantly kill him, instead leaving him in paralyzed agony for hours.
- Deadly Doctor: This was how he made his living as a mortal, and continues to do so in service to the Mask of Winters.
- Evil Counterpart: For Ragara Bhagwei. Same family, same medical skill, none of his compassion.
- Mad Scientist: Makes undead human centipedes rather casually.
- Uncanny Family Resemblance: Looks like an evil version of Ragara Bhagwei.
The Disciple of the Seven Forbidden Wisdoms
The iconic Day Caste. A grave-robbing street rat in his youth, he grew into a handsome seducer of the wealthy. One who kept up his grave-robbing, because it amused him that his rich lovers were screwing someone who'd been knee-deep in corpse the other night. That hobby eventually got him ripped apart by hungry ghosts before the Mask of Winters recruited him. Since his Exaltation, memories of a heroic Solar past life are sowing doubts in him about the whole serving Oblivion thing. Evidently his memories don't cover the madness and cruelty that prompted the Usurpation.
- Glass Cannon: Like Harmonious Jade he excels at Archery, and as a Abyssal rocks with it, but lacks any Resistance charms.
- Good Feels Good: He remembers being a beloved hero in his dreams, and always wakes regretting the lack of that in his daily life.
- HeelFace Turn: in the end comic of Return of Scarlet Empress it's implied that he is now a night caste Solar.
- Love Redeems: Has quite a thing for Harmonious Jade, which chapter comics indicate help lead him to a more heroic path.
- Punch-Clock Villain: According to his writeup in Scroll of Exalts. He's also headed right into Anti-Villain territory.
Falling Tears Poet
The iconic Moonshadow Caste. As his title suggests, he was a poet in his mortal life, one whose sickbed poetry started a quickly-suppressed reform movement in Nexus. He was seduced into the service of Oblivion by the dark beauty it promised.
- Being Evil Sucks: He holds the ghosts he deals with, the Mask of Winters who gives him marching orders, and the Neverborn who command the Mask in contempt, and he can't get his damn conscience to shut up.
- Muse Abuse: Inverted. His muse, Mirror Flag, was using him and abandoned him once he was of no more use to her.
- Nightmare Fetishist: Considers the Void his new muse and wants nothing more than to eulogize Creation itself.
- Tragic Monster: Poet's story is sad and darkly beautiful. He probably wouldn't want it any other way.
Typhon, the Wink of the Storm's Eye
The scion of a noble family exiled from the Realm to Thorns, he was the last survivor after the family's matriarch launched a rebellion against the Mask of Winters that the Deathlord utterly crushed. Sensing the young man's ruthlessness and cruelty, the Mask of Winters granted him Exaltation, and subsequently named him Thorns' ambassador to the Confederation of Rivers. Under the name of Typhon, he presently occupies himself with toying with and murdering the members of the Confederation's high society, eager for the day when his master will order him to dispense with his pretenses of diplomacy and slaughter them all en masse.
- Ambadassador: Technically, he's an assassin who only pretends to be an ambassador.
- Blood Knight: He secretly hopes that a Great Detective will sniff him out so he has an excuse to go hog-wild with the killing.
- Evil Is Sexy: Especially since he is notably more healthy looking than most Abyssals, which aids him well in his role as a spy.
- Faux Affably Evil: He is explictly described as someone who looks and acts like he gets away with murder only in the figurative sense. Hes managed it literally as well, and his smooth persona hides a savage beast.
- Unlimited Wardrobe: Has an artifact that provides one.
- The Vamp: Male version.
- Worthy Opponent: Wishes for one so he can have a challenge and an excuse to kill more openly.
The Shoat of the Mire
First, go check out the Dowager's entry (Spirits page, Ghosts folder, Deathlords category). Done? Okay. The Shoat is whatever poor, terrified girl (and it's always a girl she chooses) is left over from the Dowager's latest round of perpetual child abuse. Said girl is always Exalted as a Dusk, which means the end result is a traumatized young girl with the potential to slaughter armies. The Dowager's used up several, but apparently likes the title enough to re-use it.
- Break the Cutie: The end result of this. Hell, it's implied in a comic that the current Shoat was forced to kill her own mother.
- Creepy Child: Abyssal child. Again, comes with the territory.
- Enfant Terrible: The Dowager does a nasty job to their minds.
- Legacy Character: Every Shoat holds the same title and Exaltation.
- Little Miss Badass: Exalted child. Perk of the job.
- Tyke Bomb: ... Dude.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Already was the case for sympathetic Abyssals, but it's even harder to quantify whether a truly irredeemable Shoat of the Mire is truly evil or so broken that all she has the capacity to do now is lash out in pain at everything.
The Fallen Wolf of the Cutting Sea
Not all Abyssals come about because of dark bargains with their Deathlords. Some of them start off worse. Before he was the Fallen Wolf, he was actually a Solar, chosen as a Zenith Caste. Then the Silver Prince found out there was a Solar in arms' reach, abducted him, tortured him, and thrust him into a Monstrance of Celestial Portion. The new Solar had two options — death, or service to his master. He chose the latter, and ended up converted to the cause of the Neverborn. Kind of. Most of the time, he refuses to do what his undead master commanded, to the point that the Prince exiled him from Skullstone. Now he fights behind the scenes in the West, desperately trying to both overthrow the Prince and find a way back into the light of the Unconquered Sun.
- The Atoner: Desperately wants not to be what he was forced to become.
- Being Good Sucks: It's not enough that he has to worry about Resonance or having the Prince decide to just waste him, he's got the Whispers of the Neverborn in his head.
- Walking the Earth: The Fallen Wolf spends most of his time at sea, travelling between islands. It helps to cut down on the risk of a Resonance eruption slaughtering innocents.
The Prince of Shadows
A poor boy who had the misfortune to be unwanted by both his family and the Sijanese Mortician's Order, which his family handed him over to. You'd hardly know it looking at the present him, and he would rather like to keep it that way. Not so poor now, he looks forward to the day when the only thing around is the yawning maw of Oblivion and its sweet music.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: His favorite pastime. In a comic, he threatens Arianna with sharing his enjoyment.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: And anyone who finds out about the Nobody part is likely to die screaming.
- Undying Loyalty: He owes everything to the Lover, and she knows her control over him is absolute and unwavering.
The Melkin Fool in Red
Ringmaster of the Circus Moribund. What is the Circus Moribund, you ask? Nothing more than the Lover Clad in the Raiment of Tears's take on those internet shock sites that ask whether or not a kind and loving god would make cyclops kittens that die shortly after birth, and a wide array of other congenital issues across many different species. The aim is to get the living to see their state as being ultimately horrible and pointless.
- Affably Evil: Welcomes strangers to the Circus with all the theatrical friendliness of a more typical ringmaster.
- Circus of Fear: Runs one.
