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    Because of the mature themes involved, reader discretion is advised.

    Based on the Exalted game created by Robert Hatch, with Justin Achilli, Andrew Bates, Dana Habecker,Based on the Exalted game created by Robert Hatch, with Justin Achilli, Andrew Bates, Dana Habecker,Based on the Exalted game created by Robert Hatch, with Justin Achilli, Andrew Bates, Dana Habecker,Based on the Exalted game created by Robert Hatch, with Justin Achilli, Andrew Bates, Dana Habecker,Based on the Exalted game created by Robert Hatch, with Justin Achilli, Andrew Bates, Dana Habecker,Sheri M. Johnson, Chris McDonough, Richard Thomas, Stephan Wieck. Phase 2 design by Geoffrey C. Grabowski,Sheri M. Johnson, Chris McDonough, Richard Thomas, Stephan Wieck. Phase 2 design by Geoffrey C. Grabowski,Sheri M. Johnson, Chris McDonough, Richard Thomas, Stephan Wieck. Phase 2 design by Geoffrey C. Grabowski,Sheri M. Johnson, Chris McDonough, Richard Thomas, Stephan Wieck. Phase 2 design by Geoffrey C. Grabowski,Sheri M. Johnson, Chris McDonough, Richard Thomas, Stephan Wieck. Phase 2 design by Geoffrey C. Grabowski,

    with Ken Cliffe, Richard Thomas, Stephan Wieck. Developed by Geoffrey C. Grabowski.with Ken Cliffe, Richard Thomas, Stephan Wieck. Developed by Geoffrey C. Grabowski.with Ken Cliffe, Richard Thomas, Stephan Wieck. Developed by Geoffrey C. Grabowski.with Ken Cliffe, Richard Thomas, Stephan Wieck. Developed by Geoffrey C. Grabowski.with Ken Cliffe, Richard Thomas, Stephan Wieck. Developed by Geoffrey C. Grabowski.



    2001 White Wolf Publishing, Inc. Reproduction without the written permission of the publisher is expressly forbidden, except for the purposes of review. White Wolfis a registered trademark of White Wolf Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Exalted is a trademark of White Wolf Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. All characters, names,places and text herein are copyrighted by White Wolf Publishing, Inc. The mention of or reference to any company or product in these pages is not a challenge to thetrademark or copyright concerned. PRINTED IN CANADA



    Within the Realm, this is the stuff of myth and legend.Even the tales of the Celestials greatest feats have been lostto the common folk. The majority of the Realms inhabit-ants believe only in what they see the semi-mythicalAnathema, who lurk at the edges of Creation, the Terres-trial Exalted, called the Dragon-Blooded, who rule, and themortal men, who are born to strive and die.

    But the Celestial Exalted were real, and they had thepower to make the world tremble at their passing. Andnow, they are returning. In the mad scramble for theirempires vacant throne, the Dragon-Blooded have failedto maintain their age-old purge of the Celestial Exalted.Now, the children of sky are surviving long enough torealize their vast powers.

    POWERS OF THE EXALTEDThe primary difference between human and Exalted

    Terrestrial or Celestial consists of the ability of theChosen to channel the fundamental force of the universe,called Essence. The power of the Exalted depends on boththeir skill at manipulating Essence and having adequateEssence to work with. Although humans are composed ofEssence and are ruled by its ebb, flow and vicissitudes,they are unable to command its nature or directionconsciously. The power an Exalted has corresponds di-rectly to the strength of her connection to the Essencearound her. A young and inexperienced Exalted mayseem like a moderately talented magician, capable of onlya few practical tricks or simple feats of sorcery. Older,more experienced Exalted who have a greater under-standing or command of Essence are like unto the Incarnain their ability to shape the world.

    The abilities of the Exalted are constrained, how-ever, by the amount of Essence available to them. WithoutEssence to command, even the greatest of the Exalted islittle more than human. Essence exists within all facets ofthe natural world and flows through all healthy livingbeings. Exalted typically breathe in the ambient Essencethat flows through the world, storing it up until they needit. The amount of Essence an Exalted can hold within herbody at any one time is determined both by her magicalability and her force of personality, and it is an importantmeasure of her strength.

    The Essence powers of the Exalted take three forms:innate abilities, Charms and sorcerous spells. The innateabilities are talents that the Exalted exercise simply byflooding their animas with Essence. For example, a SolarExalted of the Dawn Caste can use her anima to appear tobe a fearsome warrior, so terrifying that enemies literallycannot bear to look directly at her.

    Charms refer to the ways in which Exalted canimbue their own actions with Essence. With the aid ofCharms, the Exalted uses Essence to empower her oth-erwise normal skills or talents, thereby making them

    Do not believe what the scientists tell you. Thenatural history we know is a lie, a falsehood sold to us bywicked old men who would make the world a dull grayprison and protect us from the dangers inherent to free-dom. They would have you believe our planet to be alonely starship, hurtling through the void of space, barrenof magic and in need of a stern hand upon the rudder.

    Close your eyes to their deception. The time beforeour time was not a time of senseless natural struggle andreptilian rage, but a time of myth and sorcery. It was a timeof legend, when heroes walked Creation and wielded thevery power of the gods. It was a time before the world wasbent, a time before the magic of Creation lessened, a timebefore the souls of men became the stunted, witheredthings that they are today.

    This is the story of that time.This is the story of the Exalted.

    WHAT IS A STORYTELLING GAME?Storytelling is a sophisticated way for adults to play

    make-believe. Rather than playing soldier or house andrunning around in your backyard or the alley behindyour apartment, you and your friends sit in a comfortableroom and describe the heroic feats that your charactersaccomplish. To help make sure that you all share thesame vision of whats going on, a mediator and narrator(the Storyteller) describes events and keeps the storymoving. In order to prevent arguments of who did whatfirst and whether an action is possible, there are rulesthat describe what your character can and cant do. Inorder to prevent bitterness over someone beating some-one else in a fight, the characters are usually allies againstimaginary opposition that the Storyteller tries to portrayas even-handedly as possible. In order to prevent jadedadult imaginations from being bored quickly, the settingis much more intricate and complex than most peopleschildhood fantasies.

    THE EXALTEDThe Exalted command the fundamental forces of the

    Tellurian. Additionally, their life spans are greatly length-ened; the Dragon-Blooded live hundreds of years, whilethe life spans of the Celestials are orders of magnitudelonger than those of humans. Some Celestial Exaltedeven retain memories of the First Age.

    The time when the Exalted embodied virtue wascalled the First Age, and it was a golden age of peace andwonder. But the virtue of the Celestial Exalted thoseExalted who had been taught to harness the power of theheavens waned. It was eaten away by their decadenceand powers and, some whisper, by a terrible curse laid onthem by the enemies of the Five Elemental Dragons. Theybecame twisted, mad things the Anathema and theywere destroyed or exiled for the good of the world.



    extraordinarily powerful. For example, an Exalted whowas a blacksmith can forge amazing weapons, an Exaltedwarrior can perform mighty feats in battle, and anExalted leader can command anyone and expect to beobeyed.

    Spells are the most difficult and powerful means ofchanneling Essence, and they can be devastating. Whenan Exalted casts a spell, he manipulates Essence with hiswords and gestures, according to the laws and principlesof magic, and in so doing, he reweaves reality itself.

    SOLAR EXALTEDThe Solar Exalted are the mightiest of the Exalted,

    and during the First Age, they were the rulers of the worldand the leaders of the Exalted. Their great enlightenmentwas intended to be a beacon and inspiration to all ofhumanity they shine brightest who are meant to beseen by all. Their power flows from the sun, and the daybelongs to them. Logic, heroism, inspiration and nobilityare their spheres of influence.

    The Dragon-Blooded murdered the Solars at thefall of the First Age. Although a few continued toreincarnate again and again, they were always dispatchedquickly by the forces of the Realm. Only since a year ortwo after the disappearance of the Empress have theSolars been reappearing in significant numbers. Withnewfound numbers and the Realm beset by foes andinstability, the emerging Solars have an opportunity tomake their power known.

    DAWNDawn Solars are fierce warriors, yet their ferocity

    does not make them bloodthirsty or stupid. Of those whohave been recently Exalted to this caste, there have beenbloody-handed killers, but none who were without re-deeming characteristics. Others are scholar-generals,hard-bitten militiamen who fought to protect their homes,monks who practiced the martial arts for spiritual reasons,pit fighters, street warriors who led gangs rather thanarmies, even heroic city guards who carried out their ownwar on the corrupt officials and criminal parasites whoinfest the cities of the world.

    Dawn Castes are universally skilled in all forms offighting. They are natural masters of the bow, the swordand unarmed combat. When they channel Essence tomanifest their anima, they seem to become terrifyinggiants harbingers of destruction with eyes like moltengold, whom only the bravest of warriors can bear toregard directly.

    ZENITHThe Zenith Castes are the priests and mystics of the

    Exalted, and in terms of personality, they are the mostvaried of the castes. Many were once shamans or priests of

    the Immaculate Order, while others were simply passionateindividuals with a thirst for righteousness. Although theyare priests, Exalted of the Zenith Caste are more mission-aries, evangelists and rough-jawed crusaders for justicethan self-righteous scholars or pretentious theologians.

