Tropes relating to the stars of the game: the eponymous Exalted.
For tropes pertaining to the Solar, Lunar, Sidereal and Terrestrial Exalted, see Exalted of Creation.
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, 300/400 Lunars (depending on Edition), 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.
- Exigents are generally a Terrestrial-level of power, but sometimes they end up as equivalent to Celestials for unknown reasons.
- 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 Great Curse was on Exaltation as a concept, and so all of them have a tendency to lapse into self-destructiveness:
- 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 (not like the trope here, but rather Sanity Slippage 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 in 2E can't seem to make any of their big plans work right, while in 3E and Essence they become obsessed with protecting themselves and those they care for at all costs.
- 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. Reworked in 3E and Essence to be more similar to Solar Limit Breaks, as the distance between themselves and the living gets unbearable until they snap and start acting in ways to retreat from the discordance or lash out at it.
- 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). Reworked in 3E and Essence into Hellish Eruptions, as losing control over their anger causes them to automatically assume their Shintai forms and vent their rage at Creation.
- 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.
- Exigents, due to their variance, have unique versions of the Curse depending on how their unique Exaltations are forged, but none get to avoid it, as the Curse finds what disharmony is in their nature and amplifies it as well.
- 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/primordial's children, all parts badass.
- Solar and Lunar:
- In second edition, the Solar and Lunar Exaltations 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.
- In third edition, the bond is an outgrowth of a series of sacred and political marriages between the Solars and Lunars near the beginning of the First Age, and not all Solars or Lunars were involved (among other reasons, because there are a hundred-odd more Lunars than Solars this edition).
- 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.
- 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 mean 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Retcon: Her characterisation in 1st edition Exalted: the Abyssals is more in keeping with the expectations of being the signature Midnight Caste, a fanatic who wants to spread the good word of Oblivion.
- 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 didn’t 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.
- Heel–Face 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. He’s 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 can’t catch a break. As a mortal, he was beaten to death by Panther, and as an Abyssal, his luck hasn’t 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 Walker’s rampant Genre Blindness regarding the flexibility of castes means he’s been given a diplomatic job he’s 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.
- The Archmage: Mastered sorcery up to Celestial and necromancy up to the Void Circles. With this she can be a trouble even to some Deathlords.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: Raiton has completely discarded her past from before becoming an Abyssal; she’s 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: He’s a Moonshadow, but has somehow convinced the First and Forsaken Lion—who's not just a Deathlord, but the one who Exalted him—that he’s actually a Day Caste. It helps that he’s 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: He’s 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.
The Bleeding Lily Crowned In ShacklesOn the outskirts of Nexus, there was a tiny kingdom. Once upon a time, the youngest of the six royal children lived in Nexus without a care in the world, spending her days writing poetry and occasionally brokering a trade deal before returning to her easy, humble life of carefree luxury.
That didn't last, as a neighboring kingdom swept in, killed her parents, and then all their children, including the young princess - and a dark voice found her. She was a queen without a kingdom, and the Onyx Kingdom of the Underworld had no monarch. She took its crown not out of greed, but duty. If death called her to lead, then she would leave her idle life behind her, and become the queen the dead required.
Today, the Lily is a much-beloved monarch indeed, championing the cause of keeping the dead apart from the living. A just and fair ruler, she rarely leaves the Underworld except to punish the living who defile the graves of her citizens, occasionally using her Moonshadow abilities to leave them off with a warning if they prove truly repentant. However, she cannot avoid dealing with the politics of the living forever - Thorns is not far away, and the mysterious Deathlord who led her to the kingdom is not the Mask of Winters. The debt she owes them has not yet been repaid.
- Beware the Nice Ones: She despises the idea of pointless slaughter, feeling that it cheapens death - and if someone is worthy of death, they should be annihilated so utterly they cannot join the ranks of ancestors.
- Butch Lesbian: She's a Bifauxnen, Boyish Short Hair and all, she's a master swordfighter, and she's in a relationship with a female shepherd.
- Dark Is Not Evil: A loyalist Deathknight who is probably one of the most heroic Exalted you could ever meet.
- Exact Words: How she deceives people despite her dislike of lying. She never, for example, told Marigold she was Exalted, just that ghosts like her, so Marigold thinks she's a Ghost-Blooded.
- Instant Armor: Courtesy of her artifact, the Onyx Crown; when she commits to a quest on behalf of her kingdom or one of her subjects, she can summon a suit of full plate armor and a broadsword, both made out of black glass and both as strong as any artifact. She can don or dismiss them at will, but can't end the Evocation invoking them until she completes the quest and returns to her castle. Should that become impossible, the sword and armor will instantly materialize and shatter.
- Love Makes You Dumb: Discussed. She keeps the existence of Marigold a secret precisely because she fears what she will do to save her lover should she ever become a Damsel in Distress.
- Nice Girl: She's explicitly called a knight among Deathknights, and is honorable, polite, and kind, if a bit grim due to leftover trauma.