The Harbinger of the Ghost-Cold Wind
"Advocate of the dead" who has no patience or sympathy for the living. Formerly a Haslanti shaman, now goes around killing people who don't revere their ancestors, to show them what it's like to live as a ghost without anyone to provide nourishing worship. Also makes sure that ghosts return on their end of the bargain if they're just fleecing their descendants, however.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Didn't celebrate your ghostly father's departure date because you were trying to find your lost children, whom you didn't know were dead? He'll reanimate the children and set the resulting zombies on you.
- Jerkass: He'll be smiling on the way out when he does it, too.
- Lack of Empathy: Averted. He actually has Compassion 5. It's just that he reserves it for ghosts.
- Red Baron: He's also known as the White Walker.
- Skewed Priorities: Heavily prioritizes respect for the dead over concern for the living, even with situations where the dead person(s) would probably sympathize and/or understand.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Well, he does make the ghosts act as proper ancestors who deserve to be revered, but you wouldn't know it if you happened to be on the receiving end of his vigilantism.
The Visitor in the Hall of Obsidian Mirrors
Formerly one of Panther's team-mates, and also formerly known as White Bone Sinner. Panther killed him to impress a patron, and he is understandably eager to gain vengeance. Also fouled up the affair with getting an undead concubine, courtesy of Jiunan Nightwarden, whom he also hates. Wears a conical hat made of woven bones.
- "Ass" in Ambassador: He was Exalted as a Moonshadow, but because he's a gladiator, his social skills aren't really up to scratch. This doesn't really faze Walker in Darkness, who put him in charge of a delicate diplomatic operation anyway.
- The Chew Toy: The Visitor really cant catch a break. As a mortal, he was beaten to death by Panther, and as an Abyssal, his luck hasnt improved much; after Nightwarden screwed up his attempt to get hold of a concubine for Walker in Darkness, the Walker did... something to him that radically altered his identity (to the point where he now has a different name; he was originally White Bone Sinner) and Walkers rampant Genre Blindness regarding the flexibility of castes means hes been given a diplomatic job hes ill-equipped to complete.
The Weeping Raiton Cast Aside
Throwing her past behind her, she opted to be her own representative to the Neverborn. Now, she travels the Underworld as an example of what Abyssals can become, and acts as a counselor between different factions serving the dead gods trapped in the Labyrinth.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Raiton has completely discarded her past from before becoming an Abyssal; shes completely deleted it from her memory.
- Mysterious Past: Nobody knows where Weeping Raiton came from.
Meticulous Owl (Endless-Faced Spite)The Ebon Dragon's patsy amongst the Abyssals... maybe. Has a background that's even harder to make sense of than the Mirror Flag's - you can at least read that one backwards and make a semblance of a hidden story thread out of it.
- Consummate Liar: Hes a Moonshadow, but has somehow convinced the First and Forsaken Lionwho's not just a Deathlord, but the one who Exalted himthat hes actually a Day Caste. It helps that hes likely an akuma serving the Ebon Dragon.
- Enigmatic Minion: So much so that even the book has no idea what to make of him. His writeup in the Scroll of Exalts has a sidebar simply titled What the...?
- The Grotesque: Hes described as being horrifically ugly even before his Exaltation, with one eye and horrible disfigurations. As can be expected, he has Appearance 0.
- Multiple-Choice Past: To the point where you fully expect him to say "Do you want to know how I got this Exaltation?" at every proper dramatic opportunity.
- Abstract Apotheosis: Averting this is what makes Devil Tiger Infernals so impressive. A Devil Tiger has most of the capabilities of their Cosmic Principle progenitors, while remaining human enough to avoid the flaw of being near-incapable of comprehending anything outside said principle.
- Anti Anti Christ: If they choose to be.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: Certain Infernal Charms can cause the Infernal to gain elements of this.
- Contractual Genre Blindness: How they reduce Limit.
- Cursed With Awesome: More so than the Abyssals, who tend to be Blessed With Suck.
- Deal with the Devil: How all 2E Infernals get Exalted. When someone almost does something that would get them Exalted, but fails for some reason, they hear a voice (of a First Circle Demon, but they don't know that part) offering them the power to succeed in the future. If they accept, the demon bonds with them to grant them the Infernal Exaltation, then directs them to Malfeas for further training.
- Any Infernal who learns the Charm Verdant Emptiness Endowment can do this, allowing anyone to improve some of their traits, at the cost of a later favour (which they don't know at the time). Later Charms allow them to bestow backgrounds, mutations, Charms and spells.
- Enemy Within: Subverted and played straight. The Unwoven Coadjutor, the Essence of the demon that bore their exaltation, remains a separate part of the Infernal's soul. It can do absolutely nothing other than offer advice. On the other hand, their memories of the First Age are so complete that it's not uncommon for one to have their pre-Usurpation Solar self be recreated in their mind... which may not be a good thing.
- Evil Sorcerer: The Primordials invented sorcery as a sort of "programming code" of Creation, Infernals draw power from the imprisoned Primordials... Making them even better examples is that the Sorcerous Enlightenment Charms specifically enhance spells in line with their respective patron's themes, meaning that a Slayer has an easier time casting destructive spells and a Fiend has aptitude with shadow and the destruction of boundaries.
- Fusion Dance: The process of Infernal Exaltation involves the Yozis imbuing an Infernal Exaltation into a First Circle demon, then sending them out into Creation to find a candidate and offer them the Exaltation's power in return for service. If the candidate accepts, they merge with the demon to receive the Exaltation, in the process acquiring some minor physical and emotional characteristics from it, and having its consciousness live on in their minds. The Unwoven Coadjutor background lets a player decide how useful they can be.
- God-Emperor: While Devil-Tigers is the most commonly used term for Infernals who go truly renegade, the original term used by the writers was Green Sun Kings.
- Horrifying Hero: By the frakking Yozis, they're not someone you would want to face. Of course, the same could be applied to other Exalted.
- Humanoid Abomination: Even before they go down the Heretic path, they're drawing power from the Yozis. If they become Devil-Tigers, they develop into full-fledged Titan-human hybrids, potentially with a soul hierarchy... except their core being is, instead of a world-body or a Third Circle demon, their human self.
- Hybrid Power: Heretical Charms play with this. The earlier Charms require Charms from two different Yozis as prerequisites, so stem from a hybrid of two Yozis. It's also the reason the Yozis cannot adapt them, as they are too heavily rooted into other Yozis to do so.
- Mad Scientist: Any Defiler worth his salt probably has the inclination, even more than Twilights (which actually annoys their patron, She Who Lives In Her Name. She wanted viceroys, not visionaries!).
- Noble Demon: As a function of Contractual Genre Blindness, heroic Infernals who don't want to go into Torment act like this.
- Past-Life Memories: Since the Exaltations the Sidereals captured in the Usurpation were never returned to Lytek, he never removed the memories from their last life. The Ebon Dragon realized how useful the memories of 50 First Age Solars could be, and ensured that the personality remained.