    Zenith Caste Solars excel in public speaking andpersuasion, but that is not their only forte. They are alsoincredibly durable, able to resist immense hardship andpain and to survive in the wilds as they pursue theirmissions. By channeling Essence through their animas,Exalted of this caste can cause fire to consume the bodiesof dead foes, so that those foes souls can reach the afterliferather than rising as hungry ghosts or walking dead. Also,the Zenith Castes are fierce enemies of demons and theundead, and they may channel Essence through theirauras to scorch and repel these horrors.

    TWILIGHTThe Twilight Exalted are learners and doers, adven-

    turer-scholars, warrior-mages and meddlesome cunningmen. Most Twilight Caste Exalted were learned beforetheir Exaltation, yet they are by no means all scholars.Storytellers, architects, merchants and engineers have allbeen Exalted to this caste. While there are a certainnumber of bookworms in this caste, most of them aredurable enough to endure the hardships of campaigningand the stress of life as powerful public figures.

    The Twilights excel at sorcery, but they are morethan simple scholars. They are learners, meddlers, doctorsand tinkers. They not only work magic with Essence, butwith tools, needles and thread and with their wit andinsight. By channeling Essence through their animas,they may protect themselves from attack, an importantpower given their active and dangerous lifestyles.

    NIGHTNight Caste Solars are the spies, scouts and assassins

    of the Solar Exalted. Night Caste Exalted are oftentricksters and vagabonds, but they are not necessarilythieves and killers. They are often peddlers, hunters,guides, police officers and the like anyone partaking inan active life for whom stealth and ingenuity are moreimportant than raw strength. Note that there are a fairnumber of cutpurses and assassins among those who areExalted to this caste, but they are by no means the solemembers of the caste.

    Night Caste Exalted are unparalleled in stealth,acrobatics and getting where and what they shouldnt.These Exalted also possess a preternatural awareness oftheir surroundings. By channeling Essence throughtheir auras, Night Caste Exalted may conceal theirpresence, making them difficult to sense. Night CasteSolars may also mute their animas, allowing them tomore easily use Charms without revealing their truenature as Exalted.



    ECLIPSEThe Eclipse Caste is made up of the ambassadors and

    negotiators among the Exalted. Eclipse Caste Exalted aretypically chosen from among those who make their livingwith words and negotiations. Merchants, diplomats, bu-reaucrats, confidence men, beggars, peddlers, teachers any of these can be Exalted into the Eclipse Caste.

    The Eclipses are as masterful at governance, businessand politics as the Zenith Caste is at persuasion andleadership. Although they are not charismatic, they areintuitively able to sense and exploit the flows of powerand influence in an organization. These Solars also dem-onstrate amazing language skills and are master horsemenand sailors. (After all, in order to negotiate a treaty ormake a deal, the negotiator must first arrive at her desti-nation.) By channeling Essence through her anima, anEclipse may swear or witness oaths that neither party canbreak without incurring a terrible curse. Members of thiscaste may also walk among spirits and demons withoutfear, protected by ancient and inviolable treaties of safepassage sworn during the height of the Old Realm. Eclipsesmay even learn the Charms and powers of other Exalted,and even of spirits, to aid their dealings with these beings.Although this learning is not as easy as mastering thetricks of their own kind, it allows the Eclipse Casteunparalleled flexibility.

    LUNAR EXALTEDLunars are master shapeshifters capable of taking the

    form or partial form of any animal whose blood they havetasted. This ability alone makes Lunars dangerous en-emies, but in conjunction with their dominion overbeasts and their familiarity with the night and the wilder-ness, they are among the most dangerous opponents in theworld. Those Lunars who retain their sentience also havea deep connection with the unconscious mind, and theycan use it to create complex and deadly illusions or toevoke primal emotions love, rage, despair and the like in the minds of those around them.

    Many Lunars have been deeply warped by the Wyldsodd energy. While Lunars are often bestial, mad or both(and they may not even remember that they are Exalted),all remain dangerously cunning. Of all the Exalted, Lunarshave the worst reputation for being monsters and stalkersof the night, for many of them are. The worst of them stalkmen like beasts and think of humans as prey.

    SIDEREALAmong the Exalted, the Sidereals are the prophets,

    warlocks, rogues and spirit-binders. While they maintainrelatively close communication among themselves, theyremain silent to most other Exalted, unless circumstancesdictate otherwise.

    The Sidereals have a great understanding of magic,and they use it frequently and competently. They arecapable of affecting the powers of fate directly, or alterna-tively, they can have spirits do their work for them. Of allthe Exalted, the Sidereals have the greatest connection tospirits, and they utilize it very carefully. Each Siderealmust forge a relationship with the spirits or courts ofspirits that she wants to deal with.

    DRAGON-BLOODEDThe most common of all the Exalted, the Dragon-

    Blooded are at once despised and feared. They aresignificantly more powerful than any mortal, and theyhave used that power to establish a mighty Realm of theirown. They hold most civilized nations as tributary, andthey wield tremendous political and economic influence.A family squabble among the most powerful Dragon-Blooded can result in nations warring in the Threshold.

    There are five kinds of Dragon-Blooded, each with anaffinity for one of the five elements. Each type of Dragon-Blooded has power over the earthly elements and certain ofthe elemental spirits as well. While they arent as proficientat spirit-mastery as the Sidereals, many of the higher-tieraristocrats are capable of calling on ages-old pacts andagreements made with the elemental lords in the First Age.

    With the disappearance of the Empress, the Dragon-Blooded are being forced to enter into actual combat withthe forces that threaten the Blessed Isle. While theirmagic is notably weaker than that of many of their newenemies, particularly the deathknights and many of theinvaders from the Wyld, the Dragon-Blooded have main-tained a rigorous regimen of martial training that, whencombined with their elemental talents, makes them for-midable opponents on the field of battle.

    ABYSSAL EXALTEDIt is unknown how these Exalted were created, but

    they have appeared only recently. Indeed, it is not clearwhether they are Exalted at all. Dragon-Blooded soldiershave had a number of encounters with the Abyssals, andthey tell of the dark ones manipulating Essence to speakwith ghosts and to control the bodies of those who arealready dead. While such information makes it seem highlylikely that the Abyssals are Exalted of some variety, no suchcreatures are mentioned in any of the books that havesurvived from the First Age. Where such a twisted Exaltedwould come from is an enigma, and a disturbing one.

    The Abyssal Exalted are the antithesis of what theExalted are in every particular. Where the CelestialExalted channel radiance and foster life and growth,deathknights are masters of darkness and necromancy.They are capable of manipulating shadows for diversepurposes, and their command of the dead is like a night-mare version of the Celestial rule. Most terrifyingly, the



    Abyssals do not appear overly inclined to use the naturalflow of Essence through the world, even in Manses andDemesnes. While they are capable of pulling Essencefrom the Underworld to replenish their reserves, theygain Essence fastest when drawing it from living beings,and they appear to prefer, even enjoy, it. They feed in avariety of ways, including drinking blood from livingcreatures, stealing souls and eating the flesh of men.

    THE EXALTATIONWhile anyone can manifest as one of the Celestial

    Exalted, the weaker Terrestrial Exalted are born only toDragon-Blooded parents. However, normally not all of aDragon-Blooded familys children will be Exalted. BothCelestial and Terrestrial Exalted rarely manifest beforeearly adolescence. The rules of Terrestrial heredity arecomplex and poorly understood, and the only rule ofCelestial Exaltation is that the Exalted individual isalready far above average always in terms of potential,and usually in terms of life-accomplishment as well.

    When the Empress reigned, newly born CelestialExalted were almost assuredly doomed to destruction at thehands of the Wyld Hunt of the Dragon-Blooded. For at thattime, the Dragon-Blooded watched closely for signs ofrecently Exalted Celestials and hunted the Celestials wher-ever they were found. These Celestial Exalted were eitherkilled or captured and taken to the Empress. It is whisperedamong the Dragon-Blooded that the Empress devouredtheir souls, for her understanding of Essence was such thatshe was able to strengthen herself and lengthen her exist-ence with each such meal. Only the Sidereals could hidefrom the scourge, due largely to the central role thoseSidereals had in the imposition of the Wyld Hunt.

    Since the disappearance of the Empress, the feudinghouses of the Realm have begun to divert all the empiresresources to fuel their internecine squabbles and theirjockeying for the throne. The once-ubiquitous network ofspies and informants with which the Empress searched forthe Celestials has begun to unravel, subverted by theintelligence apparatuses of the various houses or reassignedto deal with the nobles growing disloyalty. And at this darkmoment, the one moment when the Dragon-Blooded areno longer in a position to do anything about it, it seems asif more Solars than have ever been seen before has enteredthe world. Today, the Wyld Hunt must often rely on mortalassassins and outcaste bounty hunters, rather than themassive and well-armed hunting parties of the past.

    CAUSES OF EXALTATIONThe powers of an Exalted frequently manifest after a

    period of stress, such as severe injury, terrible illness,terror. The trigger events vary greatly from Exalted toExalted. At his hour of greatest need, it is as if thecharacter is given the strength to triumph and endure.



    Some Celestials also manifest when they are exposed to alarge amount of magic or when a great deal of Essence ismoved or channeled near them. Finally, some seem tomanifest due to vast exposure to their element manySolars are Exalted during a period of overexposure tosunlight for example.

