CRAFT (HOUSE RULE)
This Ability represents a character’s knowledge of an familiarity with all forms of crafting. With the initial purchase of Craft you gain one free Specialty within the Mundane Arts. Building Mundane Items and Artifacts still follow the rules outline in Second Edition Core pp. 133 – 134.
Artisans classify crafting into 10 Techne, each of which constitutes its own Craft specialty: Air, Earth, Fire, Wood, Water, Magitech, Genesis, Fate, Glamour and Necrosurgery. A character can study as many different Techne as he wants, purchasing the same techne up to three times. In order of tiered ascendance, each purchase is called a Degree: Apprentice (+ 1), Journeyman (+ 2) and Master (+ 3). Learning each Degree demands a commensurately higher Craft rating, so Apprentice requires Craft 1, Journeyman requires 3, and Master requires 5. Characters cannot ever apply more than +3 specialty dice to a Craft roll no matter how many Techne they study, nor may they add Degrees to Craft rolls not pertaining to a particular Techne.
Mundane Crafting Techne
(Second Edition Core, p. 107)
- Air: calligraphy, jewelry-making, creating precision instruments and glassblowing
(making small, decorative or high-precision items)
- Earth: masonry, stone cutting, creating earthworks
(creating buildings and large objects with stone or earth)
- Fire: blacksmithing, making ceramics
(forging and casting large metal objects and creating objects using fire)
- Water: cooking, brewing, leather working, pharmacy and poison-making
(boiling and cooking plants, chemicals and animal materials)
- Wood: carpentry, weaving, paper-making, flower arranging
(carving, weaving and manipulating natural materials)
Exotic Crafting Techne
- Magitech: The ability to repair, operate and maintain all kinds of complicated First Age devices.
(Requirements: Journeyman Air, Journeyman Fire, and Apprentice [Mundane Craft]. Use Lore rating in place of Craft to determine Degree purchase ranking, Wonders of the First Age p. 8)
- Genesis: The skill of modifying and creating biological organisms using Essence and technology.
(Use the lowest of Lore, Medicine or Occult rating in place of Craft when determining Degree purchase ranking, Wonders of the First Age p. 8)
- Fate: The skill permits Sidereals to create and modify Destinies.
(Crafting Fate follows similar rules as crafting artifacts, Manual of Exalted Power: Sidereals p. 212)
- Glamour: This skill permits Raksha to craft items out of Essence and dreams.
(Graceful Wicked Mask p. 91)
- Necrotech: This skill allows one to preform Necrosurgery.
(Use the lowest of Lore, Medicine or Occult rating in place of Craft when determining Degree purchase ranking, Manual of Exalted Power: Abyssals p. 194)
Each dot in this Background typically represents one ally approximately equal in power to a starting character. More powerful allies require higher ratings. Depending upon both her score in this Background and the power of the allies, your character can have between one and five allies.
|X||You have no powerful allies.|
|•||Your ally is a Heroic Mortal, a God-Blooded, or a minor terrestrial god.|
|••||Your ally is an influential Heroic Mortal, an established God-Blooded, or a starting Dragon-Blooded.|
|•••||Your ally is an influential God-Blooded, a major terrestrial god or one of the Fair Folk.|
|••••||Your ally is an established Dragon-Blooded.|
|•••••||Your ally is an influential Dragon-Blooded or a starting Solar, Lunar or Sidereal.|
BACKING (House Rule)
The Gold Faction believes one cannot serve two masters, and an Illuminated Solar must serve the interest of the Cult almost exclusively, so Solars with the Illumination Background cannot generally purchase this Background separately. A Solar who does not heed the advice of her Viziers and follow the Cult doctrine may find herself without the aid and protection of the Cult.
CULT (House Rule)
Each Cult Solar begins with one free dot in Cult (Illuminated) to reflect her position as one of the “Shining Ones” within the Cult of the Illuminated. Rating in this Background cannot be raised without first having increased the rating in Illumination.
FACE (Scroll of the Monk)
In the Martial Arts World, fighters seek fame as paragons of fighting prowess or of some ideal espoused by their school. A sifu might be famed for insightful training methods or generosity in accepting indigent pupils. A fighter who frequently competes in tournaments could be revered for good sportsmanship as well as his victories. Face represents how well a martial artist has become known to, and respected by, other martial artists.
Face does not necessarily represent a character’s raw power. In the Realm, for instance, everyone knows that Immaculate monks wield far greater power than other martial artists. Nevertheless, most Immaculates lack this Background because they are not famous as individuals. The powerful martial artists among the Lunar Exalted are also little known outside their own kind, giving them little face in the Martial Arts World.