- Personality Powers: In 2e, each Yozi could be considered as a cluster of Charms which are linked to their personality, so each Yozi's Charm themes match their personality, meaning an Infernal wanting to do something sneaky or deceptive would need Ebon Dragon Charms, but an Infernal who just wanted to hit something as hard as possible would use Malfeas Charms.
- Rape as Backstory: Manual of Exalted Power: Infernals implies that each new Infernal is gang-raped by the Third Circle demons of his or her Yozi patron, followed by the Third Circle demons of the Yozi who created his or her urge. This is one of the many reasons why the vast majority of the fluff in that book is Canon Discontinuity.
- Retcon: For Third Edition, the Green Sun Princes have their Castes redesigned from the ground up, and their Charms go from Essence-based to Ability-based, from being the Yozis' actual Charms to being influenced by them and their nature, and now draw from all of the known Yozis rather than being limited to the Reclamation members. They also lose the capacity to become Primordials in their own right, though they can still emulate their nature (like spinning off aspects of themselves into demons and creating worlds in their souls). They're chosen from the ranks of those who have suffered injustice and oppression, in the expectation of them biting back.
- Split-Personality Takeover: If a Infernal uses the memories of their Exaltation's past host, they risk the personality taking over if they fail or succeed spectacularly, driving the Infernal to act towards the Solar's Motivation and Intimacies. The Solar is horrified at what has happened and tries as hard as they are able to try and subvert the will of the Yozis.
- Transhuman: They merge body and soul with a demon as part of their Exaltation, and are slowly mutating, body mind and soul, to resemble Primordials.
The Signature Coven (of Second Edition)
The iconic Slayer. He was once the eldest son of the high chief of the Talinin, with all the qualities of a warrior. When the Bull of the North started to assault their territory. Cearr was conscripted into the Tepet Legions, where he experienced combat among the lords of creation for the first time. He was about to charge a demon when it locked eyes with him... and Cearr broke and ran from the battle, effectively lost. As he screamed from shame, a voice told him that if he was Exalted the battle would have turned out differently. With nothing left to lose, he accepted. Now he is terrorizing the northeast, destroying everything in his path.
- Evil Redhead: Big ol' spiky mop of brick.
- Gender Bender: His previous incarnation was a chick.
- My Greatest Failure: When he panicked when fighting a demon and fled from battle.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: If the art in Return of the Scarlet Empress page 203 is anything to go by.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: More or less is Cearr's Urge and Motivation.
The iconic Malefactor. A Dune Person, she was an apprentice to the tribal shaman. But the spirits rejected her, dumping her unceremoniously in the deep desert to die there. She refused to seek mercy from the Unconquered Sun, cursing him instead, and received an offer from Cecylene she didn't refuse. Now she seeks to unite the Dune People under her banner (and, by extension, that of her patron).
- Affably Evil: For a Crazy Survivalist who wants to conquer the South in the name of an Eldritch Abomination in order to achieve vengeance against the very gods, she's really polite.
- Cute Monster Girl: Sort of. The Dune People are human, it's just that they're mostly albino, since the Solars engineered them to be allergic to sunlight so that they couldn't flee from slavery.
- Femme Fatale: She's more morally ambiguous than the Lady of Darkness in Bloodstained Robes, but she's still very sexy and very dangerous.
- Love Redeems: The section on the Lunar Exalted in Return of the Scarlet Empress, which mentions this phenomena, has a picture of her making out with her Lunar mate.
- Naughty Nun: This is made hilariously nonsensical by the fact that nobody in Creation dresses like that. Logically, one would expect Bondage Immaculate Monk to fulfill the same niche, but nope, she breaks the fourth wall to use out-of-setting iconography.
- Stripperiffic: She wears a skimpy red number that's mostly Cleavage Window. It includes a wimple.
- The Vamp: A comic in Celestial Directions: Malfeas shows her attempting to convert Demetheus.
The iconic Defiler Caste. Bitter Copal grew up in An-Teng, where worship of Yozis such as She Who Lives In Her Name was quietly accepted. He was trained in the medical arts, and eventually ended up serving on a ship crewed by Dragon-Blooded. When the captain was grievously wounded, he did what he could to save the man, but that required amputating his arm. Unfortunately, the captain's underlings strongly disagreed with this course of action, and ended up deciding that Bitter Copal needed to pay in full for what he did. After having his arm chopped off and getting thrown in the brig, Bitter Copal prayed to the Yozis... and they answered, as a demonic swarm tore through the ship, killing the others, while he entered his chrysalis. Now fully emerged and versed in the ways of helltech, he aims to bring order back to An-Teng — the order of She Who Lives In Her Name.
- An Arm and a Leg: The inciting incident for his Exaltation.
- Artificial Limbs: His right arm is a big crab-claw thing. And yes, it's a demon.
- Deadly Doctor: He's a surgeon.
- Mad Scientist: His Motivation is to construct a wonder more terrible than any seen in the First Age. When you consider some of the things they did in the First Age, that's pretty fucking horrifying.
- Punch-Clock Villain: His backstory doesn't make him seem all that malevolent — the "failure" that lead to his Infernal Exaltation was refusing to help a Jerkass surgeon whose language he didn't speak, and the main indicator of his general evilness level is that he's a cultist of She Who Lives In Her Name...in An-Teng, where it's quietly accepted and encouraged since they don't fully comprehend the depths of her Control Freak tendencies (they think she just wants things to run in an orderly fashion, which is very appealing to a people who have basically had all independence stripped from their government).
- Telekinesis: thanks to She Who Lives In Her Name's charms.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Believes that he is doing the right thing.
The iconic Scourge. Once, he was Ernst Gyrkin, a lowly airboat crewman from the Haslanti League whose ambitions exceeded his capabilities. Always daring too much, he responded to denial of a command by taking an airship by force, only to end up surrendering rather than escaping. Following his imprisonment, a huge glass spider approached him with an offer; now, as Captain Gyrfalcon, he's set out to terrorise the Haslanti skies (as well as randomly obliterating agronomy and stealing excavated weaponry). It's pretty much safe to say the Haslanti forces wouldn't want to have him back, whether mortal or Exalted.
- Black Eyes of Evil: A byproduct of his dipping into the Ebon Dragon's Charms.
- Hot-Blooded: Unfortunately, not in a good way.
- Jerkass: Once nearly got three of his childhood friends killed by baiting a bear. He even gets on Adorjan's nerves (which, given that her love is... lethal, is a good survival strategy).
- Sky Pirate: He has an airboat, and he wants your money.
- Sword and Gun: And the gun belches forth literally hellish flames.
- White Hair, Black Heart: He's platinum blonde, and yep, he's a jackass.