    ESSENCEThe world is not still; it flows, expanding and contract-

    ing with the interaction of a thousand tiny cycles. Essenceis the power behind those eternal cycles. Every storm, everybirth, every wave in the ocean is nudged by the flow ofEssence through the universe. The Exalted, unlike mosthumans, are gifted with the ability to perceive and manipu-late the flow of Essence, and it is this ability that distinguishesthem from the dull chaff of humanity.

    THE SIGNS OF POWERThe power of the Exalted does not hide. On the

    contrary, it seeks to shine forth and mark the user.Although an Exalted can use some power and remainhidden, those Exalted who exert themselves must neces-sarily give themselves away. Citizens of the Realm aretaught to be on guard for any child exhibiting these traitsor markings, particularly those of the Solar Exalted, whoare to be destroyed wherever they are detected.

    SOLAR CASTE MARKSOf the Celestials, the Solar Exalted are perhaps the

    most easily discovered. All of them bear a so-called CasteMark on their forehead, as if it were a burning third eye.This mark manifests whenever the Exalted channelsEssence, and it can sometimes be seen during the time ofday to which the Exalteds caste is affiliated. Similarly,each Solar burns with a brilliant aura, his anima, whichincreases in intensity as the amount of Essence he chan-nels grows. When an Exalted burns large quantities ofEssence, it may even take the shape of a great fire or of theanimal that the Solar most closely resembles.

    Dawn Caste Solars are marked by a brilliant goldensunburst that adorns the center of their brow. Theiranima tends to be bright white and pale gold, sometimestinged with red or light violet.

    Zenith Caste Solars are known by their large, bright-gold circular Caste Marks. Their animas are a brilliantburning white or a thick, majestic gold.

    Twilight Caste Solars have a golden circle, filled inwith gold on the top, but having only an empty ring on thebottom half. Their animas tend to the most spectacularcolors, containing bright golds as well as bright and darkreds, purples and even blues.

    Night Caste Solars have an empty golden circle astheir Caste Mark. The animas of these Exalted are ghostlywhites and golds, tinged with purple and purple-gray.

    Eclipse Caste Solars have a golden disc within acircle for their Caste Mark. Their animas are brilliantwhites and golds, almost sparkling, but filmy and fluctu-ating, like the corona of the sun during an eclipse.

    LUNAR CASTE MARKSAll older Lunars are marked with extensive tattoo-

    ing, scars and brandings, which are believed to be of ritualsignificance in their savage religion of moon-veneration.

    SIDEREAL CASTE MARKSThe Sidereal Exalted may be known by their star-

    filled eyes or, occasionally, by the faraway, distracted lookthat frequently washes over their faces as visions assailthem. When they channel Essence, Sidereals are markedby a Caste Mark the color of their patron Maiden. Chosenof Mercury radiate yellow, those of Venus blue and thoseof Mars red. Chosen of Jupiter burn green, while those ofSaturn glow with the orange of a banked fire.

    ABYSSAL CASTE MARKSThe Abyssal Exalted bear marks that give them away

    clearly to anyone bothering to look. Some Abyssals havean appearance that suggests a rotting corpse. Ironically,however, as they grow older and more powerful, AbyssalExalted appear less decayed and develop a cold allure.The most powerful Abyssals are stunning creatures ofdangerous beauty, with skin like alabaster, hair the colorof onyx and lips like fallen rose petals. They bear black,eternally visible versions of the Solars caste markings,and it is believed the Deathlords do so to mock the formerrulers of the world or to terrify the Dragon-Blooded.

    TERRESTRIAL CASTE MARKSLike the Celestials, the Dragon-Blooded have clear

    marks that distinguish them from one another and frommere mortals. The features of the Dragon-Blooded have acertain coarseness not seen in those of the CelestialExalted, and their appearance directly reflects their affin-ity for their element.

    Aspects of Air are surrounded by gusting winds.While they can calm these gusts for short periods withconcentration, they find it difficult to do so while per-forming any other activity.

    Aspects of Earth have the coarsest features of all theTerrestrial Exalted. Their bodies are frequently compactor stocky, and they smell of freshly turned soil.

    Aspects of Fire are marked by a clear reddish tint totheir skin. It is not uncommon for older Dragon-Bloodedof this aspect to emit puffs of smoke from their mouths asthey speak.

    Aspects of Water are characterized by hypnotic graceand beautiful iridescent skin. Their skin often takes on aslight blue-green tint as they get older.



    Aspects of Wood sometimes have a light layer of barkon their skin, especially on the back and the shoulders.The young or less powerful among them may have agreenish tint to their skin.

    MANSES AND DEMESNESThroughout most of the world, Essence flows across,

    beneath and through all things, clear and quiet as a spring.Essence is in the tides of the sea, the light of the sun andthe solidity of the earth. Moreover, it is the source of spiritthat animates all living things. All life, dreams andemotion arise from the ebb and flow of Essence. Essenceis the rhythm the world moves to, the mad and vital dancethat holds the void at bay.

    While Essence is usually invisible to all but powerfulExalted, there are places where the stream becomes a riverand the raw power of Creation is manifest for all to see.Where Essence roars through Creation, it creates placesof power. These sites are sacred and full of magic. In theFirst Age, they were often the sites of the mansions of theExalted, and today, they are frequently the sites of templesand shrines. Exalted can sense such places at a distance,and even the dullest humans feel something akin to awein these places. When edifices have been built to channeland focus the flow of Essence, they are called Manses.When the power is untamed by architecture, these holyplaces are called Demesnes.

    ARTIFACTSThe Old Realm lasted for millennia and spanned vast

    leagues more land, it is said, than currently comprisesthe world. In that time, the Celestials and their servantsmanufactured objects of astonishing power. Weapons, jew-elry, books and any other sort of item could have beenenchanted in such a way as to channel Essence for myriadpurposes. That was another Age, and the products of thatera have become exceedingly rare and valuable. Time, thewarring of the Dragon-Blooded and the encroachment ofthe Wyld have seen to it that most of the powerful artifactshave been used up, hidden or destroyed. Fair Folk haveseized many of them, while others lie deep within Wyldregions, worshiped or hoarded by warped creatures thathave no comprehension of the devices true value or power.

    THE REALMA majestic and decadent empire, the Realm is noth-

    ing less than the hub of reality itself. A hallowed consensusgoverns the heart of the empire, keeping the unreal, theuncertain and the unholy to the lands of the periphery.The Realm is also the hub of political reality. From thelabyrinthine streets and towering spires of the ImperialCity to the vast standing legions sent to secure tributefrom the Threshold, the Realm is the undisputed centerof power in Creation.

    Or at least, it used to be. Since the disappearance ofthe Empress five years ago, usurping nobles, petty con-querors and unruly tribes have picked apart theonce-unified hierarchy of the empire. For the Dynasty,things have never been worse; for ambitious patricianswaiting to seize power for themselves, the current insta-bility gives them the perfect opportunity.

    The average citizen of the Realm has white skin,black hair and brown eyes. Full lips and strong noses aretypical, and most men and women stand nearly six feettall when full-grown. Builds are generally slim, but mentend to develop a paunch later in life. Bear in mind,however, that the Realm is a conquering empire. Many ofits inhabitants even members of the Scarlet Dynasty show signs of alien blood from foreign concubines.

    THE EMPIRE IN DECLINEA coalition of Exalted despots that ruled the Realm

    in its infancy, the Dynasts quickly rose to rank their poweraccording to the size and prosperity of their estates or themagnitude of their Charms. These noble families were asquerulous as their modern counterparts in the Dynasty the authority of the Empress was all that kept theirambitions in check.

    Since the Empress disappearance, the Dynasty hasincreased tributes from the outlying provinces to outra-geous levels through the decrees of its figurehead regent.Barbarian and bandit raids, along with the tributary lordsfaltering confidence in the empire, sapped the imperialtreasury. Even with the heavier tributes paid by the lordsthat remain loyal, seven of the Realms legions have beendecommissioned to compensate for the disruption oftrade and tax revenues. Why pay the Realms tributewhen it offers no stability? Far better, think some tributar-ies, to cultivate their own power and grow stronger (andricher) without the interference of the Realm.

    In theory, the Realm still controls the Blessed Isleand the surrounding lands. In reality, it has as muchinfluence outside the isle as its legions allow it. A hierar-chical system of leadership governs the Realm, from thesmallest village to the Imperial City itself. Imperial influ-ence remains absolute on the isle, but it grows less surefarther away from this center.

    THE PERFECTED HIERARCHYThe Immaculate Philosophy, the state-mandated

    religion of the Realm, holds that the Dragon-Blooded aresuperior beings who have traveled farther downenlightenments road. The law forbids citizens, peasants,slaves and the disenfranchised from looking them directlyin the eye. Even today, while no one worships Dynasts asdeities, their advanced spirituality and frightening pow-ers inspire awe among the peoples of the Realm. Somecitizens flock to any public ceremony that promises a



    glimpse of one of the Dragon-Blooded, while others willgo to any lengths to avoid their Exalted presence. Manypeasants rationalize the fact that they could never affordto travel to the Imperial City by declaring that theydnever visit a place so full of the terrifying Dragon-Blooded.

    THE DYNASTYDuring her centuries-long reign, the Scarlet Empress

    had four husbands and dozens of lovers. The 11 houses ofthe modern Dynasty descend from the Empresss brood.Aside from House Nellens, each house associates itselfwith an elemental aspect of one of the Five Dragons.These houses constitute the aristocracy that governs theRealm. Once these Dragon-Blooded lineages lorded overtheir growing empire like enthroned gods.