Martial artist characters can begin play with Face if they were already known for their combat prowess as mortals, or if they studied under a famous sifu. Most of the time, however, characters gain Face in the course of play. They can also lose Face, of course, if they suffer humiliating defeats, show cowardice or otherwise bring dishonor upon themselves.
When two martial artists meet, compare their Face ratings and subtract the lower score from the higher. The player of the character with greater Face gets to add that number of bonus dice to all social rolls made against the opposing martial artist. Yet, Face applies only when both characters see themselves as part of the Martial Arts World and acknowledge the importance of their reputation within it. For example, a great but mortal sifu won’t impress one of Luna’s Chosen who feels contempt for all civilization and knows he could eat the sifu for lunch. The Storyteller can also reduce a character’s effective Face if she travels, since news spreads slowly in the Age of Sorrows. One character might acknowledge another martial artist’s Face only after seeing her fight and recognizing her skill or who must have trained her.
|•||Noticed: Other martial artists have seen you earn a few victories, or maybe you just have a revered teacher.|
|••||Known: You have a strong reputation in the Martial Arts World, at least locally. Other martial artists know you as a capable practitioner who should not be taken lightly. Your sifu is most likely proud to claim you as a student.|
|•••||Famous: Your victories are known far and wide. Other martial artists challenge you to see if you are as skilled as stories say. Would-be martial artists might seek instruction from you. You could open your own dojo.|
|••••||Revered: Impeccable technique and numerous victories make you known throughout Creation, at least among connoisseurs of combat. Other martial artists consider you one of the greatest living practitioners of your fi ghting style.|
|•••••||Legendary: Only the greatest or most hotheaded martial artists dare to test your prowess. Students constantly seek your tutelage, and you have successfully trained several of them. You are known as one of the all-time greatest practitioners of your fighting style—perhaps you even created a powerful style of your own. Even the Sidereal Exalted speak your name with respect. Anyone who studies under you receives +1 bonus to his Face because of it.|
ILLUMINATION (House Rule)
Loyalty and devotion to the Cult has it rewards. After all the Gold Faction view the Solar Exalted as their greatest champions. Such prized champions receive the best equipment and training that the Cult can provide, limited only by the proven devoutness of each savior. It would not do to suffer the mistakes of the First Age at the hands of a Lawgiver more concerned with his own ambitions that the greater glory of Heaven.
Dots in this Background provide benefits as if a Solar had Backing, Mentor and Resources ratings each equal to her Illumination rating. The character can also request the temporary use of Allies, Artifact *, Contacts, Followers **, and Manse. She makes a request to the Cult Council and they will decide if the request is reasonable for the mission. The higher the character’s Illumination rating is, however, the closer the Council watches her actions and the more time she must spend on the Cults missions.
Although the Illumination background is very powerful, Storytellers should remember that these advantages come with thick strings attached. Storytellers that charge experience points for Backgrounds should waive this cost for improving Illumination in play. Instead, the Storyteller should assign or strip away dots as befits a Lawgiver’s proven devotion to the Cult, possibly even from session to session. Without this capriciousness, Illumination is blatantly overpowered and likely to encourage players to maximize their Solar Illumination rating instead of other Backgrounds.
*Artifacts acquired with the Illumination Background are usually made of Orichalcum or Jade. Orichalcum Artifacts are reserved for Solars only. Artifacts made of other magical materials must be purchased with the Artifact Background.