Once upon a time, one of House Manosque's scions, Viridian, attempted to seize the throne from the Scarlet Empress with the Eye of Autochthon. That ended badly, as most things involving the Eye tend to. Afterwards, the entire house was put to the sword — save for one. The heirs of House Manosque are made aware of their heritage, and forbidden from serving the Realm in any way that would grant them power, as a way of paying for the sins of their forebears. It's also a very good way to breed long-standing resentment. So when the Ebon Dragon approached Manosque Cyan with an offer to drive the Realm to ruin, she gladly accepted. She's the iconic Fiend.
- The Corrupter: Cyan passes herself off as another member of the Deliberative while using her powers to try and ruin it. Her Motivation and Urge both rely on utterly corrupting or destroying the Realm.
- Genocide Backfire: Hopes to be this.
- Hime Cut: Her hairstyle connects with her demure and proper attitude, even when giving nosy folk the "Yet you made one mistake..." business.
- I Never Said It Was Poison: Slips up and lets out one of these in a Return of the Scarlet Empress comic. It's a pretty silly mistake for someone with a superhuman level of manipulative skill, but then again, she can't have had any trouble fighting with Sesus Nagezzar, either.
- Meaningful Name: Like her rebellious ancestor Manosque Viridian, Cyan's name is a color between green and blue.
- The Mole: In the Deliberative.
- Punch-Clock Villain: The deal the Ebon Dragon made her was offered in an "accept or die now" situation. She's pretty much only in it to screw over the Scarlet Empire from the inside out.
- Revenge: The realm wiped out her House, and she plans to return the favor.
The Orchid-Consuming Guardian
- You Are Worth Hell: Subverted, then played straight. The Orchid-Consuming Guardian followed his daughter into Malfeas to rescue her from the demon that had abducted her. He was all set to receive a Solar Exaltation for having braved Hell to rescue a loved one... but then he decided that Hell was just too scary, and turned his back on his pursuit. The Yozis presented him with an Infernal Exaltation soon after, no doubt after laughing their asses off. However, as his Motivation is to retrieve his daughter from whatever quarter of Malfeas she's wedged into, he hasn't entirely abandoned his quest.
Basphomy in Verdigris
A previewed Slayer-equivalent for third edition, a former Tengese pawn who is enjoying all the perks of her new station.
- Anti-Hero: Word of God is that she'll be this at her worst.
- Composite Character: The creators describe her as having the fashion sense of Dejah Thoris while acting like John Carter.
- Dual Wield: With weapons older than the current nations of the world, no less.
- The Fighting Narcissist: For all her hedonism and love of jewels and finery, etc., she's still the bearer of what is once a Dawn Exaltation.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Two years ago she had nothing. Now...
- The Hedonist: Developer commentary indicates that given time for a proper commission, she'd be depicted lounging on a pile of money and rare furs while sipping fine wine from a bloodstained chalice, surrounded by mortal and demonic slaves.
- Hellfire: Uses poisonous green fire. A lot.
- Horned Humanoid: Those horns in her preview sketch? Not a mask.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Word of God is that she isn't really that evil, being at Anti-Hero levels at her very worst.
- Scaled Up: When she gets serious about combat, shifts into an eyeless dragon that kills with sonic screams that can shatter marble.
- Stripperiffic: tends to wear very little.
- Super Toughness: Doesn't wear armour because she doesn't need it.
- The Dark Arts: Akumahood is a good way to get more power, at the cost of your personality being utterly rewritten into a human-scale version of your patron Yozi...
- Deal with the Devil: Really, making arrangements with the Demon Princes and their souls just isn't a good idea. Of course most people don't know that you have to give up your precious Free Will for all that power...
- Fake Memories: Occasionally, the Third Circle needs to shuffle skills around a bit. This is how.
- Loss of Identity: Because the Yozi ripped out your old identity and replaced it with a more useful one.
- Not Himself: An Akuma is a fundamentally different person than before the Demonic Investiture.
- Retcon: Their 2e version, where they universally end up as Yozi puppets, is dropped in 3e, although the basic concept of Exalts who make bargains with the Yozis and gain power is still around.
Burning Eyes Maiden
- Eye Scream: Guess how she cemented her infernal bargain!
- Full-Frontal Assault: Traipses about Creation and so on without a stitch. Except for the fire.
- Hime Cut: Not that it actually reflects anything, unless you want to make a case for being a Yozi sockpuppet.
- No Name Given: Her epithet's a Fan Nickname. Her actual identity, we don't know.
Fehim grew up in the Varang City-States, the bastard child of a forbidden liaison between the Varang castes. He was abandoned onto the streets at a young age, where the criminal Three Devils Gang adopted him. His high intelligence and quick wits enabled him to be the gang's security chief, until a raid by a Dynast destroyed the gang. After being Exalted as a Solar, he went to the greatest asset of the Three Devils Gang, a demon long-trapped in a vault. The demon wanted a price for its aid — a sacrifice of a Dragon-Blood's heart. In time, the demon converted him into an Akuma.
- Character Development: He was a recurring Solar from Castebook: Twilight on out, but by Return of the Scarlet Empress he is an Akuma. With an Orichalcum eye. Fan reaction was... mixed.
Lintha Ng Hut Dukantha
- Too Awesome to Use: He's the most powerful akuma in the Age of Sorrows, but there's only one of him and he can be killed. So Kimbery keeps him under wraps nearly all of the time.
The Blood Queen
The Harborhead Royal Guard executes any Brides of Ahlat who lie with anyone other than their husband as a matter of course. Unfortunately for brides who have been forced into the act physically, this includes their number. The Blood Queen found herself in this position at the hands of several Dragon-Blooded, and escaped to let her "husband" know what she thought about that setup with the aid of the Yozis.
- Faustian Bargain: To get back at the Dynasts who raped her and the divine order who abandoned her.
- Rape as Drama: The drama being that her religious vows mandated execution even though she wasn't willing.
A veteran of the Primordial war and pioneer of Solar Hero Style, Gorol was the only survivor of his circle's successful assault on a Primordial, and therefore the only one to hear it utter the Great Curse, catapulting him over the Despair Event Horizon. Later became the first Akuma.
- Supernatural Martial Arts: He's the reason that the Infernal Monster Style exists in the first place.
- Unperson: The very fact that a Solar could align himself with the Yozis and become their willing servant did not go over well with anyone. Solar Queen Merela did everything she could to erase the evidence of Gorol's infernal bargain, and even when it inevitably came out, she'd managed to purge enough info that no one knows the whole story.
- War Is Hell: There's a picture◊ in Broken-Winged Crane of the aftermath. Note the face in the smoke.
When Autochthon first noted the Solars' growing insanity, he decided to hide out in Elsewhere, taking several thousand humans along with him. To help them survive in Autochthonia, his world-body, Autochthon taught them the secrets of Alchemical Exaltation, enabling them to create champions who would protect them from the dangers of Autochthonia's internal environments.
