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Return to Exalted 3E: What We Know


Q: To what degree will the old power relationships between Exalts hold in the new edition? (Totentanz)
A: Solars on top, DBs down on the bottom, less of a gap between Celestials than in 2e. (Holden)

Q: Given that I enjoy Exalted as a fairly unique system where the power relationships are disparate, will I enjoy what you have so far? (Totentanz)
A: Oh very yes. (Holden)

Q: And how long will it take for typical starting Solars until the Dragon-Blooded are no longer a viable threat? (Jürgen Hubert)
A: Never. (Holden)


We don't use tiering as internal terminology, and we don't recommend you do, either, because it will just make you confused and angry when a Liminal beats a Lunar one day and gets beaten by a Dragon-Blooded the day after.


Just because we don't consider rigid power tiers -- like, that word, specifically, "tiers," implying rigid categorization where each splat exists below some splats and above others, and this applies across all their competencies -- to be a useful lense through which to examine the way power stratification works across multiple Exalt types anymore, doesn't mean Solars and DBs are going to be balanced now such that the setting history makes no sense.

Q: (Starmage21)

I didnt mean to imply that it was the only outcome, just a likely one the more things are flattened. As long as there is a disparity AT ALL, you will have the classification of the various exalts in terms of who is best at what by those with the mindsets to care. It WILL happen, it happens to every single game, and it will happen regardless of any overlaps in the rankings of the exalts wether you call them tiers or not. A dragonblood who cannot beat a solar 51% of the time or more will be ranked as less than a solar.

My point is, you can blur the distinctions, but try as you might, people are still going to do their best to figure out which one is objectively better and then call that one the alpha tier.

What should probably be decided is who should be best at what ahead of time so we dont lose track and create unwanted power creep.

A: (Stephenls)

I think if you take a look at what Holden has said about power tiers, it's less along the lines of "We are abolishing the power tiers" and more along the lines of "We don't think that's good terminology, we don't use it, and we don't think you should use it."

So, yes, we understand people are going to try to sort Exalts into powers tiers. What we are doing is asking that they stop. We recognize that many of them won't! That doesn't mean we're going to stop asking people to stop.

Also, it means that you're going to keep running into situations that inspire forum posts like "The Solars generally seem to occupy a tier well above the Dragon-Blooded in power, and yet Dragon-Blooded Charm X doesn't behave in a way consistent with this. What gives?" And our answers are going to be "What did we tell you about sorting Exalted into tiers and then expecting that to predict the appropriate power level of all Charms?"

Q: We didn't want to acknowledge that one of the things you have to accept when you play a Lunar, Sidereal, or Dragon-Blood is that you are not a Solar. We still don't, because we now have authors making comments about wanting to not have tiers. A fantasy game wherein you play the chosen champions of the mightiest of the gods has become a game where you play the main character of your favorite anime. (Corolinth)
A: No tiers =/= Solars = Lunars = Dragon-Blooded et al.
No tiers = made possible by putting the focus back on Creation and off of Malfeas's level 99 nutsack. (John Mørke)

Q: [insane speculation]
Also, one "really badass Dawn" (not from chargen, and not any Dawn) is able to defeat 10 Legion of Silence members with minor wounds, so it is difficult for "any Dawn" to do this.
Nice guys.
There is a thousand or more in Legion of Silence.
Hm. And they are much more disciplined than dragonblooded.
And they do not use artifact armor and weapons.
Maybe the Empress is going to replace Dragonblooded with those guys? Why the heck do you need plotting backstabbing hotblooded demigods when you can replace them with the normal mortal soldiers?
[/insane speculation] (Eternal_King)
Presumably because one young Dawn is not able to defeat 10 Dragon-blooded soldiers with minor wounds. (Friv Yeti)
A: Yeah that is a fight one young Dawn would really not want to get himself into. (Holden)

Q: Would it be possible for a single, exceptional powerful Dragon-Blood to challenge a Circle of Solars? Speaking of five-on-one battles, how does the new system handle that kind of climactic battle? (William Parker-Adams)
A: If those Solars were capable of combat, and the Dragon-Blooded wasn't rocking some powerful artifacts (and even if he was) he would probably die. (John Mørke)
Q: That being said, is a 5v5 smackdown. Circle of Dragon Blooded adventurers out to righteously cast down the Anathema, vs. circle of Solars. Would this fight be considered "fair"? How much advantage do Solars have, or not have? If played as (in your combat system) five individual "named" dragon blooded, what kind of challenge are the Solars looking at?
Secondary question: How baller is the collateral damage going to be? (Nathaniel Colon)
A: That fight is going to be really epic. It really depends on what kind of artifacts and Charms they're packing.
The collateral damage is going to look like earthquake porn. (John Mørke)

Q: Given all the new Exalted types, how viable will crossover games be - especially if one one or more party members are Solars? (Jürgen Hubert)
A: Very-- I adore crossover. (Holden)


The most common sorts of Exalted games played seem to be "All Solars," "All Dragon-Blooded," and "All Solars except for one or two exceptions."

We're not interested in making that last option difficult to play.

Q: Well, yes. But that sort of logic is fine if you have a friendly ST or players that don't mind some ST handwaving. There are groups out there that like some more mechanical options to hold onto. I can do as you say John, and sometimes do, but it seems the books never give much consideration or talk about the impact of mix games. Even if it was just listing the ideas you put forth here in bolder terms. (Mostlyjoe)
A: (John Mørke)

There's more consideration put into it, yes. But the problem isn't created by an unequal chargen. It is created by unequal representation through mechanics, and this is true if you get rid of everyone but Solars. Take 2e for example, and the support for a martial artist or a crafter as opposed to a bureaucrat. Before Masters of Jade, certain people would have said "don't take bureaucracy at all" while others said "I'll take it anyway, because that's what I want my character to be." I don't believe that the latter people were wrong to take Bureaucracy. I believe that there are plenty of elements of the game you could represent and interpret without systems in place, and when things are messed up, as bureaucracy once was, that it is a ST's responsibility to make those players feel like they have a place in the game.

EX3 will have a fully integrated Social Influence system that works in combat but that doesn't matter at all to the social specialist if the ST runs fight scenes most of the time and doesn't allow him to manifest his character. It is situation, not power, that makes a Dragon-Blooded important to a Solar, the way situation makes a social specialist Eclipse important to a circle full of Dawns in the context of a violence-dominated narrative, such as a war.

It's a mindset. If you set your mind to interpret the game only through the mechanics, you run the risk of leaving someone behind.

Q: Are there any new cross-Exalt social groups in Ex3? Like factions that mix the various Exalted into PC group friendly factions? (Mostlyjoe)
A: (John Mørke)

New social ties: The Sidereals have their hands on pretty much every new Exalt that pops. I have added "management of the surge of new Exalted" to their purview. They are even directly responsible for the creation of some of them.

There is also a rumor, unconfirmed, of a Terrestrial-Infernal subset living on the Blessed Isle, tenants of the Dynasty.

Q: Does the newly returned surge of Solars fall under Sidereal management? (Starglyte)
A: They wish. (John Mørke)

Q: Does the Sidereal role of marshalling Exaltations cover Lunars? (Mostlyjoe)
A: If by "marshalling" you mean "being semi-frequently murdered by" then yes! Otherwise, not really. Chalk this one up to "actions have consequences." '(Holden)

Q: Since Sidereals now handle the management of Exaltation (with some obvious exceptions) of the 'other' Exalts does that mean the factions can assign these new Exalts to Dragon Bloods and Solars depending on need? (Mostlyjoe)
A: Not really. (John Mørke)

Q: Did any of the 'new' Exalted aid the DragonBlooded in their rebellion against the Solars? Will I find some of them in the Realm as friends/guests of the Houses? (Mostlyjoe)
A: Yes, although there's generally not a direct link between the two facts. (Holden)

Q: Can Liminals and Abyssals get along with each peacefully? Can the sometimes work together on the same cause? (Mostlyjoe)
A: Sure. (Holden)

Q: Like how the Underworld gets Liminals so the Abyssals don't feel lonely, will Sidereals see a new Exalt type hanging out with them in Heaven? (Starglyte)
A: Liminals and Abyssals are not connected except for the fact that Liminals can sense and sometimes hunt the Abyssals. (John Mørke)

Q: Are abysals and liminals the only exalted of the underworld? (Giygas)
A: One could argue the validity of this question. <smile> (John Mørke)

Q: Will Abyssals be Creatures of Darkness, assuming 3E still keeping that term? And what about Liminals in that regard? (Argas)
A: Abyssal CoDs?: Yes.
Liminal CoDs?: Sometimes. (John Mørke)

Q: Is Nexus still the most likely place to find a group of Mixed Exalts working together? (Mostlyjoe)
A: Hmm. Was it ever? (Holden)

Q: Can a Sidereal work with a 'circle' formed of a Solar, Lunar, Liminal, and Dragon Blood and have a valid reason for doing so that won't draw censure from his/her elders? (Mostlyjoe)
A: Sure. (Holden)

Q: In 3e will there be any effects (charms or otherwise) hinging upon the interactions of the exalted? Such as a Terrestrial fighting under a Solar general, a Lunar guarding its mate, or a Sidereal advising its lord? Ways that a mixed circle might benefit from being a mixed circle instead of all one type (maybe a weird effect from when Lunars and Sidereals work together that everyone has forgotten by this point)? (Broken Mind)
A: A little bit. It's not a major feature because the Exalted are very individualized, even within the same splat. (John Mørke)

Q: Will various Exalted types continue to factionalize primarily along splat boundaries? (Mockery)
A: Kind of. (John Mørke)

Q: Will Savants in the Realm who realize the whole 'Anathema' thing (and the Immaculate faith in general) is pure BS but continue to pay lip service in public out of pragmatism be common? Because it always bothered me that Scroll of Exalts described Mnemon as a 'true believer' in the Immaculate faith despite being an elder exalt with a 7 in Lore and Occult who should flat out just know better (Truth be told, I was also bothered by the notion that the Empress would raise an ignoramus for a child when there was no benefit at all to letting her children think the Immaculate faith was anything but a propaganda tool). (Mizu005)
A: People like Mnemon aren't misinformed so much as fully and pragmatically informed. She's fully aware that Solars and Lunars are just another kind of Exalted. She also knows that the Lunars are demonstrably batshit crazy monsters trying to tear down the Realm and eat her flesh; and that the last time the Solars were around, they took charge of the world, built terrifyingly powerful magical weapons, then eventually went batshit crazy and started wrecking everything. She sees no reason to believe that, if the Solars are allowed to come back, things would be any different the second time around. Really, it's the Gold Faction that's making a leap of faith here-- "this time things will all work out for the best and the Solars won't fall into hubris and madness, because of reasons." She doesn't advertise the fact that the Anathema are just another kind of Exalt to the masses because it's generally a bad idea to draw attention to points of similarity between yourself and a group you're trying to demonize. (Holden)

Q: Will knowledge of the Sidereals existence likewise be more common? Because again, it bothered the hell out of me that people like Mnemon weren't full aware of how heavily involved Sidereals were in the Realm. (Mizu005)
A: Mnemon is fully aware of Sidereal involvement in the Realm and helps cover up their involvement because it undermines the perceived legitimacy of the Dragon-Blooded hegemony if they've got another kind of Exalted propping up their rule, and because the Sidereals want it that way, and there's little to gain by giving them credit for anything when the Dragon-Blooded could take that credit for themselves. (Holden)

Q: I'm kinda like to know how many many Dragon Blooded are in the know about Solars/Lunars, etc. Is there specific careers, life paths, background merits that allow a Dragon Blooded to know there is more to life than just 'them'? (Mostlyjoe)
A: The greatest Immaculate scholars, Dragon-Blooded or otherwise, know the Solars and Lunars are another kind of Exalt. (John Mørke)

Q: Meaning they [Alchemicals and Infernals] dirtied up the setting for my players and were viewed as unnecessary additions to the game, then the act of excluding them became more work as each future supplement came out while assuming the existence of the two.
Edit: It also messed with the symmetry of the system. 5 exalt types Terrestrial, abyssal, solar, lunar, sidereal. 5 castes, 5 caste skills per caste. (Mcdermott)
A: (John Mørke)

Infernals are first mentioned in Games of Divinity, some of which was written at the same time as the 1e corebook. There is an importance to the number five in the design, but it has never been to the exclusion of elements more than five (and the importance of the number itself is actually enhanced in contrast with outside elements).