- Protectorate: Has a Minor Intimacy for protecting the weak.
- Spoiled Sweet: When she was alive, she didn't possess a mean bone in her body, and all death did was just shock her out of idle complacency.
- Uptown Girl: To Marigold, a mortal farmer she saved from bandits.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Downplayed, as she didn't lose her niceness, but she went from what was a Spoiled Sweet rich girl to a sometimes grim undead queen.
- Warrior Poet: She's kept up her poetry in death, and even has a Minor Intimacy of Admiration to good examples she finds.
- 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.
- Akashic Records: In Essence and 3e, this is basically what Unwoven Coadjutor represents, a direct spiritual connection with the Demon City allowing the Infernal to access a reservoir of demonic knowledge (though it can still present like it does in 2e, a First Circle demon in the Infernal's mind).
- 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/Horizon worth his salt probably has the inclination, even more than Twilights (which in 2e actually annoys the Defilers' patron, She Who Lives In Her Name. She wanted viceroys, not visionaries!).
- Mythology Gag: In Essence, each Caste's anima includes the associated colors of their 2e counterparts' patron Yozi - Azimuths as the Slayer counterparts have Malfeas' brass, Ascendants as the Malefactor counterparts have Cecylene's silver and cerulean, Horizons as the Defiler counterparts have She Who Lives In Her Name's white flames, Nadirs as the Scourge counterparts have Adorjan's red, and Penumbras as the Fiend counterparts have the Ebon Dragon's black. They also have an anima effect that references that Yozi, aside from the Penumbras, who get an anima effect that references the Fiends.
- Noble Demon: As a function of Contractual Genre Blindness, heroic 2E Infernals who don't want to go into Torment act like this.
- One-Winged Angel: A defining ability of the Infernals in 3E is their unique Devil-Body Incarnations, mighty demonic beasts they can all turn into when desperate, but some have learned to shift into more easily.
- 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 renamed to be more direct parallels of the Solar Castes in a similar manner to the Abyssals, 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.
- Super Mode: In Essence, all Infernals can access the Charm Devil-Body Incarnation by default, but if they don't purchase it as a Charm, they can only activate it once they've reached their last Critical health level or entered Limit Break. Azimuths can also immediately activate it for free when their anima hits iconic.
- 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.
- Who's Laughing Now?: Green Sun Princes in 3E are this (or Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds) by design; the Yozis empower people who have been beaten down and broken by oppression, empower them, and tell them to take their revenge upon the injustices wrecked upon them, unlocking a bottomless well of rage and anger in the process.
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 Azimuth 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, and what now gives her a One-Winged Angel form when she gets really serious.
- 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.
- Make Me Wanna Shout: Her dragon form can apparently shatter marble with her screams.
- 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 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
- Last of His Kind: He's the last surviving Ancient Lintha in Creation.
- Semi-Divine: Being one of the Ancient Lintha, he's a God-Blooded, son of Kimbery.
- 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: Their blood glows.
- Androids Are People, Too: Their bodies may be mechanical, but they have actual human souls animating them and have full feelings and emotions... sometimes.
- 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.
- Born as an Adult: Alchemicals come into existence as physical and mental adults, with skills, aptitudes, memories and self-knowledge.
- 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.
- Crystalline Creature: Adamant Castes are described as being made of quartz crystals (in addition to their namesake metal), and have "hair" made of branching crystal/gem growth, along with ''scales" at their joints.
- Cyborg: Their core body is primarily fleshy clay, but their Charms are metal.
- Genius Loci: At essence 8, they grow into living cities.
- Good is Not Nice: Alchemicals are literally made to protect people, but they do what is best for society, not for you. Including euthanizing expensive medical patients that they think have outlived their usefulness.
- Home Base: Alchemicals are more tied to their territory than even Lunars (and their ascendance involves literally plugging themselves into the landscape as a new city). They can move around freely, and even leave Autochthonia if their duty demands it, but the concept of an "independent Alchemical" simply does not exist. Eventually they will need someone to refit their Charms or help them stave off Clarity, even if the hundreds of patriotic past lives in the Alchemical's soul would ever want to leave Autochthonia permanently. Even 1e/2e's Adamants, who are about as close to independent as Alchemicals get, outsiders whose existence is nothing more than the subject of rumor and legend in Autochthonian society, rely on secret cities for development and refits, and in the event they want to hold off Clarity, seek out mortals to interact with. Essence's solution to this is to posit the existence of Creation-native Alchemicals who are attached to one of Creation's communities instead (and they're not limited to geographical communities).
- Home Field Advantage: Metropoli don't do much, but they are more than capable of defending themselves from intruders. One example of a Metropoli Charm is a big antigravity ray normally used to float people and heavy cargo where they need to go; it's explicitly said to have more deadly uses in wartime.
- Human Popsicle: Or Exalted popsicle, but in Essence it's revealed that some of the "proof of concept" Alchemicals made to sell the gods on the Exalted as champions are still in stasis in Creation as a potential PC origin.