That was several thousand years ago, and Autochthon's starting to run down. Resources are low, more and more babies are being stillborn, and blight zones and gremlins, the manifestations of Autochthon's illness, are steadily increasing. Nevertheless, the Champions stand ready to defend their people.
However, not all Alchemicals are on the side of Autochthon, but instead serve the void. Known as Apostates, these Exalts, either through Gremlin Symdrome or a lust of power, embrace the void and work towards the death of Autochthon.
- Alien Blood: It even glows.
- Artificial Human: They can do pretty much anything normal humans can do. One major exception is their inability to reproduce (though not to say they can't be damn good at doing it for fun — see Thousandfold Courtesan Calculations and their body shaping charms). If they are able to reproduce, that means something is very, very wrong, because the only way to do so is with Void charms.
- Captain Patriotic: They are created by the state and used on all their patriotic propaganda.
- Chainsaw Good: It's not enough that they have a weapon known as the Gyroscopic Chakram. Oh, no. They have an entire Martial Arts style (Thousand-Wounds Gear) based around it.
- The Corruption: Gremlin Syndrome is this, slowly turning infected Alchemicals Ax-Crazy, and allowing them to use Voidtech without issue. Alchemicals have no way of curing it, but the Solars are quite capable of doing so, if the Autochthonians are able to breach the Seal of Eight Divinities.
- Cyborg: Their core body is primarily fleshy clay, but their Charms are metal.
- Genius Loci: At essence 8, they grow into living cities.
- Humongous Mecha: At essence 6, they grow into these.
- Killer Robot: Once the Alchemical gets Dissonance they become this.
- Magitek: They're Magical Cyborg Demigod Homunculi. That turn into Mechs. And then Cities.
- Robotic Psychopath: Can apply to high-Clarity Alchemicals, who abandon any concept of morality except for sheer, utilitarian efficiency.
- Sanity Strengthening: Alchemicals who come into contact with Exalted whose magical material is identical to the Alchemical's Caste can reduce the Exalt's Limit gain.
- The Spock: Certain Charms and spells require that they acquire Clarity, which brings them more in line with the thought process of Autochthon. This also makes them more robotic and emotionless, causing them to base most of their decisions on logic and protocol. Some Alchemicals endeavor to avoid such a thing by spending lots of time with human friends and loved ones. It's made fairly explicit, however, that a high-Clarity Alchemical does not turn into a preachy Vulcan who talks incessantly about the "logical course of action"; their Clarity simply drives them towards the most efficient course of action.
- Ax-Crazy: Any Apostate who gains too much Dissonance becomes this, being unable to resist the urge to kill or vandalize whenever they get the chance.
- Body Horror: Voidtech often takes this form.
- Sadist: Develop this when they start to get Dissonance, but not enough for them to become Ax-Crazy.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Voidtech is extremely powerful, but often comes with Dissonance.
The iconic Orichalcum caste. Early on in his existence, Rishi was a brilliant Yugashite general who racked up the wins in war until a conversation with a holy man made him reexamine his motives for doing so. He transitioned into politics, becoming a respected legal analyst, diplomat, and wartime negotiator. He's still called on occasionally to install his old war charms.
Rishi's particular field of study is the nature of ideal law and its enforcement, and his writings on the subject have led some to suspect him of pacifism or anti-Yugash sentiments. He doesn't directly criticize the government of the day, instead presenting scenarios in deliberate, but nonspecific, contrast with current events.
- Ambadassador: Has experience both as a diplomat and a warrior.
- The Atoner: A rather mild case, since he has been driving forward on that path for centuries.
- Cool Old Guy: In both his character writeups and the comics he appears in, Fair-Spoken Rishi comes off as pretty reasonable and personable.
- The Stoic: Due to high Clarity.
Excessively Righteous Blossom
The iconic Moonsilver caste. What the Tripartite Assembly of Yugash wanted when they had him made was a flexible and innovative hero. What they got was an ultra-orthodox idealist. While he's good at most things he turns his hand to, what he is not, noticeably, is a people person, and there are a lot of pissed-off Yugashites who can testify to that (and several who can't, as attested by his ill-fated stint as a battalion commander).
- Everyone Has Standards: When presented with the burned body of a messenger, Blossom at first remains stoic... but in the final panel of that comic, his stone-faced facade falls apart. When a nearby mortal asks what to do with monsters whod do this, Blossoms response is simple.
- Modern Major General: He's charismatic and a great warrior, but he's awful at tactics.
- The Neidermeyer: He made it very clear that his many spectacular failures as a commanding officer were due to the incompetence of his troops, and not a result of his command skills being on par with a punch-drunk fix beetle, why would you think that?
- Not So Stoic: As mentioned under Everyone Has Standards, Blossom initially doesnt react to the burnt body of a messenger, but he pretty quickly fails to hide how pissed he is.
- The Rival: To the Righteous Devil, the Dawn-caste cowboy of the South.
- The Scrappy: In-universe. People hate him so much that a Sovan poster has the Jade Caste Stern Whip of Industry using his face as a rock to pose on.
- Small Name, Big Ego: He thinks he's the paragon of Yugash. Yugash does not share his opinion.
- This Is Unforgivable!: As mentioned, this is his reaction when he receives the burned body of a messenger whose soulgem had been ripped out. While Alchemicals are normally stone-faced and calm, Blossom's expression◊ in the final panel of the comic makes it VERY clear what he's feeling.
Lissome Avid Engineer
The iconic Starmetal caste, who dreams of creating the greatest works of architecture ever seen. She's still quite young, but her social skills have made her far more popular than most new Champions. If her home nation of Yugash makes contact with Creation, she'll probably be responsible for the construction of their forward bases.
- Bare Your Midriff: Her costume shows off her stomach.
- Buxom Is Better: Engineer has the largest bust of any character (at least in her "iconic Starmetal" artwork in the Alchemical splatbook).
- Ms. Fanservice: She's the cover girl for CoCD: Autochthonia. This is also an Invoked Trope; in the comic detailing her creation, her maker lusted after her inactive clay form, and installed a sex Charm in her despite the fact that she was made to be an engineer.
Stern Whip of Industry
The iconic Jade caste. He's practically a national institution in Sova: there are posters of his face in nurseries. He lives up to this acclaim by working extremely hard for the betterment of his country and by teaching others to do the same.
Despite his vast strength, he's very nice and rather gentle. This is causing problems for him at present, since most of his country is just itching for a fight. His desire to avoid war has made him into a divisive figure, which isn't at all what he wants to be.
- The Big Guy: Class 2. The huge guy towering over the others on the cover of Manual of Exalted Power: Alchemicals? That's him.
- Gentle Giant: Generally speaking. He is a skilled combatant, though, and will fight if necessary or most efficient.
- The Paragon: His job is to inspire the Populat to give 110% of their effort. He does this by working alongside them and heroically volunteering for the toughest, most dangerous and dirtiest jobs in the factory.