Alchemicals and Infernals will be more "optional" and less central than they were in 2e. The new Exalts will not; several have been built meaningfully into the setting's history and have served to improve the setting overall.

(Plague of Hats)

It's not really a good idea to winnow down the mythic proportions of non-Exalted inhabitants of Exalted, because then you have a less plausible setting and fewer targets for your PCs to be great heroes at. It's also just, like, fucking boring. One of the things that's wrong with ghosts in Second Edition is that "they're losers who don't matter, in a loser-world that doesn't matter." How can you get excited about them if they're not written to be exciting? I don't want the conclusion of my protagonists' epic journey to be "and then he boot-stomped Wicked Ghost King in one picosecond, THE END." The Exalted can be mighty without dick-punching a Yozi every morning.

Q: (SrGrvsaLot)

That's not quite my concern, though it is part of it. It's more that the exalted were the protagonists of the game (because, of course, the name of the game is "exalted"), but non-exalts didn't really get to be antagonists, so much as "obstacles." Like, your circle escapes from the wyld hunt to find refuge in an isolated village, only to find that their hosts are under the sway of an evil X. And yet, unless the X were some sort of exalted, that's not really that much of a problem, because everything else X could be is by definition sub-exalted.

It's not really a problem that magic beats non-magic. The problem is more that in order to get the really good magic, you have to be exalted.

A: Well, we've talked elsewhere about flattening the power curve. And when we say that, we're not talking about just lowering everyone but leaving them the same relative to each other. It'd hardly be possible, when ghosts are already huge suck. (Plague of Hats)

Q: Raksha, demons, elementals and spirits don't generaly make good opposition for the mighty celestials. (Bersagliere Gonzo)
A: This, too, shall change. (Plague of Hats)

Q: I hesitate to ask, but what's your position on Half-Caste existing with access to Exalted abilities in 3e? (Lafing Cat)
A: http://i284.photobucket.com/albums/ll36/Bigsteve87/Gifs/CutThroat.gif (Holden)

Q: The impossible they achieve (as it is mandatory for the Exalted to surpass what is possible and venture into the realm of legend) (Arrakiz)
A: No, it isn't. (John Mørke)
Q: It... It isn't? Well I'll be twice-damned, that's a revelation. So youre saying the Exalted are no longer about achieving the impossible and surpassing any sane limits? (Arrakiz)
A: "Bar an Exalt type has to jump over to be legit" is not an idea reflected anywhere in the game. It has caused a lot of strife and discontent between players of different splats, and it doesn't allow for Exalts like the Liminals, who could care less about Solar world-building but exist as an extremely fun option for Exalted gameplay and character creation. (John Mørke)

Q: An Exalt that seeks to serve his lord/nation/religion. Is this still a valid concept? (Asmodai)
A: Yes. (John Mørke)

Q: You stated earlier that the link between Lunars and animals was Gaia. Does this indicate a closer tie between Lunars and Dragon-Blooded? (Arteliex)
A: No. To clarify, the Five Elemental Dragons are the Children of Gaia. They are not her souls. The Dragon-Blooded should not be thought of as Gaia's Chosen. Nor should the Lunars. (John Mørke)

Q: You've mentioned a Lunar nation and made me go squee. Can we expect a Solar nation or maybe a XX nation? (Asmodai)
A: No Solar nation. XX nation is vague. I will correct you on one thing, though. It's not a nation. The Lunars have significant holdings across much of Creation now. (John Mørke)

Q: Will it be possible to play a god/ghost/demon/fae-blooded exalt?
If so, will it be purely a cosmetic detail? (The Invisible Voice)
Q: Appended and related question: Will beastmen, Wyld mutants and engineered races still be capable of Exaltation? (Celestial, Terrestrial, or other!) (DShomshak)
A: Across the two sets of questions: Yes, no, yes. (Holden)

Q: Will storytellers receive adequate tools to simulate non-Solar characters within the calendar year? (I run a game which spans all exalt types, currently.) (babyseal)
A: To the point that you can run them as PCs? Not all Exalt types, no. (Holden)

The problem here is that if god X can just make an Exalt, then all of these stories not only fall to the Exalt, but they're an even more natural and provocative fit. And why? Because these sorts of things are what Exalted are made to tell. Do you enforce your patron's will (Creation Ruling Mandate and Solars), represent them on a societal level (Sidereals and molding peoples according to the dictates of Fate), or serve as their religious representatives (Alchemicals and Autochthon)? Or do you forge your own way (some Abyssals, presumably some new Infernals)? Exalted are already well-grounded in these sorts of stories, so having an Exalt to tell these stories will naturally draw plot-threads to them. (Aranis)
(John Mørke)

First off, god x can't just make an Exalt. I have seen more and more people implying this to be a fact. It's not, I just wanted to see people kick their "what ifs" around in peace.

Second, while everything you said is true, you left out the Exalt whose life decisions have nothing to do with her patron, such as the vast majority of Solar npcs.

Lastly, gods will accept and use any and all worthy advocates as priests, champions, heralds, etc., whether they are mortal, God-Blooded, or Exalted. These divisions breed competition and rivalry likely to favor the Exalt, but serve as vehicles to emphasize the existence of non-Exalted players in the kind of social/political/religious brinksmanship the game was made for.


A Sidereal can't make a Solar into a generically better Solar. I mean, they can provide backup and support, but ultimately "moar raw power" is not how Sidereals work and not how MA has ever worked in Exalted. What Sidereals can do is help Solars use their raw power to transcend their limits.

Viewed from the other direction, a Solar can benefit from a Sidereal mentor to transcend their limits into weird transcendent stuff the same way that they can benefit from an artifact (via Evocations) or initiation into Sorcery. The fact that Solars are good at this sort of thing fits into their theme of being highly-talented, essentially.

I think Sidereals should be able to make a Solar into a better Solar though, as long as all they can do is just teach you SMA I'll never care about if I have a sifu or not. Having a Sidereal advisor/sifu is something all Solars should want, not just the tiny subset that wants to learn a particularly esoteric charm set. (Zironic)
(John Mørke)

In my longest Exalted campaign, which ended shortly before I was hired to write Glories, my Solar ended a long association with his Sidereal adviser. He never learned a single SMA or any other Charm from her, but she made him a better person, a wiser person, and taught him how to forge his ambition into something real. This occurred over years of great roleplaying, through thick and thin, life and death, tragedy and triumph. Man, there's no Charm for that.

And no, it couldn't have been "just anyone." There are things about a character that experience points can't buy, like the creativity and the personality of the person behind them.

Q: (Zironic)

Charms can help though, for instance the Shadow Throne style you wrote gave mechanical punch to the concept of the Sidereal Vizier assisting Solars from the shadows. It would be nice if there existed something similar for the teacher concept.

I remember you writing quite extensively about how 2e failed to support various martial-arts tropes such as the student-teacher relationships, secret techniques, student surpassing the master etc. Have you found a way to address these in 3e?

A: I do indeed have a few ideas! I just want to caution people into avoiding the fallacy that you need a Charm to do something. (John Mørke)

Q: Is Limit still a thing? Do you accrue it in the same ways? (DOCTOR ZIMBARDO)
A: Limit is very similar for the Solars. There is still a Virtue Flaw mechanic. It is gained a bit differently, though. (John Mørke)

Getimians and Liminals will be big unknowns. There will be a few other surprises as well. (John Mørke)

We're cranking [the numbers of each Exalt type] back toward 1e, where we do know how many Exalts there are, but we didn't explicitly reference exact numbers of Exalts all the time. Except Sidereals-- there are still exactly 100 Sidereals for sure and that'll be mentioned repeatedly lol (Holden)

The number of Solars and Lunars hasn't been increased. (John Mørke)

The Unconquered Sun made 300 Solars. Luna made ~400 Lunars. There has never been more than 300 Exigents at once, and the actual number is probably far, far fewer than that. (John Mørke)

(on whether mote pool formulae for each Exalt type are going to change)
There are no Essence pool expander Charms, but otherwise they're about the same size. (Holden)

"Anathema" is a category referring specifically to the Solar and Lunar Exalted (and hypothetically to the Abyssals, since they're compatible with Immaculate depictions of the Solars and legends of Danaa'd locking the Solars away in the Underworld). (Holden)

Q: I have a question about Asna Firstborn's power over the Loom. Is she capable to cut off a Sidereal from the Loom and deprive him/hem of most of the their Exaltions tricks, charms and astrology? Or will a Sidereal blast away any such attempt with anti-shaping defences? (Durabys)
A: Speaking in generalities, you probably won't see an entity who has "flip off all of an Exalted's cool stuff by remote control" among their powers. (The Demented One)

(John Mørke)

If you want to do a successful EX3 introduction, leave out everything but the classic five (Solars, Lunars, Sidereals, Dragon-Blooded, and Abyssals) and go to town on Exigents. Really let your imagination run free. How good your comic is, and how well it is remembered will be based on your ideas for Exigents.

On the other hand, poorly guessed at Alchemicals, Infernals, and Getimians will be a stain on the body of work.

Q: Wait... you're rebooting Alchemicals too? Or did you mean Liminals there? (The Hanged Man)
A: I meant Alchemicals.
There's probably enough to handwave Liminals. (John Mørke)

(John Mørke)

Solars, Lunars, and Sidereals occupy entirely different game-space in Exalted. Solars are myth-heroes. It is a myth-hero's purpose to subvert mythos and thereby define it. Solars fight, destroy, and ultimately recreate the status-quo, doing so by conquering the obliquely magical through acts of sheer will, force, and skill writ-large, like every myth-hero in literature. IE, a Solar built to win a foot race will win a foot race with the very Maiden of Journeys. The Solar will outrun Death itself.