    Although all the houses are rather decadent andgiven to back-stabbing and dirty deals, each has its owndistinct character. Houses are made up of individuals withtheir own priorities, and the houses are more alike thantheir members want to believe. Also, some Dynasts areproducts of marriages between members of two houses.From these unions, children can side with one house oranother, remain aloof or play them both off one anotherfor the Dynasts own gain.

    THE THOUSAND SCALESThe Dynastys Thousand Scales bureaucracy is one of

    the foundations of its rule. Each level of government is

    responsible for the one immediately below it. In theory,this chain of command keeps everyone looking out forcorruption on the level below them. The ThousandScales consists of the tax collectors, judges, surveyors,wardens, rangers and other functionaries who execute thedecrees of the Deliberative.


    The Order of the Immaculate Dragons the statereligion of the Realm is arguably the most importantpolitical faction in the Realm, more important than theDynasty and all the patricians. A simple accusation fromthe Mouth of Peace is enough to topple even the mostpowerful official or disgrace one of the Dragon-Blooded.The order does not use this power lightly, making it all themore formidable when it is deployed.

    Even if many peasants pay homage to spirits outsidethe strictures of the Realms only legal faith, the Immaculatescan still put the fear of oblivion into the hearts of the weak.Immaculates are regarded as deadly warriors and wise menbeyond all conventional limits of learning. Even less super-stitious folk hesitate when their actions might attract theattention of the order. When facing a Dragon-BloodedImmaculate, one faces a near-perfect warrior, a foremostscholar of the Realm and one of the most powerful Exaltedto have ever existed, all in one.

    THE THRESHOLDThere is a great deal of world between the roiling

    chaos of the Wyld and the urbane sophistication of theRealm. Although the scions of the Dynasty condemn theoutlying lands as barbaric and keep them as tributaries,these lands are, in truth, vibrant and dynamic. Unfetteredfrom the convoluted politics and the corruption of theDynasty, the Threshold embodies possibilities and newsolutions, innovation and a vibrant determination tosucceed against the odds.

    In the past, this meant imperial rule in everything butname. The Dragon-Blooded and their legions made theEmpress word law in almost all lands bordering the InnerSea. All paid homage to the Immaculates and acknowl-edged the spiritual superiority of the Dragon-Blooded,even though doing so was purely a matter of honoring theimperial cult in many places. But recently, the power ofthe Realm has crumbled, and more and more of the statesthat border the Inner Sea are reducing their tribute oreliminating it altogether.

    THE EASTTo the farthest east lies the Elemental Pole of Wood.

    As one proceeds further east, the forests become graduallythicker and stiller and more hostile. The trees grow taller,

    THE FIRST AGEWhat was the First Age like? All that mortal and

    Dragon-Blooded scholars have to go on are the ruinsleft standing and the texts that survived the turning ofthe Age. The Cult of the Illuminated sees it as a goldenage when the Solar Exalted brought the land enlight-enment and harmony. The Dragon-Blooded see itmerely as an older civilization than the one that hassucceeded it, a civilization that had time to matureand prosper. Most individuals, particularly those whofollow the teachings of the Immaculate Order, vener-ate it as a long-lost paradise that will be reclaimedwhen the world is set aright.

    Certainly, many of the Celestial Exalted whosurvived through the calamities remember the FirstAge, but few of them are willing to share their memo-ries. Some argue that the wisdom of the First Age is notgone, but merely, that the complex civilization thatmade the Age possible has passed away. Others con-tend that the world changed irrevocably when theGreat Contagion struck and that, even if the lore oflost First Age were reclaimed and put to use, it wouldmean little. So far, neither group is organized ordetermined enough to put its theories to the test.



    the beasts of the wood larger and fiercer, and the almost-sentient, almost-malicious air one sometimes feels in anunfamiliar forest grows ever stronger. Finally, progress isblocked by a seemingly unending wall of deadfalls,widowmakers and harsh terrain. It is said that if one goesfar enough east, the ground gives way, and the travelersees only an endless cathedral of trees, stretching up anddown, from zenith to nadir, a holy green perfection ofleaves and still air.

    The Near East was always the heartland of the OldRealm, with fertile soil, regular rains and abundant re-sources. It was heavily settled and the source of much ofthe Old Realms prosperity. Consequently, when theGreat Contagion and the subsequent incursions of theWyld and the Underworld occurred, it was one of theareas hardest hit. In a way, this was a blessing, at least forthe survivors. Even with much of it reduced to chaos-scarred ruins, the survivors had a vast trove of resources toscavenge from as they rebuilt their shattered world.

    Today, the East consists of city-states of various sorts,largely autocratic or democratic, with a fair handful ofbizarre governments in the mix. Most are built around theareas numerous rivers, and they serve as manufacturingcenters and redistribution points for local produce. As onegoes farther east, the cities give way to towns, and the townsgive way to logging camps and steadings. Despite thehospitable nature of the Near East, the Far East can be quitedangerous. There are a rather large number of shadowlandsin the area, and the woods often crawl with barbarians.

    The average inhabitant of the East has a brownishskin tone, ranging from light tan to an almost bark-likebrown in the Far East. Blond, red and brown are allcommon hair colors, and even red hair is typically straightand without body. The typical Easterner is tall, with evenwomen standing nearly six feet. Eastern families tend tobe matriarchies, centered around a female and successivegenerations of female offspring. Male children are raisedby their mothers brothers, and marriage is uncommonbut not unheard of.

    THE SCAVENGER LANDSAt the heart of the Near East is the River Province,

    the military and administrative center for the easternsections of the Old Realm. The population here wasdevastated during the Contagion, but the areas repu-tation for prosperity drew displaced persons from allover the plague-blasted lands. This influx of new bloodcreated an open, cosmopolitan society of immigrantseager to make their lives anew and create something fortheir children. It also attracted a large number ofentrepreneurs, would-be conquerors, spirits, embit-tered dissidents from the Realm, hermits and renegadetheoreticians. Together, this strange rabble created anew society over the top of, in the ruins of and built



    from the scraps of the Old Realm. Although theseScavenger Lands dont approach even the tawdry,remanufactured splendor of the modern Realm, theirinhabitants are lively and eager, willing to take risksand plot their own course. The more advanced andwarlike inhabitants, many of whom are wise in the waysof First Age artifacts, have consistently provided amajor resource in the restoration of the region tohabitability and in defense against the Realm. Accord-ingly, tinkers and wise men are held in high regard, andto have a son or daughter involved with scavenging ismuch the same as having a child take holy orders ofsome sort.

    Most of the Scavenger Lands consist of walled townsand cities and the farm lands immediately around them,surrounded by sparsely populated wilderness, connected bytrade routes and a common heritage of immigration andrestoration of the ruins that surround them. Inhabitants ofthe region value individual initiative and self-reliance, andits well they do, because powerful Essence flows make theregion attractive to the Deathlords and Fair Folk alike.Ironically, while most of the Threshold is extremely super-stitious, the Scavenger Lands verge on atheism. This doesntmean that they dont acknowledge the existence of thesupernatural, but that there is much practicality and littlereverence in their interactions with the world. You cannotlive at the crossroads of Creation without becoming jaded.Exalted, Fair Folk, spirits and other supernatural beings aretreated with the respect that such dangerous creaturesdeserve but, generally, not with an obsequious air.

    Inhabitants of the Scavenger Lands come in allshapes and colors, but many are of mixed stock, coffee-and-cream complexioned, with wavy peach or blackhair. Strong, aquiline noses are common in the Scaven-ger lands, as are relatively sharp features in general probably the result of a heritage of interaction with theFair Folk, much of it sexual. Marriage and family cus-toms vary wildly from household to household, and thematter is complex and routine enough that it is cultur-ally acceptable to find it funny.

    NEXUSAt the center of the River Province lies Nexus. With

    three-quarters of a million inhabitants, Nexus is one ofthe largest cities outside the Realm. Like most othermajor cities of the province, Nexus is built on the ruins ofa city of the Old Realm. Once the provincial capital, thecity of Hollow was decimated by the Contagion anddevastated by the Wyld incursions that followed. Thestreets were filled with bones and wreckage, and the citysthree great rivers choked with the masonry of countlessfallen towers. Because of its excellent location (andstrong possibilities for salvage), Hollow was one of the

    first cities of the area that people moved back into afterthe chaos of the Contagion.

    THE SOUTHTo the south is the Elemental Pole of Fire. As one

    travels farther south, the weather becomes hotter andhotter. Near the sea, it blends slowly into tropical forestin the east. Rain is frequent, and while rugged, the land isnot brutal or water-scoured. As one travels farther south,the rain becomes less frequent, and the olive trees andgrass give way to scrub and tumbleweeds. It is a land ofcacti, ice plants and yucca trees, where arroyos and wadiscut the landscape into a classic badland. The narrowcanyons are full of fallen trees piled up like jackstraws andboulders chocked snugly into place, a tribute to the forceof the flash floods that race through these narrow spaces.