- Patriotic Fervor: Portrayed in a generally positive light. He's loyal to Sova, and is an icon of the nation. Trouble is, the aggressives in Sovan society are questioning why he's reluctant to fight.
Dreadful Adjudicator of Law
The iconic Soulsteel caste, a regulator (law enforcer) in the nation of Gulak, who is typically to be found patrolling the streets in his all-concealing body armor.
- Bishōnen: He's pretty attractive under the armor.
- The Dreaded: Has a habit of lurking around corners and scaring the shit out of tourists. Mind, on the occasion that some poor sod not just turns that corner but actually collides with him...he doesn't much care.
- The Fettered: Adjudicator was created to uphold Gulak's laws, and he does, without mercy or leniency. If he were to betray the law, he would be unable to live with himself.
- In Love with the Mark: Adjudicator's current problem. He's infiltrated a dissident movement, becoming the lover of the woman who leads it. He's got all the evidence he needs to bring the movement's members in, but what's stopping him is that he's actually fallen for the leader - and for the life his alternate identity lives. He's not about to renounce Gulak, but equally, he can't destroy the life he's created for himself, so he's trying to bring his lover into accordance with the law.
- Worth noting, the dissident movement is significantly less radical than, say, the green movement by modern standards.
- The Quiet One: Doesn't pipe up a lot outside of his duties.
- Secret Identity: Janiss, the false identity he devised while infiltrating the dissident movement mentioned above.
- The Stoic: The most emotion he shows in public is impatience with attempts to resist arrest.
Thousand Faceted Nelumbo
The iconic Adamant caste, a specialist in martial arts. Her previous incarnation was a loyal servant of Debok Moom, one of Autochthon's Divine Ministers. When he was killed, Debok Moom immediately had the soul reincarnated as Thousand Faceted Nelumbo. She watches over the outcast colonies near Autochthon's Pole of Crystal, and drives off expeditions from the Eight Nations.
- Deadly Upgrade: Just like Ragara Myrrun, Nelumbo seeks to initiate herself into Sidereal Martial Arts. Also like Ragara Myrrun, she's likely to destroy herself if she tries; her Scroll of Exalts writeup has a sidebar titled "BOOM!, Revisited."
- Fish out of Temporal Water: Here's the thing: because Debok Moom didn't allow Nelumbo's soul to have a few more goes as a mortal Autochthonian, there's a 762-year gap in her memories (because of her previous Alchemical incarnation), and she's somewhat overwhelmed by modern Autochthonia.
- Gender Bender: Her previous incarnation was a dude.
- Innocent Fanservice Girl: Downplayed. She's mostly as pure as the driven snow, but she knows perfectly well that her getup would attract stares. She just doesn't think she needs clothes most of the time, and for the most part, she doesn't.
- Ms. Fanservice: Typically, the only clothing she wears is a cloak. Sometimes it just barely covers her chest, sometimes it doesn't. Besides the fact she can't actually get cold (she's a robot, remember?), she doesn't really deal with humans most of the time, so she doesn't see the need. When she needs to talk with someone who would care, the cloak reshapes into normal clothing. The developers' own nickname for her? Maiden of the Missing Pants.
- The Stoic: Not one to let her feelings show, and she has high Clarity much of the time.
Voice of Authority
One doesn't always get what one was expecting when one makes an Alchemical of a specific Caste, but it isn't always a bad thing; Voice is a Soulsteel Caste, and thus meant to serve the nation of Gulak as a pragmatic and ruthless enforcer of Autochthonian law, a scourge of the Voidbringers. What came out of the vats was a bombastic, friendly, and proud Action Hero and serial seducer. After destroying a large and deep-seated Void cult, he found he was much more suited to the "destruction of the Great Maker's enemies" than the "ferreting them out" bit, and he quickly became a scourge of the Reaches, searching out and destroying the largest nests of The Corruption he could find. Unlike Blossom, he also happens to have a good estimation of his own skills, meaning his ego comes off as charming rather than irritating to the populace of his nation. This does not sit well with the Gulaki Tripartite; he was meant to be an enforcer, not an icon, and they are rapidly growing annoyed at his combination of not doing what they want and being too competent to be censured for it. For his part, Voice doesn't care — he loves being a Champion, and the people love him.
- Bishōnen: Unlike Dreadful Adjudicator of Law, he doesn't wear a helmet, being a fairly trusting person. And what a face it would conceal!
- Cowboy Cop: He really doesn't care for direct authority at all.
- Glory Hound: A rare example in that it's a secondary motive for him — he honestly loves Gulak and Autochthon, he just thinks he deserves recognition for his deeds.
- Hope Bringer: See above.
- Insufferable Genius: Subverted. He's hot shit, knows he's hot shit, but doesn't rub it in the face of other people. It's why he's featured prominently on Gulaki propaganda posters.
Created through the holy necromancy of the mysterious entity called the Dark Mother when her attention is drawn to those truly determined to bring back the dead, Liminals are dead bodies given new life — sometimes patchwork, sometimes not. The "no backsies" rule applies, however: Liminals are not the people whose corpses made them, nor ghosts dredged from The Underworld — they are entirely new souls who are effectively "born Exalted," having only trace memories of said corpse donors. If need be, they can even hack off the parts of the recently dead to replace any unsatisfactory organs they already have. Standing between death and life themselves, their mission is to keep the dead and the living balanced, champions of Lethe — though they are not bound to that purpose, and can set out to find their own place in Creation.
First introduced in Masters of Jade.
- Appendage Assimilation: The Liminals can heal from loss of limbs and dismemberment as long as their pieces can later be gathered and brought close together. If a few missing parts go missing, this can be dealt with as long as they can find or make a handy corpse, at which point they can remove the parts they need and incorporate them into their own bodies. They can also replace parts they still have for more advantageous replacements — for instance, swapping out their eyeballs for a superior pair to gain better eyesight, or doing the same with their hands to gain better dexterity.
- Back from the Dead: Since they are not "alive" in a conventional sense, they can get around the No-Resurrection rule... to a point.
- Body Horror: Their charms are big on this. The corebook's Liminal quick character alone has such wonderful examples such as generating additional body mass to get more strength (which quickly rots away once the charm is ended), having their eyes go red with blood to see incorporeal undead, becoming grotesquely double-jointed to climb up walls and bursting bones out of your body to generate cover.
- Came Back Wrong: The likely belief of the people trying to resurrect their old bodies. There is no resurrection involved, though.
- Critical Status Buff: Going by the corebook's quick character, several of their charms become less expensive or more powerful the more damaged their bodies are.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Their core mission is essentially creative and nonviolent, and the Dark Mother is very much an example of Good Parents.
- Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: The conundrum of a Liminal's existence leaves him wondering just for what purpose he exists.
- Expy: One criticism that has been made about their Kickstarter preview for third edition is that it's too focused on their Promethean inspiration and doesn't build up enough of their own distinct identity.