Lunars are heart-eating, shapeshifting skin-walker legends and monsters. They turn into swift cats and soaring birds, fish that can swim and giant monsters that can rend down fortress walls. They are monsters and beasts. Compare them to the great monsters and beasts of legend. Less Hercules, more hydra and chimera. That is their game-space.

Sidereals are literally sorcerer-bureaucrats with kung fu. They are the most literal agents of myth that you can get. They are not subversive, but rather assimilationist. They occupy a radically different game-space than Solars.

Many members of both the Lunar and Sidereal Exalted have set themselves against the Solar Exalted. This will be an extremely interesting conflict. Just keep the different game-spaces in mind, because these spaces imply different meaning and purpose for all three Exalt types. This will be reflected in their Charms (and always has been).

Q: You or another dev or author revealed that Getimians and "black-market" Exigents can be in good standing with Heaven. Is this also possible for Abyssals and/or non-Akuma Infernals, without the Redemption-into-a-Solar quest? (Erinys)
A: It's possible but unlikely that an Abyssal would ever be accepted in Yu-Shan. No word now on what Infernals will be, but my current sources say no. (John Mørke)

Q: So is Third Edition no longer using the word "enlightened" to identify the ability to use an manipulate Essence? (AnubisXy)
A: Not necessarily. Spiritual cultivation does have benefits for the Exalted that it does not for mortals—see Immaculate Martial Arts, for example. At the same time, I don't think all Exalted are enlightened just by dint of being able to channel Essence, nor is Permanent Essence a measure of a character's enlightenment. Spiritually cultivated Exalts probably are pretty dang enlightened, but Volfer can channel Essence just as well as they can and, well...he's Volfer. (The Demented One)


(John Mørke)

I have a model for the Eclipse anima that is very exciting. And it varies from its Abyssal counterpart in significant ways. I'm also thrilled by the Dawn anima.

Q: Hold up, hold up, hold up... Are you telling me you already have Anima powers of Abyssals? In the core?! You cheeky dick waffle, that's awesome! (Arrakiz)
A: Not at all. I am building mechanics for other Exalts alongside the Solars, because it helps me get a clearer view of the future. (John Mørke)

Q: Will the anima banner powers stay the same powers for the castes/aspects? (Angsana)
A: No. (John Mørke)

Q: Will the the anima banner powers get a nerf or buff in how it would relate to 2nd edition? (Angsana)
A: There's no comparison because of the number of variables. (John Mørke)

Q: Will the three Eclipsoids still have similar anima banners? (Sucal)
A: I don't like the term Eclipsoids or Solaroids. My yes will mislead you. (John Mørke)

Q: Will Eclipse charm share still be a thing? (Sucal)
A: My yes will mislead you. (John Mørke)

New Eclipse anima power: No more Charmshare between Exalts via the anima power. Eclipses -do- retain the ability to learn certain magics of other sorts of supernatural beings, such as spirits-- there's a Keyword denoting powers they can pick up (generally flavorful ones such as the ability to walk on clouds or interrogate the sea to give up its secrets, which would help them in their role as walkers-among-all-courts). These shared Charms don't have a special price hike, since the fact that they're Eclipse-available means we already judged they weren't going to break anything in an Eclipse's hand, and with that in place, there's no reason to tax your fun. (Holden)

Twilight gets a new anima power. (John Mørke)

Q: Will Infernals still burn with Green Fire as their anima? (Dragonmystic)
A: Yes. (Holden)

Q: Holden, tell me about the new anima powers
A: Everyone gets three, like the Eclipse Caste always has. (Holden)

Q: Is the Night Caste Anima still useful even if I want to play a Night Caste who does not use Stealth for whatever reason?
A: Yes. Ogami Itto would approve of the first and third powers. (Holden)

If there's one spoiler I would really like the Devs spoil, it would be the new Twilight Anima power. I'd love to try to reverse engineer it for 2.5E. The current one is kinda... meh. (JayTee)
My favorite part of the new Twilight Anima is something that really can't be reverse engineered into 2.5, soooo... (The Demented One)
Q: Any hints on what kind of character it helps you play? Assuming that "a Twilight" doesn't count as a hint. (Gayo)
A: A type of character you might have played your Twilight as in Second Edition, except now with cool new [REDACTED]. (The Demented One)

Q: (BrilliantRain)

Out of curiosity, did you guys consider just removing the Anima Banners? I mean, they basically ensure that you can barely use your magic outside of combat and necessitate a bunch of workarounds to make social and stealth charms work at all.

What do they add to the game that makes it worth the hassle?

A: I got rid of the hassle and kept the banners.
They're awesome. (John Mørke)

I hope there is more variance between the Solar, Abyssal, and Infernal anima powers. 12 of the 15 castes had the same exact power; the Eclipse, Moonshadow, and Fiend powers were all more or less the same, with the Fiend power being different only because you could "shunt" oathbreaker consequences. The only castes that had different powers were Zenith, Midnight, and Malefactor, all of which were unique but still held true to the idea of them being priests and exemplars. Zeniths could fight harder against Creatures of Darkness and burn corpses. Midnights could inflict terrible damage to mortals and create zombies. Malefactors become more beautiful and manipulative. With three anima powers per caste, there's a lot of room now for variety between the different castes, and I hope that the designers make use of it. (GreyEyes)
Now that that Solar anima powers now consist of three parts, distinguishing parallel castes gets a bunch easier. (The Demented One)

Lunars vs. Sidereals

The Lunars are not Solars.
So writing about them as if they were Solars doesn't make sense.
How is it that a Sidereal thread is a Lunar thread? (John Mørke)
Q: (Asura)

People are just curious
what is the relationship between sidereal and lunar in EX3?
Most lunar fans want sidereal to respect the lunar, and treat them like they're exist.
The idea that sidereal treat lunar as not even exist is igniting nerdraging...

Maybe people assume wrongly that just because silver faction is non-existant than the sidereal ignore lunar entirely. (Not a credible threat, not a potential candidate for ruling Creation, and many other reasons)

Maybe John can defuse the situation a bit?

A: (John Mørke)

They are at each other's fucking throats post Usurpation and have brawled all through the Shogunate and the formation of the Scarlet Empire. Many Lunars see the Sidereals upholding of the Scarlet Empire as a direct affront against them.

The Caul, the single biggest center of consolidated Lunar power, has been disconnected from the Loom of Fate. Destiny there is controlled by an artifact constructed by the Lunars.

Sidereals and Lunars working together might actually matter in EX3 as a result of the extreme polarization of views, and an ancient feud propelled by a history of Wyld Hunts, sabotage, invasion, and extreme political dissonance.

As a result, the Lunars have been far more important to the Sidereals (and to the setting as a whole), in EX3's history.

So my point is- the Caul is clearly unique in that it has its own Loom, it does't however mean a Lunar supremacy is impossible, without working outside of Fate. (Arrakiz)
True, but it would make a hell of a way to break anyone trying to track you using Astrology. Or better yet, a place to plan so the Sidereals can't see what you are doing down the line. Basically I think it's a gigantic hunting blind against the Sidereals. (Mostlyjoe)
It cloaks a lot of activities that happen on the Caul. It also symbolizes the intense division between the Lunars and Sidereals. The name was also deliberately chosen to evoke an ominous sensation. (John Mørke)

Q: Question though, are there more than one Lunar Dominion(s)? Do they have other ways of cloaking their activities from Heaven? (Mostlyjoe)
A: There are many. Dozens. Hundreds.
Only the Caul has established its own fate. (John Mørke)

Q: I hope this will be because establishing a local override to Fate is very difficult to implement and maintain, such that the Caul having done so emphasizes the magnitude of the threat they fear from the Viziers. (ysadrel)
A: Yes. Not only is it difficult to build a fate construct, but theirs is nowhere near as good as the Loom of Fate. It's also not seen as favorable to disconnect large portions of Creation from the Loom, so the Exalted are not horsey to do it. The Caul represents a very atypical approach to the war at large, while offering a very iconic view of Lunar primacy. (John Mørke)


I should probably clarify something here: The Caul is not a supernatural effect created by Lunars to mask their movements from the Sidereals. The Caul is a place. It's an island. A big island!

It's also not, like, some giant secret base where all the Lunars congregate; it's way out in the Southwestern ass-end of Creation and subject to all the spacially-related concerns you'd expect there. It's a place that happens to be a bastion of Lunar strength, but that probably doesn't mean anything if you're a Lunar in the North. Or the South. Or the East.

The Sidereals and Lunars are very much divided in the present day, in EX3.
A Solar who wants to restore the Exalted host probably ought to think about fixing that. (John Mørke)

Q: If I'm making a new Sidereal character, is it generally pretty likely that my previous incarnation was murdered by a Lunar? (Aquillion)
A: It is generally the leading cause of death among Sidereals. (Holden)

If you spend a lot of time in Yu-Shan-- as Celestial gods do, and Sidereals-- you are likely to eventually start regarding trips into Creation as sort of like heading into Jurassic Park after the fences went down. (Holden)

See, I'm perfectly fine with Lunars being the leading cause of Sidereal deaths, because a) I assume Sidereal Exalted are hypercompetent and die pretty rarely in most situations and b) I expect Sidereals to rate pretty highly on the 'what kills careless Lunars' list, if not at the top due to the generally more rough-and-tumble nature if Lunar life in general. (Chaka)
I would say Sids probably rank pretty low on that list, with "Dragon-Blooded" occupying the top slot. A smart Sidereal is going to try to get -someone else- to fight Lunars on his behalf. (Holden)

I mean my biggest fear here is... if the single biggest cause for Sidereal deaths are Lunar confrontations, then this leads to a highly unhealthy dynamic where the Lunars will be perceived as the single biggest threat to the operation of the Bureau of Destiny. If so, they become the Big Bad the Sidereals need to take out to if they seek to continue their work. Worst of all, they could even justify using Heavenly resources against the Lunars for the simple reason that nobody can imagine the working of Creation without a Bureau of Destiny. (Asmodai)
Considering that it's not arduously difficult for a Lunar to get into Heaven and that they decided they were no longer going to play by anyone else's rules a long time ago, that is not a feud that lots of Celestial gods are itching to insert themselves into. (Holden)

I highly doubt that the Sidereal-Lunar conflict would ever go "hot" since that would be relatively cataclysmic. I think a good real world example of a violent cold war is the US arming the Mujahideen to botch the Soviet's invasion of Afghanistan. That led to a lot of Soviet deaths and the US was totally responsible for it, yet nukes didn't fly, lines of communication between the US and the USSR remained open, etc.
When I envision a Sidereal/Lunar conflict, I imagine that it's done primarily through proxies with a minimal amount of Sidereal casualties and a minimal amount of Lunar casualties, which can still make Lunars the leading cause of Sidereal fatalities but wouldn't warrant them running into the Caul and dropping some Soulbreaker orbs. I'd imagine it's kind of this endless game of positioning and small conflicts since neither side has the position or the resources to wipe the other side out without getting totally devastated in the process. (QuintessenceX)
The reason you don't see anyone dropping soulbreaker orbs to solve their problems in 3e is that 3e doesn't have millions of tons of magitech doomsday weapons sitting around to be dug up and used-- it's not a cyber-steampunk setting.
The Lunars have zero interest in maintaining the status quo and if they had access to a bunch of nukes, they would be trying to smuggle them into the Imperial City and set them off. (Holden)

Q: Fitter, you are dead on the money it seems. So...why would a Lunar PC and Sidereal PC ever work together? (Mostlyjoe)
A: Because they're enlightened souls who realize current cycle of betrayal and bloody-handed revenge is driving Creation into a hole it's never, realistically, going to climb back out of. Or because someone has something they both want. Or, whatever. Or they have a mutual friend they both want to work with who will not tolerate them killing one another when he's around (this person is probably a Solar). Mostly, they won't! Except when for some reason they do. (Holden)

Q: I notice we seem to be talking "Sidereals" rather than "Bronze faction" here. Is this something I should be noticing? (Wulfram)
Lunars won't make a distinction. Gold or Bronze, they were conspirators that overthrew the Lunars. Gold is interesting in working with the Solars, not the Lunars.
In fact maybe the Gold are planning on using the Solars to contain the Lunar threat. (Mostlyjoe)
A: (Eric Minton)

Maybe some are and some aren't.