- Magitek: They're Magical Cyborg Demigod Homunculi. That turn into Mechs. And then Cities.
- Retcon: The existence and purpose of the Adamant Caste has changed with each edition. In 1e, they were optional canon without a full Caste writeup, secret watchers who monitored their fellow Alchemicals and Autochthonian society for disloyalty and corruption, and fought threats in Autochthonia's Far Reaches. 2e brought them into canon with a full writeup. Essence and 3e changed their role, making them instead a public part of society as teachers, muses, and artists.
- 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.
- Sealed Good in a Can: Even the poorest Autochthonian city holds a wealth of technology and knowledge compared to Creation...if they could reach each other. And that's a big if.
- 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 who’d do this, Blossom’s 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 doesn’t 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.
- Buxom Beauty Standard: Engineer has the largest bust of any character (at least in her "iconic Starmetal" artwork in the Alchemical splatbook), which is exploited when she's made in a Ms. Fanservice propaganda icon In-Universe.
- 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.
- He looks like Darth Vader. It helps that soulsteel beamklaives are blood red.
- A powerful, stoic law enforcement officer, in concealing armor, with "Dread" in his name? Now why does that sound familiar?
- 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, as drowning will still permanently kill them.
- 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, a Liminal is a completely separate individual from the people whose body or bodies they were made from.
- Can't Live Without You: Every Liminal has a "Thread of Life", a key Intimacy towards a living being, initially their creator, and if it's broken (whether due to the mortal's death, neglect on the mortal's part, or the Liminal realizing that their relationship is abusive if it is so) they lose their ability to revive and start to decay, ending up a hungry ghost or bog-standard zombie within a lunar month unless they anchor the Thread to a new mortal, or a fellow Exalt in their Circle or another powerful entity if they're powerful enough. They can also sense when "their" mortal is in grave peril.
- 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. Essence introduces more unique features, namely their "Thread of Life".
- 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.
- I See Dead People: Liminals can see ghosts who wouldn't normally be visible.
- 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 will kill a Liminal for good, and if their body is under running water after a non-drowning death they need to have it removed before they can revive.
- Liminal Being: If the name wasn't enough of an indication, Liminals straddle the divide between life and death, so that they can better reinforce it for their Dark Mother. They can see ghosts that are not normally visible, physically interact with ghosts when most can't, and have a limited ability to revive after "death".
- Mix-and-Match Man: Some Liminals start out this way, and it's quite likely most of them will end up like this eventually.
- Omniglot: Liminals can speak to and understand ghosts even when language barriers should make that impossible. This only works with ghosts, mind.
- 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.
- Psychic Link: Aside from their Thread of Life, Liminals also have a connection to the Dark Mother, feeling her as an atavistic pressure in their minds compelling them to keep the worlds of the living and the dead apart.
- 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.
- Spare Body Parts: Apparently it's not uncommon for Liminals to keep a spare of a body part ready.
- 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 CrimsonThe signature Liminal, a Blood Aspect. Her mortal body was a guard for the caravan of the merchant prince Casim Thurat on the trade route between Thorns and Nexus, and she very much relished returning home to Thorns, gifting her many nephews and nieces various knickknacks from her travels.
She was in Thorns when it fell to the Mask of Winters, and was torn to pieces as she defended the walls from the undead horde. However, Thurat was loathe to let one of his best guards die, someone who had protected both him and the caravan's profits, and at his bidding the caravan god's priest Imarid reassembled her to the best of his ability, selecting replacements for the missing parts from amongst the many available to him in Thorns' fall.
Dame Crimson has pretty much picked up from where her mortal body left off, serving as commander of the caravan's security forces, and after reuniting with one of her body's nieces, she's treating the nieces and nephews as her newfound family, quietly getting money and supplies to the niece she met when she can, and planning to get them out of Thorns when she gets the opportunity. The slight catch in this is that they're unaware one of the niece's brothers is now an Abyssal in the Mask of Winters' service, who's keeping an eye on his siblings and their curious good fortune...
- An Arm and a Leg: How her mortal self died, torn to pieces by an undead horde.
- Bloody Murder: As a Blood Aspect, this presumably comes naturally to her.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Blood Aspects are creatures of appetite and passion, be it lust, greed, or ambition, and Dame Crimson is no exception. She's always up for the challenge when she encounters a formidable opponent, she eats and drinks well, she spends freely, including tipping and giving to beggars, and she has a lot of lovers.
- Family of Choice: She sees her body's nieces and nephews as found family (specifically, she has a Major Intimacy to them).
- Fiery Redhead: A natural redhead who dyes her hair a deep crimson, and a Boisterous Bruiser.
- Mix-and-Match Man: In her case, Imarid selects body parts which are as close to her originals as he can manage.
- Protectorate: Her Defining Principle is "I'll protect my charges from threats both living and dead."