- Foil: To Abyssals — while Abyssals are the living brought into death, the Liminals are the dead remade into new life.
- Frankenstein's Monster: What they are. Like the Monster, they are possessed of incredible strength and wonder about their place in the world.
- Hunter of Monsters: The Liminals have an inclination towards dealing with those who trespass the boundary of life and death, such as ghosts and other undead.
- Kill It with Fire: Liminals are usually able to regenerate from almost anything, but wounds inflicted by burning are difficult for them to heal from.
- Kill It with Water: Drowning is one of the few kinds of death that Liminal resurrection has difficulty taking them back from.
- Mix-and-Match Man: Some Liminals start out this way, and it's quite likely most of them will end up like this eventually.
- Power Copying: Why they swap body parts — certain memories of skills and abilities are contained in certain body parts, and sometimes the Chernozem wants it.
- Pulling Themselves Together: Usually, crippling wounds such as a missing eye or arm require powerful magic to heal, but Liminals can survive damage up to and including dismemberment as long as the pieces are brought close together, allowing them to stick themselves back into one piece.
- Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Well, destroying the brain works. Removing the head might, so long as you keep the pieces well separated.
- Super Mode: Allowing their anima to flare increases their cap on bonus dice from charms by their essence, at the cost of revealing their terrifying nature to onlookers.
Dame CrimsonSignature Blood Aspect. A living (ish) example of what happens when spirits bite off more than they can chew, Crimson's creator was a King of the Woods (a very Jerkass species of wood elementals) who grew dissatisfied with six of his priestesses, as each possessed a mortal failing. Killing and dismembering them, he used their corpses to construct the body of a new, perfect worshipper to glorify him, and using sacred hymns he heard the Elemental Dragon of Wood whisper in his sleep, brought her to life.
He then quickly discovered that (A) Liminals have no personality carried over from their components, and (B) she remembered all the Kick the Dog acts he had perpetrated on the original priestesses. That King no longer exists, his dust banished to the Underworld for forever and a day.
Now a bodyguard for a Guild merchant prince, Dame Crimson is on a Journey to Find Oneself, eager to find what lies outside of the forest.
- Bloody Murder: As a Blood Aspect, this presumably comes naturally to her.
- Gone Horribly Right: Her creator wanted someone without the mortal faults that initially displeased him. He got one, up to and including the confidence to put her foot down and tell him to screw himself.
- Turned Against Their Masters: It's hard to blame her, given what Kings of the Wood are, but still...
Getimians are Exalted from those heroes who Heaven decided would never exist, whose heroic deeds would never come to pass - until their Exaltation decreed they should exist anyway. As a result, most of them have become agents in a war against Yu-Shan, seeking revenge for what was lost and what could have been.
- Anti-Villain: Loathing of the gods, in many other settings, would mark one as the embodiment of hubris. Here, it comes off as a perfectly reasonable reaction, if a little lacking in nuance. It should also be noted that while all Getimians have a bone to pick with the gods, they're quite capable of understanding the difference between the corrupt and the honest — at least one spoiler character works in Yu-Shan as a consultant of the Sidereals, helping maintain Creation from the divine side.
- Empowered Badass Normal: In their native timeline, each and every Getimian was already a person capable of changing the fate of a significant portion of Creation while still a plain mortal. Being pulled into the canon timeline and Exalted just enhanced them even more.
- Foil: To Sidereals.
- Humanoid Abomination: Downplayed, because they are human. They just happen to be humans who aren't supposed to exist, and have the Lovecraftian Superpower mentioned below.
- Lovecraftian Superpower: Read that again: They have spiders living in their spines. Spiders.
- Paradox Person: From the Getimians' perspective, they've woken up to find themselves in a changed and unfamiliar world that's gone very differently to the one they know, their old life erased from reality. Word of God has revealed that for the most part, the people who became Getimians weren't even born in the original timeline.
- Rage Against the Heavens: And a rogue Sidereal, Rakan Thulio, is leading their war.
- Winds of Destiny, Change: They can draft their own Fates using their internal pattern spiders, disrupting the pattern of the true Loom.
The "Black Market" Exalted
No, they're not Chosen of the 'black market'. Where other Exigents' divine patrons received the Exigence as a gift, the patrons of the 'black market' Exalts... acquired it through less-than-legal methods (that some of them happen to be Forbidden Gods probably plays a part). Like their legal 'cousins', the 'black market' Exigents are a collection of Exalt types, each with their own unique set of powers. Despite the name, however, being a 'black market' Exalt need not put one at odds with Heaven.
Then there are the 'dirty bomb' Exalted, who have had a number of spirits modify the Exigence as it passed from hand to hand. The result is an aberration of incredible power — and when dealing with the Exalted, that's saying something.
Strawmaiden Janest, the Harvest ExaltA simple farmer, kidnapped as an infant during a raid and raised by priests of Ten Sheaves, the god of the fields she worked. She met her god for the first time when he Chose her to become the Harvest Exalt in order to defend her village from the Fair Folk marching on it. Since, him being a weak god, the diminishment that comes with creating an Exalt cost him his life, that was also the last time. After the Fair Folk were dealt with, she left to become a freelance protector of the little guy.
- Action Girl: Takes on an army of Fair Folk solo, and sets herself against those who threaten ordinary folk.
- All Up to You: Janest becomes the Harvest Exalted, but it costs the life of the god who does it. She then proceeds to take on the army of Fair Folk menacing her home singlehandedly. Word of God says that she at least manages to drive them off, though that may be because the nobles in charge recognize her as a Worthy Opponent and decide she's of more use to them alive (and as a great antagonist for their dramas) than dead.
- Happily Adopted: The field-maidens are all abducted as infants. They all know this. Janest seems entirely content with her lot in life.
- Heart Is an Awesome Power: Some Exalted are empowered by the King of the Gods, or an Elemental Embodiment, or one of the titans who created the world. Some Exigents are empowered by important and puissant gods like Plentimon of the Dice or Shalrina, Daimyo of Faces. Janest was empowered by a field god. Not the god of fields in general, the god of a specific group of fields. That's enough to let her, at minimum, impress a Fair Folk noble.
- Sinister Scythe: Justified. Since she's a harvest maiden, she wields a scythe. Since she's an Exigent and it's her chosen weapon, it's made of black metal, covered in sinister runes, and crackling with baleful green energy.
- Walking the Earth: After the Fair Folk are driven off, she becomes a wandering hero.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Janest is not the strongest of the harvest-maidens, but it is her will and drive to protect her home that cause Ten Sheaves to choose her as his champion.
Nurlissa, Chosen of MasksBelieved to be Chosen of Shalrina, Daimyo of Faces, a goddess known for creating magical masks and trading people's faces.
- Mask of Power: Nurlissa's Exaltation came in the form of a mask, as do the Charms, allowing Nurlissa to be anybody.