Political activity is ultimately about individuals with idiosyncratic methods and goals rather than about monolithic blocs. 3e Sidereal politics will emulate the real world in this, and will thus be more interesting than in previous editions.

All new setting elements aside, consider the roles of the Gold and Bronze Factions in light of Creation's recent and not-so-recent history. Meditate upon this and you shall be enlightened.

(John Mørke)

There's weird shit going down all over the Lunar/Sidereal feud. Faxai is the site of a Realm/Guild alliance for example.

As to the war, it could be hot or cold! You might say it's cold because the Lunars aren't laying siege to Heaven and the Sidereals try to avoid fighting them in person. A Lunar is more likely to die to Sidereal agency in the form of opening his breakfast cereal, realizing only too late that it has been replaced with Quaker Instant Foot Clan.

If you think the Sidereal/Lunar conflict sounds awesome, wait until we mix in the new Chosen. (John Mørke)


Q: And I'm not sure how much light can be shed, but I'm hoping for excitement when I play a solar (Twilight_Crow)
A: Yes. (The Demented One)

(Plague of Hats)

It's never really been true in the way lots of people complain about that Solars don't "have a theme." I think when people try to sell them as "the blank-slate Exalted", it really just damages fan perceptions of them.

Q: Any new details on the Solars that can be shared at this point? (nexus)
A: I'm really excited about how Evocations/Sorcery/MA are going to flesh out Solar concepts that seemed to be stuck with a mechanical straight line. (John Mørke)

Q: Would you be willing to expand on what it means that "Solars are the emphatic hero of the series'"? I am particularly interested in what this means, if anything, for players of non-Solars at a table with Solars, and also for non-Solars in the setting in general. (ysadrel)
A: Like previous editions, Exalted's central narrative is the same: the Solars have come back from death, and have been given the slim and only chance they have to make things right. The world has been relatively divested of magic; the Solars are a metaphor for magic's return, they are the avatars of a fading greatness and wonder and crashed into a sea of fire and blood. They are the antithesis of the apocalypse, yet they may be too late to stop it—or they may be the ones who cause it. The entire setting is poised around discussing their return, how it effects all these various peoples and places, how it changes a status quo that has settled almost implacably around the idea of their forever absence. Solars remain the essential focus of Exalted—their heroism, their "time of glory." But they are much less than they were before, and the world is much diminished, and their has always been other Exalted to lay claim to what the Solars had. Can the Solars take it back? Will they rise again? Or will their light be forevermore extinguished? And then, what of Creation? (John Mørke)

Q: If I play a solar in 3E, will I feel that there are actual threats/challenges that can hold my interest without being world enders/campaign changers? (TheSarcasticSage)
A: World's full of 'em. (Holden)

Q: Will there be things that can actually equal/exceed my own might, such that I might actually have to use the cunning of Odysseus, or the silver tongue of Frig? Or, perhaps even to the extent that I have to/really should get help from non-solar allies to overcome? (TheSarcasticSage)
A: Oh yes. (Holden)

Q: Can I finally have my 1E King Arthur story (ie, takes place in a small kingdom in the middle of nowhere and never really leaves it) kind of campaign again? (ie. not feeling like my solar character is wasting their time/potential on worthless/non-world ending threats) (TheSarcasticSage)
A: Something like, say, wresting An-Teng back from the Realm and then, having done so, dealing with the fallout of it having been forced into a socially and economically prostrate culture for centuries, while dealing with opportunistic outside and inside forces looking to capitalize on the situation you've created (the Lintha, demon cults, the Guild, etc)? Sure.
The more world-conquering/world-ending specific threats we have, as a general thing, the smaller the world gets. (Holden)

Q: What is your favorite element of the new Solars? (Mostlyjoe)
A: Evocations, hands down. (John Mørke)

Q: In the Reddit thread You've mentioned that the portrayal of lunars will change in ex3, will anything change in the portrayal of Solars in the sameg regard? (Tale)
A: No (John Mørke)

Q: Will there be rules for playing humanoid - but not human - Solars (Like The Snakeman from 2E, or the Dajah) (Shanwolf)
A: The Djala and various miscellaneous beastmen are human. They just look unusual.
And yes. (Holden)

Q: Do Solars still punch like the Saturn V? (SurlySeraph)
A: Ayuh! (John Mørke)

Q: I assume that while you're pulling away from Solar Exaltation as autonomous hunter-seeker, and as "power-pellet" - there are still going to be a finite number of Solar Exaltations, and each in their exaltation each Solar becomes the reincarnation of a specific previous Solar (and whatever Solars they may have been the reincarnation of)? (glamourweaver)
A: Yes indeed. (John Mørke)


So, I'm a 2E brat. I spent a long time avoiding Exalted because that I heard of how terrible its rules are, and when I did finally get to it, I'd already unwittingly picked up a few preconceptions about the setting through osmosis, before my eyes ever fell upon a page.

One of those preconceptions was about Twilights.

Someone had mentioned in another thread a few days ago, off hand, that Solar Craft in 1E was about being a master smith, the finest carpenter, the most skilled artisan the world has ever seen. This gave me some pause. I had seriously, honestly never really thought of them in this light before, but it suddenly made a great deal of sense. There's an extensive body of myth for such archetypes, which happens to be very resonant with me personally.

See, in the shitty conception that I'd been given, Twilights were techno-engineers and mad scientists. It was pretty much expected that any of them would be working with 'magitech', because that's what those archetypes do. This actually greatly annoyed me, as this aesthetic seemed rather jarringly anachronistic and out of place with the rest of the setting. There seems to be some kind of weird fan myth that so long as the scientific method functions in Creation, any given Solaroid with some Lore and Craft is going to be able to independently re-derive all of First Age theory in an afternoon.

I don't quite understand how I was so stupid as to not see them in this light before, but I'm much happier for it; it helps things click. I'm happy that 'magitech' is becoming something rare and wondrous and difficult to understand, even to the most brilliant modern craftsmen. It serves, much better, to illustrate just how high things climbed during the First Age, and how far they've fallen since. If that is trivially reinvented, then that loss never really mattered much in the first place.

So, uh, yeah. +1 to the proposed changes. I definitely see now how the creeping in of magitech everywhere was an unfortunate accident. I enjoy the original interpretation far better.

Twilights are absolutely engineers. They are engineers and smiths and artisans. They're architects in a world where the aqueducts are fallen, physicians in a world ravaged by plague, and teachers in a world where where knowledge is power and the leaders hold tight to every scrap of power they can. I find all these much more compelling archetypes than "mad scientist" or "tinkerer." So we're not fetishizing mad science or tinkering anymore. (Stephenls)

Q: Is Demethemania still running wild, or have he and his UDON brethren disappeared in the edition switch? (404GoonNotFound)
A: Demethemania is an all-place and forever-time. No hero or villain is great enough to stop it. (Plague of Hats)

Q: Evocations are the new sexy for the Solar Exalted. Are they getting anything else notable you can wink-and-nudge us about, that's new to 3e? (BryanChavez)
A: They will get to learn SMA without having to pay double. Sorcery will be more attractive and useful. I am really hammering on the idea that Solars expressed their might through the power of their artifice, their sorcery, and their ability to master new forms. Ie, their limitless creativity. (John Mørke)

Q: Hatewheel, I really loved the stereotypes for the Liminal Exalted on other splats. The manner of speaking and content told volumes about how they might interact with other Exalted. To help get off the dead horse of Solars in Second Edition, would you care to do some stereotypes for them as well, their point of view on other supernatural beings? (DeathmatchFM)
A: (John Mørke)

I don't like to generalize too much about what a splat feels because characters rarely have a consensus.

In general, a Solar is going to worry about the Dragon-Blooded. In general, he won't know about Sidereals, but if he did, he might think "Friend or foe? I have to stay sharp around this one." He will find Lunars to be dangerous, monstrous, the true Anathema. That is, before he actually meets one. He will look at Abyssals with familiarity and dread...and perhaps feel impelled to be a stronger person to stand against such bone-deep outrage.

It's hard to generalize because Solars are so diverse.

Q: How big is the absolute biggest thing that a Solar can beat up? (Fightest)
A: "The makers of the world" was the high water mark for them in the last two editions. This time out, the historical high water mark is probably "those ancient things spawned or forged by the makers of the world which were even more terrible than their creators." Or maybe they found an entire sentient cosmos wandering around in the Wyld and kicked its ass. Perhaps you should kick Raksi out of the great libraries of Sperimin and consult the histories there to see for yourself :0 (Holden)

Matthew Roark's wife: Your Dawn (and Solars of all castes) will have far more mobility in choosing outside of their classic caste Abilities at chargen, without using up their favored choices. No keywords, no complicated mix and match. It's built right into the chargen rules. (John Mørke)

Zeniths have the same Ability spread as before, and we have returned to their 1e roots—Zeniths are attended by the Unconquered Sun upon Exaltation. (John Mørke)

For the Solars, the Great Curse is basically the same. (John Mørke)

Solars in particular have no difficulty with various different magical materials, or even with weapons blending multiple magical materials. (Holden)


Q: Im really looking forward to the Dragon-Blooded materials. Not only are they necessary as main adversaries to basically any other kind of Exalts. They are also my favorite as their elemental-theme is so much more awesome than any other. And they – while still being able to kick ass – are not as overpowering as the others. Funny enough they make for the least arrogant players while they themselves have the reputation of being extremely arrogant. ;-) (burningcrow)
A: I am extremely excited about the Dragon-Blooded, there is a lot of "new" coming their way. (John Mørke)

Q: Dragon Blooded Houses. Will we get more info about their individual methodologies and holdings? (Asmodai)
A: Yes!!! (John Mørke)

Q: As the Dragonblooded Houses are apparently getting more of a Vampire-Style thematic focus...are there rules/guidelines for founding my own House? (Wise Old Guru)
A: No. That is a matter of storytelling including backstabbing, lying, thieving, murdering, fighting the Anathema and making lots of babies. (John Mørke)


The other day I asked Holden "Hey, are we going to, like, occasionally remember that minor Houses exist this time? Maybe make up a list of named minor houses and occasionally mention them? Because Exalted never did that before."