    Still further south, rain ceases to fall at all. Mesas giveway to sand and stone outcroppings, and oases becomeincreasingly infrequent. The cloudless sky does nothingto hold the suns heat in, and blasting hot daytimetemperatures plummet to subfreezing lows until one ar-rives at the True South, where the sun provides only lightand the heat continues unabated day and night. None canreliably claim to have traveled to the uttermost south andreturned, and reports conflict as to what lies there. Somesay that it is a field of black glass with a never-setting sun,and others claim that it ends in a field of glowing redmagma beneath a black and starless expanse, while still athird school says that in the True South, there is nothingbut colorless fire.

    INHABITANTSAlong the northern coast, the inhabitants of the

    South gather in great cities, supported by a brutally op-pressed agricultural underclass. Although they are not aslarge and certainly not as splendid as the great cities of theRealm, at least three Southern cities (Gem, Paragon andChiaroscuro) have a million or more inhabitants. They,like almost all the cities of the South, are hereditaryautocracies, and they crawl with palace intrigues and secretpolice. As one travels farther to the south, the cities andtowns end abruptly at the edge of the badlands. Go furthersouth, and there are only nomadic tribes feuding andstealing from one another to subsist. What keeps thesenomads active is the harvest of the sands to the south. Justbeyond where the heat becomes constant, the sands give upa bounty of gems rubies and garnets, opals and topaz.

    Southerners are extremely superstitious, as a rule.They take great stock in portents and signs, and everyonecan read their own basic horoscope. Those who can affordto do so employ one or several astrologers to supplementtheir own efforts, but no Southerner in his right mindwouldnt draw up his own basic horoscope to work frombefore consulting an outsiders predictions. Likewise, most



    Southerners sacrifice daily to their familial patron spirit,the patron of the task theyre about to undertake, one orseveral spirits of good fortune, the spirit of their city and theghosts of their ancestors. The cities of the South are seen asdebased and decadent by those outside it, displaying all thecorruption, greed and lascivious behavior of Nexus withoutthe brutal opportunism and vibrancy that makes Nexus sodifferent. Those from the South simply see themselves ascivilized and enjoy the benefits thereof.

    The average Southerner is dark-skinned, with blond,black or red hair. Unlike Easterners, however, most South-erners hair has a great deal of body, though the blondestend toward less kink and more curl. People from theSouth typically dress in silk, if the wearers can afford it, orelse cotton. Only the poorest nomad wears wool, and it isconsidered an invitation to awful luck to wear leather most armor is metal and canvas. Silk, cotton and largequantities of tobacco and marijuana are produced do-mestically on the same latifundia that feed the cities, andthe export of these goods is the source of much of thecities prosperity.

    THE WESTTo the west lies the Elemental Pole of Water. As one

    travels outward, the islands are, at first, large and com-mon, then smaller and less frequent. Past a certain point,there are no more islands, only a horizon where the seaand sky come together. This horizon can be distinguishedonly at sunrise and sunset. During the day, it is as if onesails in a surfaceless ocean of blue and green, and at night,it is as if the sea is absent and the boat rocks gently as itsails among the stars. The ocean has no scent here becausethe smell of the sea is the smell of dead things rotting inseaside swamps, and it has no sound because the winds aregentle and the swells low. Even experienced seamen findit maddening to sail too far out past the far islands, and itis rarely done. After all, what is there to find, save moreocean, stretching out until the end of time?

    INHABITANTSThe West is the least populous of the directions.

    There is simply less space for human beings to live. Thosemen who do dwell here on the Western Oceans countlessislands and archipelagos are seafarers and shipbuilders.There is little arable land, making vegetables other thancultivated kelp a luxury. Subsistence food consists ofclams, lobster, small fry anything that lives close toshore. Those who are not merchants or pirates or sailorsof some sort are fishermen or shipwrights. A child whocannot sail a boat by the age of six is a child misraised.

    Fair Folk and water spirits are forever a menace to thecities of the West, picking and choosing where and whento land. On some islands, the problem with siren blan-dishments is so severe that it is traditional to artificially

    deafen unwanted children placed into the public trust bypuncturing their eardrums repeatedly. These orphans areset to patrolling the shore when they come of age, to huntmermaids who creep close to shore. Most eventuallysuccumb to the seductions of the ladies of the deep or arekilled by vengeful husbands, but its better than drowningat birth.

    The average Westerner is bronze-skinned, with thosewho dwell in the Far West or Southwest having an almostgolden skin tone. Those from the Central West tendtoward hair colors in sea shades green, blue, dark gray.Those in the Southwest tend toward darker shades, pri-marily purple and black. Westerners dress in sturdy clothes,ankle-length dresses, jerkins and shawls for the womenand canvas pants, thick jerkins and waterproof ankle-length canvas jackets for the men. Both sexes wear woolpullover caps when the weather is up, and boots fromankle to knee length are the standard footgear.

    THE NORTHTo the north is the Elemental Pole of Air. Near the

    shores of the Inner Sea, the climate is chilly grasslands andpine scrub. But as one goes farther north, the cold becomesincreasingly bitter, and the wind grows in strength, untilthe taiga stops and the tundra begins. Winters here are longand cruel, and the short summer barely gives the surface ofthe tundra time to thaw before the ice closes in again. Evenin the summer, this is a frigid and windy land, and pelting,freezing rain lashes the herds of elk, mammoth and reindeerthan eke out a marginal existence from the bleak land-scape. Feeding on the herd animals are omen dog packs,and at times, it seems as if the natural sound of the northernwinter night is the low, endless sound of lupine baying.

    The tundra eventually turns to a permanently frozenwaste that runs to the foothills of the northern moun-tains. It is said that in the farthest north, past themountains divide, there is naught but a great gray ex-panse of snow and frigid winds. Certainly, this is a hardland, by far the most brutal of the four directions.

    INHABITANTSThe North is populated, yet not so densely as the

    South or East. A large number of petty kingdoms and city-states fringe the coastlines of the Inner Sea and the morenortherly White Sea. In the south, most are tributaries orpuppets of the Realm, with the cities becoming progres-sively more independent as one travels northward.

    Northerners primarily make offerings to the ances-tor cult and to the dark spirits of snow and frost andhunger. Herders and hunters typically offer sacrifices tothe herd animal spirits and to the spirits of the hunt,respectively, but the vast majority of devotions go to theghosts of the departed. This ancestor worship, combinedwith the miserable conditions of Northern existence



    and the extreme weakness of the Shroud between theliving and the dead in this place where life barely existsat all, makes the natives easy prey for the Deathlords.There are many shadowlands in the North, particularlyin the steppes and bogs where the Wyld tribesmen dwell.At least two Deathlords the Bishop of the Chalce-dony Thurible and the Lover Clad in the Raiment ofTears dwell in that region with their deathknights,and both enjoy large followings among the living.

    Northerners dress in sturdy clothes, usually leatherwith the fur left on it and turned inward for insulation.Footgear usually consists of wool or felt puttees and sandalsworn under a fur-lined, waterproof overboot. Mittens arecommon, as are large poncho-like parkas woven loosely outof thick yarn and covered with a windproof leather layer.Long wool caps, turbans and even longer scarves are worn,and skis are common as well.

    THE WYLDThe primal energies of creation still run strong and

    deep during the current age. In most places, the staticfabric of reality is only a thin film atop the endlesspotential of unformed chaos. During the Old Realm, theworld was stable, but after the Great Contagion, it beganto fray at the edges and in the thin spots. Tiny clustersof survivors were not enough to remember the shape ofthe world, and the Fair Folk opened the gates at the edge

    of Creation and caused great spirit-storms of mischanceand unchained possibility to enter the world throughthem. The effect was devastating. Vast swaths of Cre-ation simply disappeared, and in the places where thebarbarians and Fair Folk rode were sewn madness anddiscord, devastating not only the inhabitants, but twist-ing the nature of reality itself.

    WYLD PLACESFor centuries, there have been places where the sky

    swims with ever-changing colors and the ground crawlswith snow, with ash, with writhing flesh or with carnivo-rous steel ants. Some occur naturally, but most are theremains of places where the Wyld claimed an ancientManse or Demesne. These places shrink with the passageof centuries, but there are still large areas of the Thresholdwhere the rules of Creation are enforced loosely, if theyhave any jurisdiction at all. The border marches of suchplaces tend to resemble the areas in which they occur,save that they are rife with prodigies crystal flowers,birds of many colors, briars that bleed wine instead of sap.As one travels deeper, the landscape quavers and shifts asif it were hallucinatory, and the prodigies grow moremarvelous and fell. One might find dandelions whoseseeds are small warriors in mail, carnivorous shadows andoak trees whose galls are full of diamonds so poisonousthat a single whiff from them will kill a man.



    hatred has allowed them to master the power of theUnderworld itself.

    Deathlords vary wildly in appearance, having re-shaped themselves to match their self-images and theimages that they wish to project. Some are alabasterangels, wrapped in wings of sobbing knife-edged steel,with diadems of pale white fire and glittering ruby orbsand scepters of hungry yellow gold upon their belts.Others are no longer anything resembling human, havingmade the descent into the dark hallways under the land ofthe dead. These Deathlords are among the more person-ally powerful of their kind. Although they command thevery elements of the Underworld and walk between lifeand death as if it were a simple doorway, these creaturesno longer think as men think or feel as men feel. Theireyes behold an infinity of darkness, and their hearts knowonly the leaping exaltation of silence.