**Followers acquired with the Illumination Background maybe used as elite soldiers, see Exalted p. 280; these units have Drill 5, Might 0
|X||The Exalt has no rank or trust within the Cult. Either he is an outsider, or he is considered a lesser, dedicated servant of the Illuminated. The Exalt is considered no better than the rank-and-file members of the Cult.|
|•||Initiate. The Exalt has achieved the trust and dedication of the Cult, and its resources are at his disposal. Despite this, he is still considered unproven. He is expected to learn at the feet of his instructors, and while cultists are required to obey his word, the Exalt is expected to listen to the advice of wiser cultists, such as his guide. This rank is the one of a Solar training in the camps, and all Illuminated Solars begin at this rank.|
|••||Adept. The Exalt has proven himself to the Cult and now acts as an independent agent. He is free to come and go as he pleases, and he can expect mortals to listen to his commands as well as tend to his needs. Adepts primarily serve as the agents of the Cult, leaving the camps to perform tasks upon their behalf. This is the rank of those Solars who have graduated from their training.|
|•••||Illuminated. The Exalt has experience in serving the Cult and is considered a leader. Adepts look to him for leadership, and he often leads Cult missions and endeavors. Illuminated Exalts also serve as instructors of less capable Solars, and all the instructors of the camps stand at this rank. At this rank the Exalt can increase his rating in Cult (Illuminated), however it cannot be higher than her Illumination rating.|
|••••||Saint. The Exalt has proven himself beyond the rest of the Solars and is a hero among the Cult. His name is spoken amongst cultists, and he is held up as an example to other Solars. Saints are the incarnations of the teachings of the Cult, living embodiments of the Illuminated Ones, and they serve as the high priests of the Cult. They make appearances at gatherings and perform miracles for the believers. Their greater status affords them even more worship, and are able to increase their rating in Cult (Illuminated), to 4.|
|•••••||Prophet. The Exalt leads and guides the whole of the Cult with his words. Training camps are ostensibly headed by prophets, as is the Cult itself. These Solars are the voice of the Cult, speaking for Heaven above, and their word is divine mandate to the cultists below them. While they have great power, however, they are still just spokesmen for Heaven, and Heaven is run by the Sidereals. No matter how powerful the Solars get, the Gold Faction intends to always be there, pulling the strings. Because of their immense status within the Cult, prayers pour into their souls. The rating in Cult (Illuminated), can be increased to 5.|
|Note: No Solar Exalt can start a series with an Illumination rating higher than 2.|
SAVANT (Dreams of the First Age)
As noted under the Past Life Background, many Cult Solars have extensive memories from the First Age. While that Background carries with it the risk of losing control to the stronger personality of the past life, such past life recollections may also contain memories with less emotional resonance, such as generic memories of First Age culture. Such general memories of the high First Age are reflected by the Savant Background. A character with the Savant Background adds her Savant rating in dice to any Lore check involving the history, science or magic of the First Age. She also adds her rating in dots to her Lore, Occult and Craft Abilities in order to meet the Ability requirements to operate and maintain First Age artifacts.
Unlike the Past Life Background, the Lawgiver can call upon the memories reflected in her Savant rating as frequently as she wishes, as an understanding of First Age culture and magitech was so ingrained into the ancient Solars as to be second nature. Doing so does not run any risk of losing control to the Solar’s personality. The benefits of this Background may not stack with those of the Past Life Background.
|X||None. Your past life is remarkably quiescent or else was remarkably ignorant.|
|•||You have some knowledge of a more glorious time.|
|••||You have a general understanding of First Age lore.|
|•••||You were a scholar of note in your past life and have clear memories of First Age theory and practice.|
|••••||You easily grasp the workings of most First Age artifacts and remember much from before the Usurpation.|
|•••••||You were a brilliant scholar before the Usurpation and have forgotten little of your former studies. You understand First Age lore as though you had grown up amidst it and studied it for decades.|
SIFU (House Rule)
Martial Arts training is considered an import part of the training program within the Cult. It’s a life style that promotes discipline and spiritual peace. Higher ranking Solar and Lunar Cult members are usually tasked with teaching the newly recruited students. Some of the Gold Faction Cult members will take on a promising Solar student and teach them the Celestial styles that are best suited for Solars. The Gold Faction avoids teaching the Elemental Dragon Styles as they are less familiar with them than their counter parts in the Bronze Faction. They also avoid the more esoteric styles such as Hungry Ghost or Dreaming Pearl Courtesan, primarily because the instructors are unfamiliar with them. Solars will receive no training in Terrestrial-level styles, as they are seen by the Cult as beneath Solars.
This Background lets a player declare which supernatural martial arts she wishes her character to have available in the future. Players and Storytellers should work together to decide which styles are known by a character’s sifu. The sifu is effectively martial arts training on demand; it should always be available, subject only to important plot considerations.
With the Cult of the Illuminated version, the Celestial arts readily available are Snake Style, Tiger Style, Ebon Shadow Style, Crane Style and Mantis Style. Theoretically, a Cult Solar’s sifu might know other Celestial or even Sidereal styles but would not teach them to the character, or in most cases, even allow the character to know that the sifu has knowledge of what might be termed “blasphemous styles” such as the Elemental Dragon Styles. Celestial Monkey Style, The Four Arguments of Virtue Styles, (see Scroll of the Monk: The Imperfect Lotus, p. 13-24), Arms of the Unconquered Sun Style, (see Glories of the Most High: Unconquered Sun, p. 34-37) these styles may be permitted with Story teller permission.
|X||You formed no great bonds with any sifus; learning new supernatural martial arts always includes the arduous process of finding a willing teacher.|
|•||Your sifu knows one celestial martial art style.|
|••||Your sifu knows two celestial martial art styles.|
|•••||Your sifu knows three celestial martial art styles.|
|••••||Your sifu knows five celestial martial art styles.|
|•••••||Your sifu is unparalleled: he knows seven celestial martial art styles.|
CHAPTER THREE • TRAITS