"Yup," he replied.

I think vague mention has been made of minor Houses as those Dragon Blooded families that have fallen from a lot of power (to the point where they don't really get to partake of major Dynast priviliges, namely tribute collection and reserved high government positions, anymore), or ones that never actually managed to accumulate that much power (I'm not sure if Found Eggs who took the coin get to eventually retire and have the slightest possibility of establishing their own families, but there are almost certainly Dragon Blooded families that date back from the early centuries of the Realm, when the Empress was still consolidating the remnants of the Shogunate under her power).
I think some minor Houses might be patrician families that produce Dragon Blooded members with an unusual amount of regularity, allowing them to maintain strong ties with such members even when they're adopted into Great Houses. (Isator Levi)

Yeah, those guys!

There's been twenty-three so-called "Great Houses" throughout the history of the Scarlet Dynasty, but never all at once. The Scarlet Empress has basically pruned and cultivated her lineage over the years, raising up new houses to replace old ones she has no use for anymore, but most of them haven't self-destructed as spectacularly as the Iselsi or... um, whatchamacallit, the ones who were all killed or married off into patrician houses and had their names erased after Eyem tried to get them to overthrow the Realm. Jerem? Whatever. So there are all these minor houses that either were once Great Houses or are in the running to become them some day maybe possibly.

Only the books never talk about them.

This is separate from the cadet houses like Ferem and the named lines within the existing Great Houses, like Cynis Denovah.

So we're going to talk about them this time. Not a lot, but enough that people will remember they exist. They're really a fascinating bit of Realm society.

Q: (Isator Levi)

Wasn't Eyem a Shogunate thing?

I guess I need to reread my Aspect Books.

Although it does kind of feel like you're talking about Manosque (who used the Eye of Autochthon).

EDIT: Oh, wait, no, House Jerah is a seperate thing, and definitely tied to Eyem and the Empress (I remember that Eyem was a remaining product of the Shogunate now).

The reference to the idea of the "newly founded House Ragara", considering that Ragara was the Empress' second eldest child (and born several centuries into her reign) is also indicative of the idea of Houses that predate her children.

A: Yeah, that's the one. House Jerah, House Manosque, and House Iselsi are the three fallen Houses we know about for sure, but there's like nine more. From the House Ragara thing it looks like she first started recognizing Houses based on and presumably named after either her spouses or Shogunate gentes that swore fealty to her, but none of them suited her purposes and she was phasing them out in favor of Houses run by her kids. We assume some of those minor houses are still around as major patrician families, and there are probably additional minor Houses she may be grooming as potential future majors, in the event she needs one and has a kid like V'Neef handy to put in charge of them. In general patrician society is not well-covered. Makes me wish we'd gotten the Scarlet Manual of Proper Bearing.
Oh, well. We'll have to do that lifting ourselves. (Stephenls)

Q: Speaking of things that got mentioned once and were never dealt with again, will there be anything about the mutinous legion that house Ledaal is at war with up in the North? (Katsue)
A: Now that you've reminded me it exists, maybe? (Stephenls)

Q: Are there DragonBlooded apostates who do not follow the Immaculate Faith? Or are they factions/nations who do now follow it? (Mostlyjoe)
A: Tons, but then, there always have been. (Holden)

Q: Will Mnemon get the hugs she was so sorely deprived of as a child? (SurlySeraph)
A: Never! (John Mørke)

Q: Will it still be the case that Creation's human population/bloodlines are so heavily intermingled with Dragonblooded descendants that Outcastes can pop up damned near anywhere? (Jim Lee)
A: Yes. Outcastes are great. (Stephenls)

Q: (notthepenguins)


I think it would be really cool if DBs were the 'default' splat. They're much more entrenched in the modern setting, making 'default' characters at their general level of power would change the mentality from "DBs are weak and trivial" to "Man, Celestials are powerful," having DB material (by which I mean Realm stuff) is fairly important for running most games, and they're the most numerous splat, and thus having precise rules for them becomes more important because more people will encounter them.

Hardly a deal-breaker, but I think it'd be neat.

A: When your game is, to a large degree, a criticism of how people who gain power tend to abuse it for blind or selfish reasons, making the Big Oppressive Empire your default protagonist sort of sends a mixed message, don't you think? (Holden)

(on Avatar: the Last Airbender as Dragon-Blooded inspiration)

I love Avatar, but the original series is not exactly a sterling paragon of worldbuilding -- people are there for the characterization and voice performance and amazing fight choreography, not for the well-thought sociology on what societies run by supernatural martial artists look like. So I question the assertion that we should alter the Realm to make it more like the Fire Nation. The Realm is already an amazing fantasy society, and the ideas we have for making it even more amazing have not come from Avatar.

Also the observation that benders don't have much in common with DBs is a good one. Benders are people with supernatural martial arts, but they don't have dice-adders for mundane skills that push them above human competency in damn near every field of human endeavor; they also don't live to 250 years old as a matter of course. Those two things are going to -- and do -- have way more impact on how any society with them at its center look than their ability to snap their fingers and make fire.

Q: (MarkK)

This was sort of asked in the Dragon Blooded thread, but given that the default play experience for them/majority emphasis of them is dynasts, with talk in various ad blurbs of wanting to make the great houses driving play options for them, and the Realm in this go round particularly has the atrocities of empire played much more straight/no apologia/up in one's face going by statements so far, how are you guys planning to provide that without ending up intrinsically tying them to the notion then of fools to be laid to waste?

(Or at least, without ending up intrinsically tying them to the notion of being those atrocious guys from the horrifyingly unsympathetic empire of atrocities, aka every empire from real world history)

Other than the playing of/emphasizing of Outcastes and rebels against the dynasty and etc, that is.

A: (Stephenls)

I think we're just going to say straight out what the Scarlet Dynasty is up to in the Threshold in the corebook and in The Realm, and make Dynastic society as complex and fascinating as it's always been in The Realm and Dragon-Blooded: What Fire Has Wrought (more fascinating, if possible—culturally some of the Great Houses tended to blur together in 1e and 2e), and people will want to play Dynasts can play Dynasts. It's not like anybody's ever had trouble playing cutthroat Camarilla politics or Sabbat brutality in Vampire: The Masquerade.

...well, no, some people do have trouble playing that. For them we have at least a half-dozen other types of Exalt to play.

I think people are assuming that because we're going to spend less time whitewashing the Realm than 2e did, and because we're going to spend more time matter-of-factly portraying the ugly realities of empire, we're going to take a strong condemnatory stance against the Realm. As far as I know, we're not.

Note: We will almost certainly not put "While you're enjoying these artifacts, remember where they come from!" or anything like that in the Artifact trait writeup in Dragon-Blooded: What Fire has Wrought. That would just be crass. (Stephenls)

Q: "Are you going to go back to that real stupid origin story for the Dragon-Blooded Host in 2e, because don't do that" (Patkin)
A: God, no. (Stephenls)

Q: "Are you going to preface each Aspect's Charm list with how the Solar Exalted used the Dragon-Blooded aspects as hapless little assistants and deprotagonized the fuck out them in the process, because don't do that" (Patkin)
A: God, no. (Stephenls)

Q: Is the explicit dilution of dragonblooded power through mingling with mortals still going to be a thing? (DrFaustus)
A: Breeding will still be a thing; there will still be families with strong tendencies toward Terrestrial Exaltation and families with weak tendencies; the Empress will still be engaging in a massive eugenics program to improve the strength of the Dragon-Blooded produced by her dynasty.
I am unsure whether we'll be keeping the First Age perfect breeding 100% Exaltation rate DBs who fucked everything up for themselves by interbreeding with mortals, however. (Stephenls)

Q: What, if anything can you tell us about Terrestrials? Has there been any interesting changes to the least of the Exalted? (Denim Avenger)
A: We're putting a lot of thought into the Realm's prefectures and cities. Also, I'm shaking up the roles of the Houses and giving them new holdings and introducing a number of new NPCs in the race for the Scarlet Throne. Dragon-Blooded also benefit quite a bit from the Evocations. Plus there are a few other secrets I am keeping under my hat. (John Mørke)

(on Dragon-Bloods from the Realm opposing the status quo of colonialism)
[...]I suspect it becomes easier when you've been living in the threshold for the last 50 years and seen first hand how the people live.
Though I fully expect more of them to start their own societies that are cults in all but name to try and give themselves the creature comforts they remember from the Realm.
...This is probably why the Houses don't leave individuals in charge of Threshold nations for really long times. (BrilliantRain)
Not since Dynast Kurtz. (GabbyIngram)
Man you're all going to [REDACTED] the [REDACTED] and the [REDACTED]. (Stephenls)

(John Mørke)

I tend to think of the Dragon-Blooded as specialists, not masters. A Solar, Sidereal, and even sometimes a Lunar might have to worry about drowning. So a hypothetical Exalt who controls water is going to have a problem with a Water Aspect who can move through water like a missile, who can shoot his bow underwater, who doesn't drown and can rise like a mountain from the earth, delivering a punch that puts his foe completely out of the water, where he lands at the feet of his Brotherhood. It's not about being the best at an element.

The Dragon-Blooded... Eh. Breeding does have measurable advantages, but they are minor compared to character experience. And for good game-design reasons. Purity Charms make sense within the internal logic of Terrestrial Exaltation, but... it kind of sucks to tell players, "Oh, you didn't buy this Background for your character, and you have no way now to acquire it? Sorry, that particular toybox is closed." Even if Purity Charms are vetted so they are never anything a character especially deeds, the whole idea offends my sensibilities. I would rather see this particular mechanic dropped. (DShomshak)
Good news: It will be. 3e Breeding is probably going to be a fixed-cost Merit denoting good breeding, and conferring social advantages in Dynastic society and a greater likelihood of your kids Exalting. The 1e/2e Breeding Background, while it made sense as a setting expression given the importance of strong blood for the Dragon-Blooded... as a game element, it had all the problems of Generation and none of the benefits. (Holden)

Lost Heirs are great, even when they're not running a scam. If having lots of Dragon-Blooded babies is that important, you buy up as much Breeding as you can at character creation regardless of whether you want to play a Dynast or an Outcaste. (Tiresias)
Or a regular mortal. (Holden)

The whole EX3 team is excited to talk about our plans for Dragon-Blooded, but we have a bit of push left to do on the corebook. I will say this: there will be martial arts and Evocations that let Dragon-Blooded have more flashy elemental powers. We are also spicing up and broadening their Charm set. But do not expect them to have a basic element-bending power or 2e Infernal style designs, because that misses the point of the humanity present in the Exalted. (John Mørke)

Dragon-Blooded artificers will certainly be a thing in EX3. Making something like Icemind or a Warstrider, now... THAT'S a tall order and a character-defining goal. But daiklaves, armor, hearthstone bracers that will be cherished hundreds of years hence by your descendants? Oh yes. (Holden)



Well, for one example, Lunars are no longer characterized as shapeshifters, since that was always a really messy thing to implement. They are now the masters of interpretive dance!