    The Deathlords fight amongst themselves incessantly,constantly warring to advance themselves and their plansor for the sake of ego or simply for the love of strife.Although they command great forces, they have no com-mon center. Each wishes to lash out at the world around herin her own personal fashion to recompense it for her death.The result is 100 little kingdoms of bone and steel and nota military juggernaut whose sole purpose is to crush theliving and reunite all things across the Shroud.

    THE FAIR FOLKThese malevolent creatures spring from the Wyld,

    where chaos mixes and gives rise to something that mightgenerously be described as life. Although they are similarin appearance to mortals, their appearance is their onlysimilarity. The faerie are made half from the mad passionof dreams and half from the primal energies of the Wyld,and they know neither morals nor fear. They hurl them-selves into their timeless existences without hesitation orregret, and there is nothing in Creation that can deter onefrom its wrath or love.

    The most powerful of the Fair Folk dwell beyond theedges of Creation, eschewing shape and form to dwell inthe primal chaos that is their natural home. Only theoutcasts, refugees and weak among them put on shape andenter the world of men.

    Most Fair Folk who dwell in our world live in Wyldregions or else on the very edges of Creation. The naturalalchemy that permits their existence is unstable withouta high level of ambient Essence, and if deprived of it, theywill soon fade into dust and scraps of memory. But Essenceis not the only requirement for their survival. Just asnatural predators must eat other creatures to survive, sothe Fair Folk must consume dreams to continue theirexistence. Some are adept at snatching dreams fromsleeping mortals or at feeding from the ambient imagina-tion released during the creative process.

    WYLD BARBARIANSAt the borders of Creation, where the line between

    reality and chaos shifts with the cycles of the moon,there dwell strange and twisted men. These inhabitantsof the fringes of Creation are warped by the power of theWyld. Some tribes exhibit shocking deformities gi-gantism, dwarfism, more or fewer limbs or sense organsthan normal for the human form and other similarlyradical mutations.

    Like most inhabitants of the Threshold, the tribes ofthe Wyld worship spirits. Most barbarian communitieshave shamans who use a combination of folk magic,ecstatic meditations in Wyld areas and offerings of bloodand edible plants to converse with the spirits. As a rule,Wyld barbarians hold spirits in extreme reverence. Inmany of the areas that the barbarians inhabit, spirits mayenter the material world at will. Indeed, many barbariantribes are led by spirits of some sort.

    Although each barbarian tribe is unique, some areexemplary of their type or particularly numerous. Theseare described later, but it should be kept in mind that thelist provided is by no means exhaustive.

    SHADOWLANDSThe land of the dead lies perilously near that of the

    living, and in places where the boundaries have been crossedand recrossed, the dividing line often frays into nonexist-ence. In these places, known as shadowlands, the Underworldthrusts through, and the dead walk among the living. Duringthe daylight hours, those who cross the borders of theseplaces traveling outward find themselves in the lands of theliving. Those who leave them during the night find them-selves traveling farther into the Underworld.

    There is no place that the Underworld does not go,nowhere that death cannot touch. But despite theirendless variety, there are certain common traits to theplaces where the dead walk among the living. The ab-sence of animal life, the terrible nightmares, the tendencyof those who live on the edges of such places to die early all are common to every shadowland. But there areother, less obvious signs as well. Storms in these areas areoften of unusual strength, the raindrops sometimes mixedwith blood or ash or bone or, sometimes, quicksilver.This, the Deathlords say, is the rotting flesh of dead gods,shed from their bodies as they lie unquiet in their tombs.

    DEATHLORDSMost shadowlands are the products of little more

    than happenstance. The wall between life and death isnew and fragile, and too many sudden deaths or a spate ofhauntings is all that it takes to rend the Shroud deeplyenough that event follows on event and tears a trueopening. Yet, at the heart of the greatest shadowlands liethe Manses of the Deathlords, ancient ghosts whose



    More commonly, the faerie feed on captive prey.Through their sorceries and their vast beauty, they ravishthe souls of their victims, shearing away love and dreamsand hope with a surgeons skill and taking it all intothemselves. The shells that survive this treatment areforever devoid of dreams and desires, and they knowneither grief nor hope. The faerie often trade these husksto the Guild in exchange for fresh slaves. The Guild, inturn, sells the husks for use in mining or construction,where the work is hard and risky but simple.

    The Fair Folk are vulnerable to the bite of unalloyediron, and they fear and hate those who wield it. Althoughthey are adept liars, they are unable to break their swornword, and a promise given is a promise kept. Similarly,although they are often master shapeshifters, the faerie dohave a true form, which they must assume when someonespeaks their true and secret name. To know a Fair Onesname is to be proof against her magic, and she will plotand scheme endlessly to destroy those who can use hername against her and to obliterate the name from memory.

    CHARACTER CREATIONNow that youve learned the basics of the world of

    Exalted, its time to generate your own Exalted character.Creating a character is easy, and it involves just a fewsimple choices. It is a good idea to have a general conceptof what you want your character to be like (Was he a farmboy who always wanted to grow up to be a hero, or a

    spoiled child of the middle class? Is she a hard-bittenvagabond or an introspective scholar?). You can alsochoose to create a concept as you go.

    The next step is selecting your characters caste the role he fulfills in Exalted society. All characters in themain Exalted book are Solar Exalted, but there are fivesubgroups of which you can be part. Your characters castehelps define what she is best at, and can also help you geta grasp on your characters personality. For example, if youwant to create a veteran mercenary who spent much of hislife drifting from war to war, a Dawn Caste characterwould be a logical choice.

    Once youve selected a caste, write down the listedAnima Effect for the caste and mark your in-caste Trait byputting an x in the checkbox beside it. Then, look at thecharacter sheet and decide another Trait that suits yourcharacter. Mark that one with an x too. Those are yourFavored Traits.

    Next, you get to decide your characters Trait levels.Characters have five Traits in all, each of which repre-sents one general area of endeavor. Those areas includeFighting, Magnetism, Scholarship, Stealth and Embassy.Each represents your ability in that field.

    To determine your Traits, rank them from 1 to 5; 5 isthe best, 1 is the worst. (Each number may only beassigned to one Trait you cant give your character a 4in everything!) So, if you assign Fighting 5, Magnetism 3,Scholarship 4, Stealth 1 and Embassy 2, your character is



    an excellent warrior and scholar, fairly enjoyable to bearound, not very well traveled and very loud and clumsy.

    After youre done assigning the numbers, add one toeach of your Favored Traits. This represents the preter-natural skill youve developed in those areas as an Exalt. Itstempting to assign your 4 and 5 to your Favored Traits, butyou should think twice. Your magical powers will make youvery good at your Favored Trait, unless its a 1. It can pay tohave a high value in a Trait that isnt Favored, in order tomake your character better at different things.

    Finally, every character starts with 10 Essence. Thisrating represents your reserve of magical power, whichyou expend to perform superhuman feats with yourFavored Traits.

    With that, youre ready for the finishing touches.What is your characters name? How does she dress? Whatwas his Exaltation like was he pursued by the WyldHunt? Does she still have mortal friends? Does he have acult of mortals who venerate him as a godling? Whatnotable personality traits does he have? Once youve comeup with these details, your character is ready for play.

    Details about Traits and your characters magicalabilities can be found on the following pages.

    CASTEIn the long-vanished First Age, the different Solar

    Exalted fulfilled differing roles in the government. Somewere mighty generals, while others were spies and assas-sins, sorcerers, diplomats or leaders. Although thatgovernment is long gone, the divine energy within eachSolar still remains predisposed toward certain deeds.

    DAWN CASTEAs the Unconquered Sun rises in the morning sky, its

    light flares forth, burning away the darkness and turning thesky red as if the horizon was soaked with the blood oflights enemies. Thus do the warriors of the Dawn Castestrike against the minions of darkness, staining the groundcrimson with the blood of all who dare to stand against them.

    Members of the Dawn Caste are chosen from amongthose who have struggled to master the arts of war andcombat. Master swordsmen and archers only scratch thesurface of this caste. Gang leaders who excel at urbanwarfare, hulking brutes who dominate gladiator arenas,philosopher-monks who seek enlightenment through

    the martial arts, swordsmiths of legendary skill, hot-headed youths with the courage to fight for what theybelieve in; all these and more are found among theChildren of the Dawn.

    Anima Effects: By spending 1 point of Essence, thecharacter can appear huge and terrifying for the remain-der of the scene. Creatures attempting to face the Exaltedare unable to look directly at the character or stronglyoppose him, subtracting 1 die from all attempts to attackthe character. Golems and automata, demons and theundead and other creatures that do not know fear cannotbe affected by this power.

    Caste Trait: Members of the Dawn Caste excel in allforms of combat, armed and otherwise, and they areFavored in the Fighting Trait.

    Concepts: Mercenary prince, city guardsman, warrior-scholar, grizzled veteran, daring young farm boy, famous pitfighter, heroic bandit, barbarian raider, swordsmith

    Quote: I am not a wise man, but I am a strong one, andI know right from wrong. Surrender, and I will see that youare judged fairly. Resist, and I will end your tyranny withyour life.

    CHARACTER CREATION QUICK CHART Choose Caste: Write down the characters anima power and mark his in-caste Trait as Favored. Choose Favored Trait: Mark another Trait as Favored. Choose Traits: Rank the characters Fighting, Magnetism, Scholarship, Stealth and Embassy from 1 to 5;

    5 is the best, 1 is the worst. Increase Favored Traits: Add one to both of your characters Favored Traits, even if this raises the Trait to 6. Give your character a name, and make up some details about her appearance, personality, mannerisms and

    other features that will help you roleplay her.