- Power at a Price: Original mortal face for Exaltation. Doesn't seem like much of a price at first sight, given that Nurlissa's powers can simply restore it.
The Bleak Warden, Chosen of the Seals
- Sealed Evil in a Can: What Warden basically has power over, able to release evils from their seals to cause havoc, and to place seals on enemies.
Thousand Venoms Mistress, Chosen of ToxinsA divine assassin.
- Legacy Character: Latest holder of her Exaltation, title, and profession.
- Master Poisoner: Knows countless poisons.
- Poisonous Person: Can turn herself into one.
Willow Specter, Chosen of the DiceWon his Exaltation gambling with Plentimon himself, the god of gambling and gamblers, becoming the luckiest man in the world. Out to get everything he can before his deeds catch up to him, knowing as a gambler that there's always a price to be paid.
- Winds of Destiny, Change: As noted, his Exaltation has made him the luckiest man in the world... but because it comes from the god of gambling, he fully expects his luck to run out at some point.
Revana Quin, Architect of Wu-JianRevana, daughter of a smuggler and pirate captain, was Exalted by the god of Wu-Jian, a city with more than its share of smugglers and pirates, to use her unusual grasp of the big picture to protect the city from outsiders and its own residents. Wun Ja, goddess of the Shining Metropolis and considerably more important than a mere city father, was also involved in her Exaltation for reasons that have not been elaborated on.
She bears the distinction of being the first Exigent to get a statblock.
- Heroic Seductress: It's not clear whether this or The Vamp fits her better, but she can call on the power of the red-light district (although in Creation, the lights are the blue of the "Maiden" of Serenity) to seduce people more effectively.
- Improvised Weapon: One of her Charms lets her make an ordinary object hit as hard as an artifact weapon, although the object doesn't survive.
- Master of Disguise: Just walking through a thick crowd lets her disguise herself, with no actual disguise kit needed.
- Mighty Glacier: She can make her fists or skin as hard as the stone her city's made of, but her speed is nothing special.
- Pirate Girl: Well, her mother was, and she certainly has the skillset of one.
- Sherlock Scan: Her Charms let her get a read on someone by examining their home or tell whether there's any danger to or from a building just by walking around it.
- Skeleton Key: The Charm that lets her get past any lock in a city that would bar her way, including living guardians without specific reason to keep her out, references the trope in its text.
- Wretched Hive: Her home city of Wu-Jian.
Essential SilenceChosen of Silken Vesper, a god of mysteries unveiled. Essential Silence has gone renegade from the Immaculate Order, seeing only secrecy and conspiracies within it, and has become a heretical reformist.
- Combat Precognition: He anticipates every move of his opponents in combat.
- Enslaved Tongue: One of his powers, getting the tight-lipped to surrender their secrets, which he used as an inquisitor.
- Internal Affairs: Part of his old role in the Order as an inquisitor, rooting out blasphemous cabals.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Those who hunt him forget his nature.
- Tongue-Tied: Those who see him passing by cannot speak of him.
Kerlei the ChainChosen of Zhieka, Who Binds the Heart in Steel, a god of righteous imprisonment.
- Black Bug Room: Among her powers is the ability to make these real, conjuring up dungeons from prisoners' nightmares.
- The Jailer: She serves as warden of the Immaculate Order's prison beneath the Nail of Truth in Pneuma, where the Sidereals imprison Exigents Chosen by criminal and forbidden gods, and either condition them to serve the Order or send them to atone in their next lives.
- Long-Lived: Averted; Kerlei's Exaltation hasn't extended her life, and she's looking for an apprentice to take on her duties.
- Nightmare Face: Has this in some capacity, and it's able to drive even the most inflexible to repent.
Ma'anjin HekoboChosen of Wanjung, the central war god, Heaven's General and Trumpeter of the Chosen. Her Exaltation received special dispensation from the Immaculate Order, though her power is still seen as inauspicious. She fights with the divine might of a war god's champion, and displays martial perfection in all endeavors.
- Cool Helmet: Depicted in historical illustrations in a demon-masked kabuto.
- Magic Music: Hearing her sing has led farmers to leave their fields and take up arms.
- Number Two: She serves, protects, and speaks for Wanjung directly.
- Retired Badass: She's retired from service in the Imperial legions.
Tall Cypress, the Wraith-of-the-WoodsChosen of Yagumo, a revered forest god of the Blessed Isle.
- A God I Am Not: Prone to getting venerated by heterodox fertility cults of Sextes Jylis; he subdues them with humility and gentleness, so the Immaculate Order isn't forced to do so with violence.
- The Paragon: Considered the foremost example of proper Exigent behavior in the Realm.
- Really 700 Years Old: Over 400 years old.
- Speaks Fluent Animal: Plant variant; he can commune with trees to tap into Creation's past.
- Transflormation: Able to take plantlike form, assuming the might of primeval forests.
Initially, these three Exalted types were intended as foils for the Lunars and Sidereals in Third Edition, in order to emphasize some of their themes, and were to receive playable writeups. When Robert Vance and Eric Minton took over as developers, they opted not to make the various trade-offs involved in incorporating them into the line, instead deciding to have them as "optional canon", with an appendix in Exigents describing their themes, concepts and backstories, and giving enough information on their Charmsets for people to homebrew their own, with the possibility of giving them a splatbook depending on response.
A picture of them (alongside an Alchemical and Green Sun Prince) can be found on pages 54-55 of the Third Edition core: the woman with the aurora is a Hearteater, the man being tormented by a shadow-monster is an Umbral Exalt, and the man in the toga is a Dream-Souled.
- Enemy Within: An Umbral's Exaltation gives them a Shadow they struggle against to keep control; it can grant them situational power in return for ceding control.
- Foil: The Hearteaters and Umbral Exalted were intended as Lunar foils, while the Dream-Souled were intended as Sidereal foils with the Getimians.
- Liminal Being: The Dream-Souled stand between Creation and the Wyld, not fully of one or the other.
- Loose Canon: Their position in the game. People can include them in their games, and will get advice on how to do so, but the rest of the line isn't going to be written under the assumption they exist.
- Non-Indicative Name: The Hearteaters' name is metaphorical, rather than literal.
Initially, the Spoken were slated to be introduced in a Niobraran War sourcebook for Third Edition, but Eric Minton and Robert Vance decided they weren't high priority, being extinct in the present-day setting. They did not, however, decide to drop the Voice's Chosen altogether; the Spoken may be gone, but they did leave their mark on Creation.
- The Beastmaster: Oceanic-themed.
- Elemental Powers: Oceanic-themed.
- Posthumous Character: Their effective position in the setting.
- The Power of Creation: The primary theme of their powers, enabling them to create something by naming it.
- Stronger with Age: Going by the city of Obsidian, which was built to the scale of the eldest Spoken, they were massive creatures.