Q: ... [W]e've never had a Lunars splat that wasn't a fixer-upper. ... (Gayo)
A: We will give you the best Lunars ever. Trust me. (John Mørke)


The basis of all Lunarness: [First third of the Pesterlog]

Q: Is it possible to say what sort of theme you went for for EX3 Lunars? In 2nd ed they were kind of all over the place, being in some places riffs on trickster archetypes, some spots werewolves with more shapes, some spots protean wyld spirits... All of the interpretations were there, but there was never a clear "These are the Guardian Exalted", or "These are the Wyld Exalted", or "These are the Animal Exalted" like there was for the Solar's "These are the Greek Hero Exalted" or the DB's "These are the Element Exalted". Has that changed, and can you tell us what the theme will be if so? (Spectralent)
A: They are the ravaging, unbowed Exalted. Such as there is an unconquered anything, it is them. And they are not content to just sit on the sidelines of a map and a history that forgets they are there. In EX3, the Lunars dominate major portions of the map. Beyond that, there is still a theme of "change" to them, but it is more about change-over-time, rather than a theme that changes every time you turn a page. In the Primordial War they were one thing, in the First Age, something else. When the First Age fell, they went through some major changes, that set them on the road to becoming what they are now. And I foresee a major change in their future—one that sets the tone for their premise in EX3. (John Mørke)

Q: I was thinking about Lunars (I AM SORRY FOR BRINGING THEM UP. PLEASE FORGIVE ME) and I came to the conclusion that, since I have very little knowledge or personal investment in them thus far (I own none of their books, and there is very little fluff about them in the books I do have) the only real question I would have about them would be: will they still be expected to turn into a huge man-beast if they want to be good fighters? (Omicron)
A: Transforming into a hulking man-beast, fangs bared, claws dripping with gore, is a pretty cool trick to have up one's potential combat sleeves. On the other hand (paw?), it's pretty lame if every Lunar combat build ever included "hulking man-beast transformation" for no reason other than mechanical superiority. Making a power so mechanically powerful or efficient that it's a must-have for any viable combat build is a pretty good way to wreck any uniqueness or sexiness it might have (see also: perfects). (The Demented One)

Q: I don't really think that the Lunars are served well by saying that the coolest things they can do keep them confined to the edges of the world. (Isator Levi)
A: That would definitely be a huge mistake, yes, particularly given that we have an opportunity to go back to square one and aren't trapped into a bunch of mid-edition presentations of the setting. If we fill Creation with vibrant, exciting, high-stakes conflict, and then once again write the Lunars as all sitting off somewhere in the Wyld fucking a tree stump while all this other stuff is going down, that would be a marvelous way to shoot ourselves in the foot in the exact same place for a third time in a row. (Holden)

Q: You know, Holden's comment was a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I feel that there's a grain of truth to it. I feel that, for Lunars to succeed, the fandom does need to slightly get over its aversion to the idea of the Lunars as fulfilling a role of shapeshifting bestial heroes. Not for that to be the sole thing about them, and certainly not for the concept to be implemented badly, and in the context of comments about Liminals, not even with more focus placed on what they are rather than what they do, but.... yeah, maybe a bit less reflexive aversion to the idea. (Isator Levi)
A: Not tongue-in-cheek at all. Give me a game where your class options are "Soldier, Noble, Seer, Werewolf," I will pick werewolf. (Holden)

This is a good example of tangling up concept and execution of concept and then wanting the wrong thing: (Holden)
The most annoying thing about Lunars, any edition so far is that their main schtick, shapeshifting, is one big mechanical void and completely disconnected from their charm set. (Yama Dai O)
"It's bad that this splat has distinct and unique magic, which can lend them a playstyle nobody else can emulate." (Holden)
The second-most annoying bit is the overdose of bling. Trampstamps, Tell, score-keeping moonboard scars... what's next, moonsilver bells and whistles? (Yama Dai O)
"It's bad that this splat is visually striking and distinct." (Holden)
Third most annoying: The Silver Pact, where all these elder Lunars sit around disagreeing in what eco-friendly way they will mess up civilisation this month. "Death to all the pant-wearers!" "Relax, Maha. Here, have some more baby-steak." (Yama Dai O)
"It's bad that this splat has a culture and history." (Holden)
Only annoyance number one is a problem I can't edit out myself, but it's also by far the hardest issue to solve; the beast way is probably to overhaul and upgrade the mutation system into something capable of defining non-human shapes and how these function in combat. Such a thing would be rather useful for non-humanoid demons, gods, etc. as well. (Yama Dai O)
"Remove shapeshifting, visual identifiers, and the idea of Lunar cultures and organizations" is the worst possible take-away from the mis-execution of those things by previous books. (Holden)

Q: What are you doing with the Lunars? (Mostlyjoe)
A: Unthinkable, terrible things! (John Mørke)

Q: Out of the deluge of questions...I really have one about Exalted 3e that's burning for me. My selfish one What is changing about the Lunars, even if only in rough, how are you improving them? (Mostlyjoe)
A: They are going to be devastatingly badass in a fight. I am lining them up to be able to take on Infernals. I want a Lunar swordsman who is just as capable in a fight as a Lunar going full-time DBT. Lunar thematics will be more tightly focused on the dualism of a "good" person who has a monster inside, or a monster who has a good person inside. Rage, transformation, and shapeshifting will be much more strongly evinced in their narrative and their mechanics. (John Mørke)

Q: What about other themes? Like Illusions, magic, what if I want to play a non-combat Lunar? Social, mysterious, etc? How thick is the support for that? (Mostlyjoe)
A: Definite support for social, mysterious Lunars. Not so much illusions. A Lunar has the most majestic god-body ever. They are all about being seen. (John Mørke)

Q: Huh. Well. Unless I'm wildly misunderstanding, that's my interest in 3e Lunars pretty much down the drain. Especially when that's a subset of, like, two and a half TAW Attributes. And this basically reads like it's turning them back into oWoD Werewolves, based largely around physical shapeshifting rather than (say) the illusions that youkai or mythological tricksters were known for.
Oh well. Least I didn't get my hopes too far up. (Aleph)
A: (John Mørke)

I am unable to understand your distress, because it is filtered through a lens of something I know nothing about.

I can say TAW and Nocturnals are two of the greatest works of homebrew ever accomplished, and I would never canonize them because as good as they are, they have been publicly known and available, and I do not publish material for sale which is widely available and has been fully explored.

However, if you want something exactly like Nocturnals or TAW in EX3, the setting has been repackaged to allow your wish to come true, and to have such mighty heroes stand as legitimate equals to their classic Exalted counterparts, recognized 100% by canon in spirit if not by name.

Q: Yeah, sure, in a post on this same AMA, also quoted in this thread above, Hatewheel just said that Lunar swordsmen are going to be as effective as DBT Lunars, but I'm going to focus on this other answer to this other question and declare my despair that Lunars are just going to be oWoD werewolves. (Verzio)
A: (John Mørke)

I love the transformation angle. I love huge warforms. I love guardian beasts and rage-fueled wereheroes. But I don't want every Lunar I play to depend on this, the way I don't want every Solar I play to depend on melee or every 2e Infernal I play to depend on SWL.

Just because Lunars draw some inspiration from Garou—and I am proud of that heritage and have incorporated it into the design—does not mean Lunars are going to be Garou. As you pointed out, I want to be able to play Lunar warriors who do not rely on the DBT.

One commonality is that shapeshifting remains a strong tool, and that Lunars draw extreme power from their physicality, be it from their intense sexuality, their furious / terrifying might, or their ability to shape their reptilian hindbrains to a higher form, making insights of a higher form, seeing with ancient eyes the truths of another age. They are tremendously physical characters and this is something to be proud of, not to run away from.

Illusions are for sissies (jk don't hit me!)

(John Mørke)

Also, the connection between Lunars and animals is Gaia.

Q: (Gaius)

John, thank you for all the answers you've given out, especially those regarding Lunars. They're not shaping up quite as I'd envisioned, but there are also cool angles I hadn't thought about, so all to the good! As a minor note, illusions are out for them, but I remembered hearing talk of giving Lunars some oneiromancy. Would that still be in the offing?

Also, I want to pipe up about the one factor of what you've described that makes me uneasy. I don't know how much of it is my personal issues, though. Basically, I am very, very uncomfortable with rage. Getting pissed-off hasn't led me to do something I'd seriously regret, thankfully, but I always feel like I have to really try to keep myself in check. When I'm that angry, I feel like I am not myself, and it kinda terrifies me. I completely understand how rage can create some intriguing and compelling stories. Exploring them through my character, however... would just cause me too much discomfort to enjoy things.

So, given where I'm coming from... How central is rage to the Lunar narrative? How feasible are Lunars in whom that rage is downplayed in the extreme or basically absent?

A: You have asked a question that is hard to answer without giving away more of my plans than I want to this far out from their hardback. (John Mørke)

Q: Will Lunar Bond/Lunar-Solar dynamics be revised in any way? (babyseal)
A: Yes. (Holden)

Q: Not big on the concept of dualism like this [between human and monster] in general, it seems to imply that there is some sort of necessary conflict between being a "monster" and a "good person" that require the two to be somehow separate. (limaxophobiac)
A: Entirely true, and largely phrased that way because if we had simply said "Luna Exalts people who are monsters on the inside or the outside" a lot of people would assume that we meant Lunars are Dexter, which, no. (Holden)

Q: My first thought was "so... Garou?". And to be clear, that's not a dig; Lunars sometimes get flak for poorly handling their Werewolf roots, but I think there's still some gold in there if you know where to look. (Blackwell)
A: "Werewolf-inspired Exalted" is arguably an even richer concept-mine than "Frankenstein-inspired Exalted." [1] Taking the oWoD's particular interpretation of werewolves as both a solid starting point and a limiter for exploring the concept is a terrible mistake, though.