    ZENITH CASTEAs the Unconquered Sun reaches its height amid the

    noonday sky, its light shines down, banishing shadows,blazing with power and revealing the Suns immeasurablemight for all to see. And so do the Zenith Caste crusade tobanish the shadows of doubt and confusion, infusing themasses with faith and revealing its power the channeledstrength of the Unconquered Sun to all those around it.

    Exalted of the Zenith Caste are chosen from thosewho thirst for righteousness and justice, as well as fromamong those who are natural leaders of men or who arewilling to endure great hardship in the name of what theybelieve in. All members of this caste have been granted avision of the Unconquered Sun, and this vision helps firetheir passion and faith to new heights. No matter whatthe Zenith Solar fights for, he fights for it with every fiberof his being, never quitting no matter what.

    Anima Effects: The Zenith Caste is empowered withthe touch of the Sun himself. With but a touch, they canburn the bodies of the fallen, sending the smoke (andsoul) to Heaven and preventing the body from rising afterdeath as a zombie or hungry ghost.

    They can also strike down demons, the undead andother creatures of darkness. As her action for a turn, aZenith Exalted may spend a point of Essence. The playerthen rolls her characters Magnetism. For every success,the character does one health level of damage, whichcannot be soaked.

    As fierce enemies of darkness, the Zenith Exaltedmay spend a point of Essence and cause their anima toflare. The effect is the same as the anima flare of the DawnExalted, but it only applies to demons, ghosts and othersuch unclean creatures.

    Caste Abilities: Members of the Zenith Caste excelat surviving great hardships, both physical and mental.They also possess amazing skills of persuasion and inspi-ration. They are favored in the Magnetism Trait.

    Concepts: Former priest or shaman of another god,brilliant astrologer, two-fisted laborer, wandering tinker,desert hermit, physician, peasant rebel, tax collector,pirate, old man on the mountain, runaway slave

    Quote: The stars and the prophets have long foretolda day when the forces of righteousness would come van-quish that which is wicked. I have come in from thewilderness to tell you that time is now at hand.

    TWILIGHT CASTEAs the Unconquered Sun slips below the horizon, its

    light retreats. The shadows grow long as dedicated schol-ars and craftsmen light their candles and lanterns, seekingto continue their work into the night. And so, theTwilight Caste seek to hold back the night by bringingforth the light of learning and knowledge and banishingthe darkness of ignorance.

    Members of the Twilight Caste are chosen fromamong those who apply their skills and knowledge tocreate solid, lasting results. Few are found among theirnumbers who were naught but withered scholars, pouringthe years of their life into the pages of dusty tomes. Theway of the Arrows of Heaven is the way of the scavenger,



    the engineer, the healer, the detective, the craftsman andthe warrior-wizard. Each possesses not just a thirst forknowledge, but a burning desire to use it. When knowl-edge is needed, the Twilight Caste leads the way.

    Anima Effects: Solar Exalted of the Twilight Castemay channel Essence through their anima as a last-ditchprotective act. If a Twilight Exalted will lose health levelsto an attack, then she may spend a point of her Essence tostrengthen her Anima. The character may spend onepoint of Essence to reduce the damage she suffers from anattack by two health levels. This is done after soak isapplied, and it can totally negate damage from an attack.

    Caste Abilities: Members of the Twilight Caste excelin the search for knowledge and in the application of thatknowledge. They are Favored in the Scholarship Trait.

    Concepts: Elderly scholar, warrior-sage, cunningcourtier, slave on the run, destitute student, child prodigy,ambitious courtesan, educated merchant, village wisewoman, cunning tailor, traveling healer, town constable,optimistic young scavenger, blacksmith

    Quote: You would enslave these people with igno-rance and keep their minds small and their lives miserablein order to fatten your own belly. I cannot abide suchwickedness. I come bearing the light of learning for allwho wish to see.

    NIGHT CASTEWhen the Unconquered Sun descends below the

    horizon to slumber until the next dawn, the world isshrouded in darkness and secrecy. It is the time of thosebeings conspirators, criminals and wicked spirits that cannot survive the bright light of truth. The NightCaste fights these enemies on their own turf and walks ina world of secrecy and lies.

    Members of the Night Caste are chosen from those whoexcel in stealth and guile, and they can formulate cleversolutions to difficult problems. Thieves and assassins arechosen but also secretive scholars, clever city constables,master woodsmen, sly courtesans, fast-talking merchantsand devious nobles. Any who favor the use of cunning, witand skill over raw power may be Exalted into this caste.

    Anima Effects: The Hidden Suns may mute theiranimas, allowing them to exert their powers without thedisplay of power. When a Night Caste Solar expendsEssence, she may spend another point of Essence to preventthe expenditure from causing her anima banner to flare.

    The character may also extend her muted anima like animperceptible veil around her. Doing so costs 1 point ofEssence to evoke, and it mutes the senses of those attemptingto perceive the Night Caste. Shadows are darker, soundsmuffled, and scent and footprints are both much lighter thannormal. In game-mechanic terms, subtract one success fromall Stealth rolls attempting to spot or follow a character, orfrom Magnetism rolls to track him in the wilderness.

    Caste Abilities: Members of the Night Caste excel atnoticing what others miss and in going places where theyare not wanted. They are Favored in the Stealth Trait.

    Concepts: Troubleshooter for hire, bountyhunter, neglected youngest sister, escaped fugitive,king of thieves, noblemans mistress, gang leader,crafty merchant, highwayman

    Quote: Hide your wickedness behind closed doors,skulk beneath the earth, even conspire in the land of deadif you wish it will avail you not. You may conceal yourevil from the light of the Unconquered Sun, but youcannot evade his eyes.

    ECLIPSE CASTEWhen the sun and the moon are in perfect align-

    ment, the result is a spectacular solar eclipse. Visible fromevery corner of the world, it is a most auspicious event.The Golden Lord and the Silver Lady become one acrown of light flares out, and the day dims enough that theFive Maidens are visible. All of Heaven can be seen,displaying the unity and harmony of the natural order. Sothe Eclipse Caste brings unity and order to the people ofthe world. It members touch all corners of society, cross-ing boundaries and bringing people together.

    When the Solars returned, the world witnessed thefirst solar eclipse since the Terrestrial Exalted took power.Now, the Eclipse Caste has begun the difficult process ofreunifying the world. With diplomacy and trade routes,the Crowned Suns forge links between distant people andplaces, binding groups together into something greaterthan the sum of the parts.

    Members of the Eclipse Caste are chosen from thosewho excel at social interaction. Unlike the Zenith Caste,which is a shining beacon for all to see, the Crowned Sunswork quietly. They are socialites who move with effortlessgrace, influencing the opinions of others. They are theshamans who make pacts between men and spirits and the



    censors who keep governments functioning honestly. Theyare the true masters of communication and organization.

    Anima Effects: When an Eclipse Caste Solar is party orwitness to an oath, he may use his anima to sanctify it. TheExalted spends a point of Essence to sanctify the oath, andthereafter those who break it will never profit from theoathbreaking. The Exalted need not be alive when the cursetakes effect he sanctifies the oath, but Heaven enforces it.

    Also, Eclipses are protected by ancient pacts with thespirit world, the demon princes and the Fair Folk. Eclipses andtheir companions who are on legitimate business with thosebeings may not be attacked without just cause (although theymay be goaded into attacking and nullifying the oaths), andsuch creatures must honor the rules of hospitality.

    Caste Abilities: Members of the Eclipse Caste excelin all forms of communication, organization and travel.They are Favored in the Embassy Trait.

    Concepts: Elderly society matron, ambitious youngnoble, professional diplomat, trade intermediary, villageshaman, careful spy, ambitious courtier, professional mes-senger, adventurous sailor, army quartermaster

    Quote: I negotiate in good faith, yet you respond withtreachery. Sadly for you, I have learned to anticipate suchduplicity. Even if you survive the wrath of my Circlemates,you must answer to Heaven as well.

    TRAITSThe power and skill of an Exalted (or of any charac-

    ter) are measured by her Traits. An Exalted has fiveTraitsthat represent Abilities possessed by all humans to someextent. These fiveTraits are:

    Fighting: This Trait measures an Exalteds ability inall forms of combat armed and unarmed hand-to-handcombat, thrown weapons and archery. This Trait is usedto resolve all tasks involving fighting.

    Magnetism: This Trait measures an Exalteds per-sonal appeal and ability to lead. It is used to resolve alltasks involving leading people or impressing single indi-viduals. It also includes inner strength, and governs thecharacters resistance to poison, disease and fatigue, aswell as her ability to survive in the wilderness.

    Scholarship: This Trait measures an Exalteds degree oflearning, her ability to make and build things, her commandof languages and also her occult knowledge. Scholarship isused to resolve all tasks concerned with trying to figuresomething out, speak another language or perform magic.

    Stealth: This Trait measures an Exalteds innate crimi-nal instincts. It is used to resolve all tasks involving stealingthings, sneaking, picking locks and so forth. It is also ameasure of the characters alertness, and if you must checkto see if a character noticed something or someone, roll herStealth. Stealth also governs the characters innate ath-letic potential, and it is used when the character is attemptingto perform an acrobatic feat or dodge an attack.