- Really Gets Around: Keeps lovers in every city, showering them with extravagant gifts.
- Retcon: A minor one; her mention in Masters of Jade has her joining the caravan and overseeing its security, while her writeup in Adversaries of the Righteous has her created to continue guarding the caravan (her original concept gave her a very different origin, but it never saw print).
Counterparts to the Sidereals, Getimians have colonies of Pattern Spiders living in their spines, their bones replaced by webbing. This means, of course, that each is effectively a living Loom of Fate, and their powers reflect that: whereas the Sidereals draw themes and powers from enlightened teachers of Shinto, Getimians are themed after Taoist alchemists, to the point where instead of Personal and Peripheral Essence Pools, they have Still and Flowing ones, with effects on their personalities and powers depending on how balanced (or... not) they are.
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.
Their Castes are based on the seasons, given based on their original timeline.
- 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, especially since Heaven decided that their existence was "inconvenient". 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 original destiny, 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.
- Evil Counterpart: Subverted. They were supposed to be, but the Primordials feared them, and what they implied about fate, too much. Now unsealed, the Primordals have long been reduced to a state where they can't really order them around to begin with, to the extent they're even aware of them, so the Getimians are Wild Cards by definition.
- Foil: To both Sidereals and Green Sun Princes.
- While Sidereals are arbiters of Heaven's will born from special destinies decided at their birth, Getimians are a weapon against the gods born when a destiny that was undone by outside interference comes back into existence by the power of the Exaltation.
- While Green Sun Princes are embodiments of the Yozis as they are, broken and angry things that chose people who are also broken and angry to bring Malfeas' terrible glory to Creation, the Getimians are discarded products of the Primordials in their prime, suddenly brought into the modern world with no master but a human Sidereal and who bring their lost home timelines into reality.
- Glitch Entity: Non-video game example. Since Getimians aren't part of Creation-that-is, it reacts wrongly to them, causing inconsistencies and inconveniences around them - clothes they wear are still in storage, food they eat is still on the plate untouched, tracks appear before they set off, etc. On the flipside, their powers let them deliberately act as living glitches, doing such things as being in two places at once, summoning allies from their original world, binding people to their history, turning people against their enemies, etc.
- Heroic BSoD: Their "Melancholy Fugue" Great Curse manifestation has the Getimian shut out the outside world to the best of their abilities.
- 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. Given how their creators are two of the most distinctly weird of the Primordials/Yozis (which is really saying something), it's to be expected.
- The Minion Master: Getimians have the ability to draw other people into their personal Looms of Fate, creating a general role like "business partner", "friend", or "bodyguard", and imposing them on mortals, giving them buffs that escalate with the Getimian's own Essence - and a penalty when acting against it.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Two of the ways that the Great Curse manifests for Getimians have a way to snap them out of it early: they, or more specifically to this trope, someone or something that they care about, being harmed by their actions or inaction (depending on the manifestation).
- Mythology Gag: Each Caste's writeup in Essence describes them using one of 2e's Virtues: Spring gets Valor, Summer gets Conviction, Autumn gets Compassion, and Winter gets Temperance.
- Numerological Motif: 2 and its powers - two patrons, two types of Essence, four Castes, sixty-four Getimians - reflecting their Taoist inspirations.
- 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 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.
- Sealed Badass in a Can: Up until about fifty years before the Scarlet Empress' disappearance, the Getimian Exaltations were sealed away by the Primordials. Rakan Thulio has made that no longer an issue.
- Seasonal Baggage: Their Castes are based around the four seasons, each one also representing a 2e Virtue.
- Vernals are dreamers and guardians who made their original world beautiful, representing Valor.
- Estivals are mad prophets and iconoclasts who overthrew the ways of their original world, representing Conviction.
- Autumnals are leaders and healers who redeemed their original world, representing Compassion.
- Hiberals are magicians and demiurges who brought order to their original world, representing Temperance.
- Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Many Getimians by default are trying to enact the positive changes that they made in their own aborted timelines in the true Creation, but a way that the Great Curse can manifest for them is trying to forcibly remove what they see as flaws from Creation.
- Winds of Destiny, Change!: They can draft their own Fates using their internal pattern spiders, disrupting the pattern of the true Loom.
Where other Exigents' divine patrons received the Exigence as a gift, the patrons of "illicit" Exigents... acquired it through less-than-legal methods (that some of them happen to be Forbidden Gods probably plays a part). Like their legal "cousins", illicit Exigents are a collection of Exalt types, each with their own unique set of powers. Despite the name, however, being an "illicit" Exalt need not put one at odds with Heaven; the trade of Exigence sparks is illegal, but the Celestial Bureaucracy is aware that mortals are fundamentally incapable of indulging in that crime - however, they will view known illicits with suspicion, as it is believed likely they are their patron's ultimate agent for whatever they wished. Even so, many gods are willing to overlook indiscretions if given good reason, as during the Age of Sorrows, the Sun lapsed into such a depression he didn't properly answer prayers for Exigence, meaning that frequently, even honest gods had to turn to the illicit trade out of desperation.