[1] Particularly when you expand "Frankenstein" to "all tales of created life or unnatural outcasts are fair game for inspiration," and particularly when you expand "werewolf" to "all tales of bestial dualism, and all shapeshifting folklore of any kind." I mean, hardly anyone in America has ever even heard of them, but I could riff on African werehyena legends alone pretty much forever. (Holden)

Q: I like the idea of "dualism" but I'm not so keen on the "human vs monster" and have actually seen that more in the province of (gasp!) other splats (don't kill me). I like the idea of Lunars being champions of two worlds--exiles, outsiders, emigrants, and wanderers--and having to either choose one world or another or somehow trying to reconcile them.
ETA: More importantly I always hated chimerism and its tendency to drag Lunars into really dumb places. Maybe 3e will make it not suck. (Cromage)
A: Human vs. monster isn't on the schedule. I'm not turning Lunars into a werewolf story.
Chimeraism is going to be way different in EX3. (John Mørke)


I should probably, for the benefit of the actual Lunar fans on the board, let you all know that the more people shove [Terrifying Argent Witches] in my face nonstop when we're trying to talk about 3e Lunars, the stronger the urge grows to deliberately erase any points of similarity between Lunars and TAW. I'm glad you guys put together a successful homebrew project. We're not using it as the basis for what we're doing. And there are already 500 TAW threads. Tearing down what we're doing (and what many people enjoy about Lunars) to shill your stuff is not classy.

Q: I mention TAW only as a way to assure people that I'm not, nor will I become, angry over this subject, because I have an acceptable fallback option. I am not throwing it in your face: My posts are meant purely as a discussion of canon Lunars and the direction they seem to be taking. (Imrix)
A: The problem with this is that the gist of this post is "Well, TAW did things this way, and I like the way it does things better." You might not mean for it to sound like "You guys should use TAW because I don't like what you have planned", but that's the way it comes across whenever you bring it up. Trust me, the entire dev team is familiar with TAW, its tenets, etc; it went off in a very different direction from what they have planned. TAW is very solidly rooted in 2e, and even if making it official didn't raise ugly property issues, it wouldn't mesh well with the rest of Exalted 3e. At all. (Chai Tea)

Q: Then I fucked up my delivery, because what I'm trying to get at, is how much... Hmm, busywork Lunars put in the way of making a character, and lamenting that one of the largest parts of this is going to remain unavoidable. This is something I've been talking about since well before the TAW project ever started. (Imrix)
A: Picking out a creature that even kind of vaguely acts as a personal symbol or motif for your character is "busywork"? I'd hope that you'd enter character creation with at least an idea of the sort of person you want to play, what their personality traits are, and so forth. I've always found the spirit shape to be an interesting thought exercise, even with characters whose shapes were difficult to figure out.
YMMV, of course. (Chai Tea)

(John Mørke)

We're not trying to model the Hulk with Lunars, though there are some things about the Hulk that I admire.

I don't think Mystique is the best Lunar inspiration. I saw her quite a bit but never knew much about her. From what I saw, she was a conniving coward and a psychologically abusive mother. If shapeshifting is all it takes to make you a Lunar, so is the T-1000 and that guy from Deep Space Nine.

I don't plan on turning Lunars into the Animal Exalted, because there are a few problems with that premise:

1) Animal powers using animal logic go in a Sci-Fi direction, unfitting for a mythology world.
2) Animal powers being the source of your awesome power makes you feel like the Chosen of Zoo Tycoon.

That doesn't mean we get rid of the spirit shape or animal associations for some of their magic. That does mean that we probably don't want their Charm set being modeled in its entirety after Things Animals Do™. A mythic association is cool here and there (Graceful Crane Stance, Ten Ox Meditation), but when my greatest intelligence Charm is based on an elephant or a dolphin I start to feel like a monkey, and the whole Charm set starts to look like Jump the Shark Prana.

(Chai Tea)

Darn it, John, you sniped me.

But yeah, one of the advantages of having new Exalted around is that Lunars no longer have to encompass literally every shapeshifter ever. Instead, they get to be a specific type of shapeshifter, broad enough to contain a wide variety of concepts without being so broad they lose thematic coherence. And it's really important that Lunars get that coherence in 3e.

Point being, Lunars can borrow animal-based symbolism for their powers without being limited to that.

Q: I'll just ask one more question and then go back to anticipating 3E itself, rather than what might be its third splat at best - how recognizable will the Spirit Shape be in 3E? Is it essentially the same, in principle if not in practice, as the Spirit Shape of 2E? Or is it the same name for a rather different phenomenon? (Revlid)
A: (John Mørke)

It is still the animal you choose to be the basis for your DBT. How much I force it into your character's appearance remains to be seen. If you don't want to be a DBT Lunar, I'd rather you think of DBT / spirit shape as the tool you relied on when your Lunar was still young, inexperienced, and less powerful, rather than ignoring it entirely. I want to help people build away from a DBT-based character through powers that work when you are in your human form and don't work when you are in DBT.

Once you reach that point, it is my intention that the spirit shape, through a clever use of keywords and associations, provide you a favored discount on Charms whose Attributes you don't favor, going so far as to change the Charm's prerequisites and shift it to a logical place in your current Charm trees (if one exists). So even if you ignore your spirit shape in roleplay, its themes are there helping you by providing a framework to power up your character.

I also realize that one of the reasons people search so furiously for meaning beyond DBT is because a single animal is so constraining, so I am looking at completely redoing Chimeraism so that it is an accepted state, so that players can make cool-looking hybrid monsters with lots of different traits.

Note that everything I've said here is "Maybe" not "I promise" and is subject to change. This is about as far as I am willing to reach into my giant vault of future noise to show people, but I feel like the general tone of acceptance and readiness for big new ideas has reached a level where such a classified view won't confuse and upset anyone.

Q: I'm excited about the "mythic" qualities of animals which are being emphasized here, because most human mythology roots in animals of one kind or another. I'm a little sad to see the scientific bits go, though...I really liked playing arthropod or deep-sea totems with strange and alien themes and powers. I've seen players get a lot of terrifying mileage out of spiders, wasps, sea urchins, centipedes, and in one absolutely horrifying case a tick-totemed Lunar. Dear Devs: please remember that some of us really really really love bugs, and that bugs are CRAZY AWESOME in terms of ideas for neat powers, even if you don't copy them exactly. (Wise Old Guru)
A: I love me some weird totems, too. I would not want to see them disappear either, and I don't think they will. That said, I think that in the places the Charms reference animals, they will reference things animals are famous for in human mythology and culture. (i.e., no Pistol Shrimp Ignites the Sun Atemi.) (Chai Tea)

Q: Can you give a name and personality to Chompy? (SurlySeraph)
A: Yes! (John Mørke)

Q: I'm still wondering if Thousand Streams River will be a thing. Even though I liked it when reading about 2e, I'd be surprised if it made it into 3e... from what I understand it was one of the symptoms of the problems with 2e Lunars. (Morty)
A: No, TSR is gone. Lunars have more interesting things going on than trying to be made-in-Hong-Kong Solars :p (Holden)

(John Mørke)

We recognize that a lot of people who want to play Lunars have been turned off by having to kill people to take their shapes, so we want to provide you with a lot of options.

Right now, the hunt for heart's blood is your default shapestealing ability, but you will be able to progress into different techniques for shapestealing, such as taking a person's form by sleeping with them.

Are there any other methods you might want to see a Lunar employ?

Q: (lokiashaman)


If I have a positive Intimacy to someone, I obviously don't want to kill them for their shape. And sometimes sex is out of the question (your own child, best friend platonic, etc). As a Steward, a Lunar needs to be able to protect those s/he loves. What better way to protect someone than to take their form and be their body double? When an assassin comes to kill those I care about, they will find their target is actually me. Examples: Star War's Queen Amidala and her body doubles.

Similarly, negative Intimacies. I might not want to kill my enemy (not yet), I might want to ruin them first. Through my hatred, I take their form. As my enemy, I cheat on his spouse - and get caught. As my enemy, I tear apart everything he has. I give false orders to his army or his treasurer. I break the hearts of everyone who loves him. I antagonise his friends, and taunt his enemies.

I could see them being part of the same power (charm or knack if those still exist), or I could see them being 2 seperate purchases perhaps with one being the pre-req for the other. The 2nd veers towards Ebon Dragon a bit, but seems very fitting for a vengeful Lunar.

A: (John Mørke)

I can confirm that intimacy-related shape-taking is already in my plans.

General statements for the thread: Lunars have physicality as a default. I'm not throwing that out.

A No-Moon trying to do sorcerous or craft-related things isn't going to be looking to his shapeshifting tool set to do those things. How does shapeshifting benefit him? When the Wyld Hunt shows up, he flies away.

Someone noted that they feel physicality is a part of form taking, not so much observation. I agree.

Though I am pretty keen on stalker shape-stealing, as proposed by S.L. earlier in the thread.

Q: If someone wanted to play a character who didn't change their own body at all, would you recommend against them playing a Lunar? (BrilliantRain)
A: Yes, as well as a couple of other splats. (Holden)


I'll get this out of the way so it doesn't immediately tackle the thread off a cliff and into a bottomless pit:

In 3e you can play a Lunar who was born and grew up in Nexus, who joined the Guild and made a fortune in business, who regularly attends high-society galas in expensive imported Calinese silk gowns, sips tea with her pinky out, and who thinks the centralized welfare state is a pretty great idea. This is just as viable as Solar Conan. Good? Good.

That said, there's a default stone-and-leather slant that colors Lunars. This is your guide to not freaking out: what's going on and why.

Let's start by looking at the idea of "barbarism," because people conflate a lot of stuff into that word. Let's split it up into three sub-concepts:

• Ideological barbarism - barbarism-as-philosophy, barbarism as a deliberate rejection of civilization

• Political barbarism - barbarism-as-lifestyle-- the daily socio-economic-technological realities of groups we identify as 'barbarian' in Exalted

• Stylistic barbarism - the visuals and tropes conjured up by the word 'barbarian' for us, the audience, mostly composed of fantasy readers

We'll start with that first one, because it's the one people are scared to death of. Ideological barbarism is some kind of intentional "barbarian ethos," of the sort that people sometimes think Conan espoused because of quotes that get tossed around-- and to be fair, Conan did say things like "barbarians are much more polite than civilized men, since civilized men do not think, as a matter of course, that they may have their skulls cloven in twain." Ideological barbarism is a deliberate rejection of 'civilized comforts' on philosophical grounds-- a demonization of city-dwelling folks for being 'soft' and 'weak' and 'false' and generally 'non-people,' and thus valid targets for abuse. It's a platform for glorifying the lifestyle of the "political barbarian" (see below) and justifying the superiority of his way of life.

In First Edition, the Lunars were built around ideological barbarism. It was their rock, their way of life, and their thesis as a splat.

Now forget about that completely for a moment-- pretend it has never crossed your mind, because we're going to look at political barbarism as something fully divorced from that concept.

Political barbarism is "real" barbarism (as your average fantasy-fiction-consuming American would understand the term) -- i.e. it's the daily realities of "barbarian" type peoples. In the real world, this is an incredibly diverse grouping that you really don't want to generalize about because it runs the gamut from the historical Mongols (who almost conquered the world) to the plains nations of North America to the Mayans and Olmecs, who had incredibly complex and sophisticated societies and empires, despite that they never really did much of anything with metallurgy or the wheel.