    Embassy: This Trait represents the Exalteds abilityto understand and manipulate social situations. Use it toresolve any task in which the character is attempting tomanipulate or understand a group or society. Embassy alsorepresents a characters ability to travel safely, and it isused to resolve any attempts to ride horses or sail ships.

    Finally, all Exalted have a trait they share calledEssence. All Exalted start with 10 points of Essence.

    Essence: Command of Essence is the ability of anExalted to change reality. Most Exalted channel theirEssence through their other Traits to enhance their abili-ties to superhuman levels. By spending a point of Essence,an Exalted may double her Trait rating for a single action.

    If an Exalted spends Essence, it returns slowly, as hernatural reserves of strength return. An Exalted regainsone point of Essence for every hour spent working, march-ing or otherwise engaged in strenuous activity. She regainstwo points of Essence for every hour spent walking casu-ally, engaged in enjoyable conversation or otherwiserelaxing. She regains four points of Essence for every hourspent sleeping, relaxing in a sauna or bath, receiving amassage or otherwise recovering her power.

    THE ANIMA BANNERAll Exalted have an anima, an aura of power that

    surrounds them. Normally, this aura is so faint that it isimperceptible to normal human senses, but when the Ex-alted spends points of Essence, the anima intensifies to forma so-called banner. With the exceptions of the 1 and 5entries, the anima banner fades at the rate of one table entryper scene, or per 10 to 15 minutes if the scenes are very long.



    Points of Essence Spent Effect1 The characters Caste Mark glitters and is

    visible from certain angles. Anyone seeing the Exalted may make aStealth roll to notice the Caste Mark. The character can use theStealth Trait normally to hide. This effect can persist for as long asan hour after the character has ceased to burn Essence.

    2 The characters Caste Mark burns and willshine through anything placed over it. It is impossible to mistake thecharacter for anything but what she is. All Stealth rolls are at +2difficulty, above and beyond any other modifiers.

    3 The character is surrounded by a coruscantaura bright enough to read by, and his Caste Mark is a burninggolden brand on his forehead. Stealth is impossible.

    4 The character is engulfed in a brilliant bon-fire of Essence, which burns from his feet to at least a foot abovethe characters head. Objects that come in contact with the auramay be left bleached or faded, as if they had been exposed to the sunfor many days. The character is visible for miles. The light is brightand steady enough to read by out to a spearcasts distance. Thecharacters Caste Mark will remain etched in the vision of anyonewho sees it for minutes afterward.

    5+ The character is surmounted or surroundedby a burning image totemic to his person a warrior might besurrounded by a great golden bull, a Twilight Caste magician by anincredibly elaborate mandala, and so on. This effect fades duringany turn the character does not spend Essence, but it leaps backinto existence from the solar bonfire of the characters anima if thecharacter again spends a point of Essence.

    TRAIT RATINGSTraits are rated from 1 to 4; a rating of 1 indicates a

    mediocre level of ability, while a rating of 4 indicates a Traitat the absolute peak level of human ability (an Olympicathlete, a genius, a great statesman, or so forth). It is possibleto have a zero in a Trait, reflecting a crippled or decrepitcharacter, but players characters never start out with zeros inany Trait. It is also possible for Exalted to attain superhumanscores all Exalted characters start out with a 5 in one Trait,and that can be raised to 6 if it is in a Favored Trait.

    Most humans possess ratings of 1 or 2 in all Traits.However, beginning Exalted are operating at the pin-nacle of human ability and beyond it. Various monstersand enemies, created by the Storyteller, can also havevery high traits. A pack of mutated barbarians might haveTraits ranging from 1 to 3, whereas a huge 12-leggeddemonic monstrosity with serpent-heads for legs mighthave Traits of 5 or even more.

    Trait Ratings0 Enfeebled1 Mediocre2 Pretty good3 Really good4 Human perfection

    5+ Superhuman (supernatural beings only)

    HEALTH AND INJURYExalted characters have seven health levels, repre-

    senting various stages of wounding. They are -0, -0, -0,-1, -1, -3 and Incapacitated. The minus signs followed bya number indicate the degree of impairment from pain

    and injury that the injury causes the character, and it is apenalty applied to all Trait rolls.

    As wounds accumulate, check off the wound boxeson the character sheet, starting with the first -0 box andgoing down from there. When all health levels are gone,the character falls unconscious and begins to die. Acharacter takes the largest penalty listed beside any healthlevel he has suffered, so a character who had suffered three-0 health levels in damage and two -1 health levels indamage would have a penalty of -1 to all Traits.

    DEATH AND HEALINGA character who has suffered health levels of damage

    heals them back slowly. For every day of relaxation and rest,an Exalt heals back one health level. This is not true fornormal mortals for the average mortal in the world ofExalted, a blow from a sword is a crippling injury that will takeweeks or months to heal, and which may well lead to a lethalinfection. However, the Exalted were created for war, andtheir bodies heal quickly, and are all but immune to infection.

    When a character takes a health level of damagebeyond Incapacitated, she falls unconscious and dies. Aslain character is out of the game forever. The player mustcreate a new character.

    RULESMost of the action in Exalted is determined by the

    players and Storyteller, but we provide a few rules to helparbitrate complex situations.

    This system uses six-sided dice, which are availablein supermarkets and toy stores. You might already havesome from a board game like Risk. When a player decidesthat his character is going to attempt an action for whichthe outcome is in doubt (trying to impress a prince,swinging her sword at an enemy, etc.), the Storytellerdecides which Trait is most relevant.

    Storyteller assigns a difficulty. This is usually 1, but itcan go as high as five for all but impossible tasks (likerunning across several hundred yards of water on sheerspeed). The player then rolls a number of dice equal to thecharacters rating in the Trait. Every one of the dice thatrolls a 4 or 5 is called a success. If a die comes up 6, it countsas two successes. If the character rolls a number of suc-cesses equal to or greater than the difficulty of the task,the action succeeds. If not, the action fails.

    AUTOMATIC TASKS VERSUS DICE ROLLSMost tasks are automatic. If Alia says, My character

    Turquoise Nova runs up the steps and through the door!no roll is necessary. It happens automatically. Even thoughtheres a chance of botching routine actions (like slippingon wet stone steps or being thrown from a horse that panicsfor no reason), you dont have to roll for everyday events.Nobody wants to play a game about a hero who cant get outof the house without worrying about breaking his neck.



    However, if Turquoise Nova were trying to run upthe stairway with a leg on the wall to either side so shedidnt touch the individual steps, or if she were duckingbehind a door as protection from a hail of arrows, thendice rolling would be necessary. Dice rolling only beginswhen the action becomes dramatic.

    Mask runs. The Storyteller describes the street scenethats flashing by as Black Mask runs, and he decides tothrow an obstacle at Will. He tells him that the streetBlack Mask is running up to is blocked by a parade of theChurch of Dace warrior-cult.

    Will decides that Black Mask will try to leap over theparade so that the assassins will have to try to plowthrough a bunch of militant cultists to follow him. TheStoryteller decides that since this is athletics, its a Stealthfeat Black Mask is already running, but the cultists arecarrying banners and waving placards in support of thedemigod they worship. Black Mask has a Stealth score of6, and Will decides to spend Essence, because he wants itto work, and because leaping into the middle of a bunchof well-armed fanatics is probably a bad idea. Therefore,he has a total of 12 dice to roll. He rolls a 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 3,4, 4, 5, 6, 6, 6, for a total of 9 successes!

    This is an incredible, godlike result. The Storytellerdecides that Black Mask sails over the procession in a flashof golden light, and is taken as a divine potent by the cultists.When the assassins arrive and attempt to plow through theprocession, theyll find the members of the Church to bequite eager to strike out against anything they perceive as evil like a pair of obvious toughs with poisoned knives.

    CONTESTSSometimes, a character will be in conflict with an-

    other person, Exalted or other rival, not simply a situation.Such events are known as contests. To resolve a contest,each player rolls, and the character with the most successeswins. The Traits rolled by the players may be the same, orthey may be different, depending on the situation. Thecontestant who scores the most successes wins. Ties reroll.

    Example: Simon Whitecrown (Magnetism 4) is at-tempting to stare down a rebellious courtier (Magnetism2). Simons player rolls four dice and scores 1, 2, 4, and 5 two successes. The Storyteller rolls two dice for thecourtier and scores 2 and 5 one success. Simon wins the courtier grudgingly does his job.

    DRAMAThe life of an Exalt is fraught with danger and

    suspense. The following section looks at some situationsthat will likely arise over the course of an evenings play,as well as some rules to handle them.

    TIMEExalted uses a fairly loose system of keeping track of

    time. Although the Storyteller can certainly keep track ofthe hours and days as they pass, game time is usuallymeasured in terms of turns, scenes and stories.

    Turn: A turn lasts about three seconds. It is usedwhen adjudicating dramatic situations involving split-second decisions and actions, such as combat. In one turn,each character can take one action.

    DIFFICULTIESDifficulties range between 1 and 5. When in doubt,

    a difficulty is always 1.Difficulty Task

    1 Normal (climbing a fieldstone wall, racing throughthe woods on horseback)

    2 Hard (climbing a sheer stone wall, racing throughthe woods on horseback at night)

    3 Extremely Hard (Walking silently when covered inbells, racing through the woods on horsebackblindfolded)

    4 Almost Impossible (lifting a millston