Then there are the "patchwork" Exalted, who have had a number of spirits modify the Exigence as it passed from hand to hand to reduce the cost to themselves. The result is frequently an aberration of incredible power — and when dealing with the Exalted, that's saying something. Shame about the conflicting purviews, though.
Gods with compatible purviews, who have shared or overlapping domains, can avoid creating patchwork Exigents, as their Essences harmonize rather than clash.
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 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, buying enough time for her fellow field-maidens to come to her assistance, and finally ends the battle by killing the Fair Folk leader.
- 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. She used that to decapitate the commander of the raksha and send his forces fleeing in a blind panic.
- 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 looks like it's made of black metal (it's actually jade), covered in sinister runes, and crackling with baleful green energy.
- Surprisingly Elite Cannon Fodder: She's the byline for how a god of an extremely minor thing can create an Exigent on a Celestial level of power.
- 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 MasksChosen of Shalrina, Daimyo of Faces, a goddess known for creating magical masks and trading people's faces. She eventually found Shalrina too harsh a patron, and went on the run.
- Mask of Power: Nurlissa's Exaltation came in the form of a mask, as do the Charms, allowing her to assume various archetypal personae and wield the powers that come with them.
- Power at a Price: Original mortal face for Exaltation. It's implied Nurlissa couldn't recreate it with her masks, as she had to steal her face back from Shalrina.
- Quest for Identity: Looking for a home, so that she can discover who she is without worrying about poverty or servitude.
Omron Kanthu, the Bleak Warden, Chosen of the SealsChosen of The-Darkness-That-Binds, gaoler-god of an otherworldly prison.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Omron is a Lovable Rogue who is honestly a bit freaked out by the ruthlessness his patron desires to keep the labyrinth intact.
- Mind Prison: Can force his enemies to experience countless years of imprisonment in the blink of an eye.
- Parental Abandonment: Whatever happened, whether he was orphaned or abandoned, he was left to a life on the streets.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: What the Bleak Warden basically has power over, able to release evils from their seals to cause havoc, to draw on the knowledge, memories, and powers of his prisoners, and to place seals on enemies.
Broken Sky, the Thousand Venoms Mistress, Chosen of ToxinsA divine assassin, a cultist of a scheming Scavenger Lands goddess of poisons, Whirling Lady Koro-Bana.
- Hitman with a Heart: Before she was Exalted, she was still a poisoner, but viewed herself as a Vigilante Woman who took down people too powerful or influential to face directly. This didn't change after she became the Chosen of Toxins.
- Master Poisoner: Knows countless poisons.
- Noble Top Enforcer: Koro-Bana is a cold, scheming Manipulative Bastard, but Broken Sky is a Hitman with a Heart who distances herself from mortals so she doesn't accidentally hurt them.
- Poisonous Person: Can turn herself into one.
- Retcon: Her original blurb in the 3e core had her as a Legacy Character; her writeup in Exigents has her as the first to receive Koro-Bana's Exaltation.
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.
- Worthy Opponent: Plentimon isn't angry he lost at all, and regularly has friendly chats with his victorious Chosen.
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. Unlike most Exigents, she is not the only one of her kind - Wun Ja, goddess of cities, assists city fathers who win the spark on their own to avoid killing themselves, meaning that most Exigents of various cities are Architects who draw power from cities in general and their homeland in specific - and for some reason, she's taken a personal interest in Revana.
She bears the distinction of being the first Exigent to get a statblock.
- The Ageless: As an Architect, she will not age while inside the boundaries of her home city.
- 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.
Tamako, the FoxbinderChosen - and keeper - of the trickster fox-god Wicked-Grin Shifune, latest in a long line of Foxbinders appointed by the Immaculate Order to keep him caged, and tasked by the Order with uncovering Anathema.
- Artifact of Power: The Foxbinder Exaltation is sealed in a bejeweled collar.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Shifune's punishment for pranking high-ranking gods and fraudulent hiring was to be forced to create an Exigent who would serve as his keeper. Many in Yu-Shan were shocked the Unconquered Sun would use the spark of Exigence as a punishment.
- Cunning Like a Fox: Shifune has a long history of trickery and deception.
- Fantastic Foxes: Shifune, being a fox-spirit.
- Humanshifting: Shifune has two forms left to him at present, a red fox with seven-fingered hands in place of paws and a handsome red-haired youth, having lost his other forms in creating his Exaltation.
- Legacy Character: The Foxbinders are chosen by the Immaculate Order, and there've been many of them over the years.
- Living Lie Detector: The Foxbinder can scent lies and expose deception, trickery and disguises.
- Master of Illusion: The Foxbinder can create illusions that make any lie, no matter how outrageous, appear true.
- Nice Girl: Tamako, perhaps a bit too much so for her role of hunting Anathema; she let a newly-Exalted child Lunar escape, and treats Shifune more as a friend than a prisoner, which he's taking advantage of by encouraging her independent streak in the hopes that she'll rebel against the Order, becoming the sort of person his Exaltation was meant for, and they'll raise chaos across Creation together.
- Runaway Fiancée: Tamako is a young patrician woman who got out of an arranged marriage by entering the Immaculate Order.
- Wandering the Earth: Tamako and Shifune wander the Blessed Isle in search of Anathema.
- Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Once let a newly-Exalted Lunar child escape.
Nozifu Isiman, the TorchbearerChosen of long-dead Ogen-Moin, the mandrill-headed god of study by lamplight, upholding the Torchbearers' dream of a world bathed in the light of knowledge and reason.
- Age Without Youth: Downplayed, but Torchbearers age visibly normally, if extremely gracefully; they remain as spry as any other Exalted, but they bear their wisdom on their flesh.
- Legacy Character: She's the eighth Torchbearer.
- Long-Lived: A Torchbearer's lifespan is comparable to the Dragon-Blooded's, though unlike the Dragon-Blooded, they don't remain in the prime of their life, but end up elderly and spry by the end of their first century. Nozifu's chapter fiction suggests she's on the older side of Torchbearer lifespan, but doesn't give specifics.
- Semantic Superpower: The Torchbearer Exaltation covers power over light and flame, as well as the light of understanding and clarity.
- Wandering the Earth: Has never stayed in one place for more than a year.
The Sovereigns of UluiruThe proprietary Exigents of the titular city, who were Exalted by bathing in the Fount of Glories at the heart of their sacred caverns. Created when Cantata-of-the-Depths, the gem-god and patron of the Irugu clan in the distant Northwest used his spark to merge his Essence with the grave of the dead Incarna Aurora, the Fount gives those who survive a bath in it the patchwork power of Cantata's love of beauty and artwork, and Aurora's prowess over hope, awe, and light. The first Sovereign, Queen Ulu, quickly realized its potential for abuse and rivals, and banned all but the royal family and its branches from even approaching the Fount - but now she is dead by the same unknown hands that assassinated her granddaughter and heir apparent, and the Sovereigns find themselves jockeying for mastery of the city.
- Arch-Enemy: The Fair Folk, as Uluiru is very close to the Wyld and is frequently subject to harassment by raksha.
- Battle Aura: While all Exalted have animas, the Sovereigns have a Charm that allows them access to a level of anima beyond that of other Exalted, transcendent anima, which gives them a near Solar-level anima power.
- Cursed with Awesome:
- They are patchwork Exigents, and thus have an extremely nasty variant of the Great Curse that results in them suffering incredible agony and lethal Power Incontinence for a bit, or becoming The Sociopath due to shutting down all parts of them that could feel pain for a longer bit. Because it doesn't actually hurt them until that moment, they find it hardly outweighs the benefits of being a god-king, and appreciate that it reminds them of the need for some restraint.
- Certain of their Charms also draw on the pain of their Exaltation.
- Deadly Decadent Court: Just like Dragon-Blooded, with an even more bitter undertone caused by the royal family of a single city, however vast, being much more closely related, meaning that their scheming invariably hits siblings, uncles and aunts, and first cousins rather than technically related people they have never heard of.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Cantata was a god of gemcrafting as well as gems in general, and the Sovereigns are excellent artisans and engineers, having Craft as a Favored Ability.
- Hard Light: Fireglass, extremely flexible solidified light made from their animas. Sovereign Charms often revolve around manipulating it or using it in their artwork.
- The Minion Master: As fitting for god-kings, the Sovereigns have a lot of Charms based around forces following them, and crafting eidolons, sentient golems made from fireglass.
- Randomly Gifted: While the Fount is seemingly inexhaustible, whether or not using it will actually work is an apparent crapshoot.
- Royals Who Actually Do Something: It's long-standing tradition that you have to stand out before bathing in the Fount, no matter how close your line was to the Queen, and Sovereigns only become more active after becoming Exalted.
Pakpao, the Puppeteer
Chosen of Karana, the god of the Meiyu Coast's marionette puppetry. A daughter of impoverished immigrants once enslaved at a cocoa farm, Pakpao rose to prominence as the wife of a high ranking Zhao official. Pakpao largely uses her newfound abilities to seek further political power and has ignored the pleas of her patron's cult, who would prefer that she aid them in revenge against the Realm and Immaculate Order which reduced the cult to a shadow of its former self and left their god broken a century ago. Karana himself seems less concerned, confident that she will be useful in time.
Pakpao has numerous abilities related to puppetry, from using them as weapons to forcing others to dance at the end of her strings.
- Animal Motif: Spiders. Karana himself is spider-like in appearance, and as a result several of Pakpao's charms draw upon arachnid themes.
- Body Horror: Weaponized. She is capable of contorting her body so unnaturally it can be used as a threaten action, and also allows her to escape grapples and pass through spaces she otherwise could not.
- Dead Guy Puppet: Pakpao can reanimate corpses and use them as "puppets" for the purposes of her charms.
- Living Doll Collector: She can trap people's souls when she kills them and imbue them into her puppets if she wishes.
- People Puppets: Her higher essence charms allow her to ensnare living people with her essence strings, allowing her to control their actions.
- Rags to Riches: Her pre-Exaltation life, heavily implied to be due to her efforts behind the scenes - that is, there was more going on there than simply meeting and marrying her husband.
- Wall Crawl: One of her spider-themed abilities.
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.
- Foil: The Hearteaters and Umbral Exalted were intended as Lunar foils, while the Dream-Souled were intended as Sidereal foils with the Getimians. However, they've moved beyond that even in the summarized versions in Exigents, becoming more standalone.
- 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.
The Dream-SouledChosen of Ketu, a being native to the wyld who is neither primordial nor god nor Fair Folk. Ketu knows Creation only from the dreams of its inhabitants, and selects its chosen from those whose dreams it finds most interesting.
The Dream-Souled wield unmatched power over dreams, and are formidable forces in the waking world as well, wielding powers based on illusion and transformation.
- Determinator: Ketu is drawn to the dreams of people who have an extremely clear idea of what they think the world should be, and a will to see it through no matter the personal cost. It empowers these people as Dream-Souled.
- Dream Walker: Dream-Souled have the basic ability to enter others' dreams, plus Charms that allow them to manipulate the dreams of others.
- Liminal Being: The Dream-Souled stand between Creation and the Wyld, not fully of one or the other. This is absolutely terrifying to the Fair Folk, as Dream-Souled are embodiments of Order they cannot mutate due to also being Dreams, and can reshape fae into forms that ape their Ideals.
- Master of Illusion: One of the Dream-Souled's basic anima powers allows them to create obvious illusions, and they have Charms that let them develop this further.
- Übermensch: The kind of people who become Dream-Souled were already Determinators, and Ketu's blessing makes it outright impossible for others to force them to willingly break their own ideals.
HearteatersOnce the Aurorals, chosen of the Incarna Aurora, the Hearteaters were warped into their current form during the Divine Revolution, when the Primordials slew Aurora and performed a terrible ritual using his heart as a focus. Unfortunately for the Primordials, they remained on the side of the gods. So now instead of joyful muses they had to deal with something much, much worse.
Following the Divine Revolution, the victorious Exalted found the Hearteaters were now their issue to deal with, and elected to wipe them all out, kill all their pawns, and seal their bones away deep in the Wyld. Their prisons held for the rest of the First Age, but the subsequent cataclysms of Creation's history - the Usurpation and the Great Contagion - undid many of the seals entirely, so mortals who stumbled into the Wyld now ran the risk of releasing a Hearteater's Exaltation, alongside all the other perils there.
Hearteaters have an insatiable hunger to make those with intimacies towards them into "pawns", stripping away their identity and free will and leaving only themselves in its place.
- The Assimilator: Some Hearteater Charms allow them to absorb abilities, traits and skills from their pawns.
- Blessed with Suck: Any Hearteater with a conscience is going to rapidly learn to hate life even more so than sympathetic Abyssals, because an Abyssal can occasionally take a break from being a horrific monster by resting in the Underworld. A Hearteater's very existence is parasitic, with enough left of themselves as the Auroral Exalted to know just how broken they are.
- Chess Motifs: Aside from their victims being referred to as pawns, a lot of their charms reference other chess concepts like promotion, sacrifices and castling.
- Didn't Think This Through: The Primordials apparently thought turning the Auroral Exalted into horrific parasites by killing their beloved Incarna would win them over. If anything, they helped defeat themselves worse, because the newborn Hearteaters wanted them to suffer.
- Enemy Mine: One of the few things that can get the Sidereals and Lunars to collaborate is taking down a Hearteater - both the Bureau of Destiny and the Silver Pact have institutional memory of the Hearteaters, even if their newer members haven't heard of them, and are well aware of the threat they pose.
- Fallen Hero: The Auroral Exalted were once The Muse to the other Exalted during the Primordial War, only to be twisted into the monsters they are now through the murder of their patron Incarna. Once they were no longer needed to fight said Primordials, the Hearteaters were sealed away, and understandably want payback.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Many Hearteaters were once just people who stumbled across the sealed bones of one and gained their Exaltation by complete accident.
- Horror Hunger: The psychological need to devour wills and transform people into servants is inherent to the Hearteaters - even beyond how powerless a Hearteater without Pawns is, being one comes with the urge to devour passions and become the heart of love for others, and fighting against that hunger is extremely difficult.
- Light Is Not Good: Hearteaters used to be the Exalted of the Aurora, are still highly associated with light, and are not Creatures of Darkness. Their very powers push them into being amoral Manipulative Bastards that devour free will.
- Made of Indestructium: When a Hearteater dies with no suitable pawns in range, their bones transmute to pearl and become imperishable until some poor sap stumbles across them and receives the Exaltation.
- The Minion Master: Hearteater Charms revolve around Pawns, people they have instilled a brainwashed Undying Loyalty into.
- Non-Indicative Name: The Hearteaters' name is metaphorical, rather than literal - they take the passions of others and subsume them into themselves.
- Past-Life Memories: Hearteaters tend to get a lot of memories from previous bearers of their Exaltations. How much varies, but they all tend to remember how they were betrayed pretty well...
- Sealed Evil in a Can: During the First Age, the Hearteaters were killed and their bones sealed away at the edges of Creation. Unfortunately, while the occasional breakout happened before, with the way that things have deteriorated in recent years, more and more are being released into Creation once more.
- Tragic Monster: The Auroral Exalted were corrupted and twisted by their patron's murder into the Hearteaters, instilling in them a drive to turn others into their pawns, once that they can't deny forever. Those with a conscience try and delude themselves into thinking that their pawns let them do this to them willingly, but these lies cannot last forever.
- The Virus: The core Hearteater concept, via breaking others' wills and turning them into their pawns. Kill a Hearteater with a suitable pawn within a few miles, and the Exaltation passes to the pawn... along with the drive to break people's wills and make them pawns (courtesy of their manifestation of the Great Curse), but not necessarily the original Hearteater's mind. Kill a Hearteater without a suitable pawn, and the Exaltation will pass to the next mortal to touch their bones.
UmbralsChosen of Nebiru, an Incarna that refused to fight on the side of the gods in the Divine Revolution. To prevent him betraying them to the Primordials, the other Incarnae sealed him within his invisible planet. In a desperate bid for freedom, Nebiru created the Umbrals, allowing himself to be consumed in the process.
All Umbrals have a Shadow - a Split Personality formed from the darkest parts of their psyche and a small fragment of Nebiru himself. Their charms allow them to control darkness, both in a literal sense and to manipulate the darkness within the hearts of those around them. In the place of a limit track they have Penumbra, a gauge of how much they or the Shadow is in control of their shared body. The higher it is, and the more influence the Shadow has, the more powerful they become.
- Casting a Shadow: A good part of Umbral powers is physical manipulation of darkness and shadows.
- Dark Is Not Evil: Umbrals are associated deeply with darkness, fear, and vices, and are Creatures of Darkness due to their long-dead Incarna being a Primordial loyalist; however, even the Shadows themselves aren't inherently evil (a particularly criminal Umbral might find her Shadow partly embodies Chronic Hero Syndrome), and it's possible for Heaven to decide that particular Umbrals have proven they're not enemies of Creation, curing their vulnerability to Holy Charms.
- Enemy Within: An Umbral's Exaltation gives them a Shadow, the result of a bit of Nebiru merging with his Chosen's darker impulses - as befitting an embodiment of fear and doubt, Shadows are never things their counterpart likes about themselves and constantly struggle for control; however, since Shadows contain pieces of an Incarna, some Charms cede influence to the Shadow in return for drawing directly on the dead arch-god's power. That said, unlike their counterparts in Wraith: The Oblivion, a Shadow will never try to pursue their Umbral's death.
- Irony: The Immaculate Philosophy views Celestial Exalted as inherently compromised by their dark sides awoken by their powers and inherently Anathema. Umbrals, who factually are Celestial Exalted fighting against their awoken dark sides by nature of their powers, are not inherently recognized by the Immaculates as Anathema, simply being judged based on their behavior.
- Mechanically Unusual Class: They're the only Exalted type in third edition seemingly unaffected by the Great Curse, though Penumbra acts like the Curse in its place.
- The Minion Master: Umbral Charms allow the crafting of Living Shadows, and Night-Prince Majesty gives them a persistent Charm Person effect to Creatures of Darkness and dark-aligned beings aligned to Heaven by drawing on Nebiru's authority over the night.
- Power at a Price: Some of the Umbral Charms require gaining Penumbra to use, granting the Umbral power at the cost of control.
- Semantic Superpower: Because Shadows are technically both their Umbrals and not, they can do things like soak the damage from attacks while leaving the Umbral uninjured, hide Intimacies of the Umbral within themselves, trick people who didn't crack an Umbral's social defenses into believing a biased Half-Truth advantageous to the Umbral, and create Combat Clairvoyance by lambasting flaws in their counterpart's fighting style (including things like "you didn't notice the ambusher" the Umbral wasn't capable of seeing).
- Superpowered Evil Side: The more Penumbra an Umbral has, the more influence their Shadow has over their actions - and the more powerful they personally are, as they tap into more and more of Nebiru's power. Inner Darkness Unleashed is a basic Charm that invokes it directly, taking on a point of Penumbra for the Shadow to physically manifest as Power Armor for the Umbral.
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 them altogether; the Spoken may be gone, but they did leave their mark on Creation, and are slated to get an antagonist writeup in the Exalted Essence companion.
- 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 could grow to massive sizes.