We're going to simplify it down to "guys who don't really build cities, or sustain themselves primarily on sedentary agriculture, or have really good metallurgy or at least not the capabilities for large-scale application thereof." I.e. the wilderness-dwelling, furry-underwear, we-call-our-boss-a-chieftain crowd.

These are extremely diverse groups in Creation, as in the real world, but there are some generalities you can lay down that won't be hilariously wrong too often. Generally they're located in resource-poor regions and are exploited or marginalized by more powerful neighbors. Generally they have much stronger ties to the local spirits than 'civilized' folks do, because they have much greater need of divine protection and assistance. Generally they are impoverished in comparison to their 'civilized' neighbors. Generally some degree of predation on other communities is necessary to handle the necessities of life (you'll notice everything keeps tying back to the fact that these are people situated in resource-poor or otherwise undesirable locations).

Notably, the political barbarian is usually not an ideological barbarian-- like Conan, give him the chance to fill his pockets with jewels and indulge himself in wine, women, fine clothing, and to otherwise reap the benefits of a high-sophistication society, and he'll jump at it. There's a reason these guys raid settled, built-up locations: They want the shit those guys have.

Finally, stylistic barbarism is kind of our tentpole here-- there's a definite aesthetic vibe to sun-darkened skin and rippling muscles, which are on display because the character in question is just wearing some animal skins; to a character well-versed in the ways of the wilderness, with honed instincts and practical wisdom; to the idea of fast living, easy violence, and living in the moment. This often doesn't actually mesh with the realities of the political barbarian, but it's the imago that guides our attempts to categorize him, above.

So what about Lunars?

The idea in First Edition was that each splat was a dedicated aesthetic and stylistic package, except for Solars, who were highly versatile. Solars could do most everything, but if you wanted a custom-crafted experience FOCUSED on one thing, you went to the other Exalts: DBs were there for decadent political intrigue, Abyssals for gothic melodrama, and Lunars for barbaric savage fantasy. As a result, they were modeled after the stylistic barbarian, and to really hammer the experience home, were built as ideological barbarians. They were philosophically anti-civilization and anti-intellectual. They were barbarians because "civilization makes you weak."

3e Lunars are not ideological barbarians. Many of them were not born to barbarian peoples (although many were) and have no particular fondness for or attachment to a minimalist frontier lifestyle. They enjoy luxury as much as any other Exalt.

3e Lunars also can't quite be said to be political barbarians. I mean, some of them were! Because political barbarians are marginal peoples, they often don't have much in the way of resources to exploit-- the Realm often looks at them as nuisance groups or potential slave labor pools rather than subjects to be assimilated and exploited. This often pushes them even further out into the wilderness, away from the Realm's sphere of influence. Alternately, those in resource-rich environments (such as the forests of the deep, deep East) are often living in hostile areas that are difficult for outsiders to reach. What that all adds up to is, "a Lunar living in a barbarian society is often much more difficult for the Wyld Hunt to quickly and efficiently target than one living in the Lap." There's natural selection at work there.

But think back to what we said earlier-- the political barbarian is a dude who comes from certain circumstances. He's not usually ideologically married to his lifestyle-- even if he says "being dirt-poor is a virtue!" he is generally saying that because he has no way to change his situation so he may as well take some kind of pride in it. Given the sudden ability to go out and grab whatever he wants from the world, he will generally do so-- his outlook and ambitions won't remain limited and provincial for very long. So even Lunars who are born of barbarian cultures will usually get a perspective bigger than that culture in short order-- either by moving outside of it directly, or by taking it over and transforming it and starting to bump into their political and supernatural neighbors, necessitating a bigger-picture view.

They are, however, intended to partake of stylistic barbarism-- they're designed for it from the ground up and many of their problems in Second Edition came from a deliberate attempt to reject this, I think as a result of conflating it with the other two kinds of barbarism. The fact of the matter is, to the degree that the Exalted splats echo other source material, Lunars are werewolves, tribal legends, and pagan culture-heroes. They're supposed to look rough-edged compared to the more refined Solars; their Attribute magic is supposed to look raw and powerful compared to the deft, polished sheen of Ability magic; their shapeshifting points to a primal font of imagery and aptitude-- their archetypes are "warrior, trickster, shaman."

You can put a twist on this and have Lunar who emphasizes polished sophistication (same as you can have a heavily-armored Sidereal)-- you absolutely can! The Vikings were one of the earlier cultures to have both lawyers and lawsuits. Nothing up there says Lunars have to be simple or dumb. But there's a lot of stuff in the Lunar design that pushes toward a powerful, primal, nature-saturated set of iconography.

The trick, of course, is answering the question "Well, why?" If they tend to get a bigger view of the world and a greater ability to achieve their ambitions than the average tribal dude, why would they continue to hang around and mess with margin cultures? 1e answered "because they are barbarians on an ideological level-- they have a philosophical devotion to the SUPERIORITY of that lifestyle."

That's not the answer 3e is going for. There are some things about 3e Lunars we're not ready to reveal yet, but in general, what we're looking at is to retain some of the baked-in barbarian iconography-- it's a VERY strong wellspring of concepts and images to play with, and I think we'd be fools to discard it in favor of something more amorphous or shallow-- and to maintain the setting phenomenon of heavy Lunar involvement with politically barbaric cultures (note that "heavy" is not "exclusive"). The impetus to such involvement in 3e comes from the history that has shaped the Lunars, and the realities of their current position in Creation. What that means is that, yes, a Lunar may decide to burn down a city or tear up a road-- but if he does so, he has a specific reason for it, because Lunars aren't motivated by the idea that "cities and roads are bad."

Why even do it this way at all, if there are so many thorns to navigate around? Mostly because it's cool. I've been working on Liminals for most of the day today, basking in how awesome it is to get to play with all these peripheral themes branching out from the core idea of Frankenstein-- clone stories, alienation stories, stories about belonging-- and reflecting, occasionally, on how the werewolf gets an even broader range of stuff to play with if you blow it up enough-- never mind bringing in things like the Anansi stories or Robert E. Howard's evocative writing to back it up. All Exalt types need a strong well of iconography to draw on, and it would be foolish not to go mining in a vein as rich as the one the old school Lunars offered up.

I was going to go into the particulars of Lunar-barbarian involvement in 3e in this post but it's already like, jesus, almost 2,000 words long? If I keep going much more I'll have to revive Ink Monkeys and make it a blog post. So how about instead, I open the floor to questions and discussion? If you want to know more about why Lunars are positioned the way they are, shoot. If you don't like the idea of barbarian anything, let's look at the reasons why it may not have been presented in an appealing manner in the past. The shorter and simpler your post, the more likely it is to get a response. Also, before posting it, scroll back up to the top and read the second paragraph again, because it didn't stop being true over the course of the last 1700 words.

Let the posting commence!

Q: I guess my first question would be, can you possibly give an example of a politically barbaric Lunar? (EzraHattix)
A: (Holden)

It would be tough to do so, because it doesn't really apply to Lunars-- it's not that Lunars are politically barbarian so much as that some of them come from that background, and many of them interact with such groups. But like all Exalts, they're individuals that are bigger than their backstory, or very quickly become that way.

The takeaway here should not be "Lunars are barbarians," that is false. A Lunar interacting with a barbarian culture is generally going to be moving through it as a hero or patron or god, standing above the barbarian peoples, rather than among them.

edit: A true "Lunar barbarian" is probably going to be about as common as a Sidereal patriot. That is to say, it's possible, but not tremendously likely-- their post-Exaltation experiences are going to exert a lot of pressure to distance them from their cultural background and push them toward a bigger perspective.

Q: Second, as a Lunar who is being a bit of a world walker. Someone who holds a lot of pride in the forms they take. Would it be correct to assume that they, with this more refined vision, might be a bit opposed to the people living truly decadent lifestyles in cities where they have no connection with animals. Who have no appreciation for the animals they butcher and eat, or for the animals homes they destroy in their constant need for expansion? (EzraHattix)
A: No, they [as a splat] [sic] are not defenders of the animal kingdom or protectors of the wild, untamed wood. (John Mørke)
A: It could be, but I mean, you could say the same of a Solar from a similar background. A Lunar might not like going anywhere near Nexus with its horribly polluted river, but I suspect that would probably have much more to do with what the Grey River smells like to someone with the keen nose of a wolf rather than any kind of philosophical objection. (Holden)

Q: To what extent is the 'frenzy' aspect of the Lunar Exalted going to tied to all of this? Will Lunars be more emotional or moody? Will the Full Moon give limit? Will Lunar Limit breaks involve largely animal-themed expressions of primal emotion? (MissMaddy)
A: Frenzy aspects are choice driven, not the default state of all Lunars. Full Moon insanity is getting tossed entirely out. Lunar Limit Breaks are undetermined, but are likely to change from what they were. (John Mørke)

Q: In what, if any, way could Lunar barbarism, of any stripe, be said to be a Second Age phenomenon? Because a political or an ideological barbarian would seem to me to be responses to the Age current Lunars live in. As Tiresias touched on above, since the Realm is, generally, considered the definition of "civilization," then Lunar rejection of and animosity towards it, whether ideological or stylistic, would be by definition "barbarian." Was this then different in the First Age? (Anaximander)
A: Lunars were very different in the First Age, and were guardians of the Realm. (Holden)


Fun fact: I'm currently writing a thesis on the Occupy movement as a form of barbarism and the response to the Occupy movement as a civilizing project (among a couple of related things).

The thing with barbarism is that it's relative to the nearest hegemony. You can have a complex committee structure, logistical arrangements, health care services and a highly educated population, if you don't fit the model of the local hegemony, you are a barbarian. Officials will assume you and the people around you are homeless. Health inspectors will come by and make sure you know how to wash dishes properly. Fire inspectors will snoop around to make sure you aren't using any candles in your tent and if you (completely legally) deny them entry, they'll tell their superiors that you're preventing them from doing your job and that future inspections should be carried out after dark without warning in case people are only following the rules when they see the inspector coming. Even if you are completely peaceful, these inspectors will all be escorted by armed police officers for their personal safety. Because you're a barbarian and barbarians can't be trusted to follow the rules like properly civilized human beings are.

The British considered the Chinese to be barbaric backwards people speaking gibberish. The Chinese considered the British to be uncultured smelly barbarians. Ultimately the word is a slur meaning "you're too stupid to appreciate my cultural values, which are the correct ones." But that's not a useful position for us because we're proceeding from the desire to capture a set of aesthetics and moods (which neither the Chinese nor British fit, and which are kinda culturally insensitive, but still hella fun to play with and deeply rooted in the pulp fantasy source material of the game). (Holden)

The biggest hegemony in Creation is the Realm. The Realm wants stuff. Everyone that isn't giving stuff to the Realm is a barbarian and needs to be civilized (read: turned into a satrapy or tributary). In most places, barbarism is going to be almost the same as "Fuck the Realm." (Tiresias)

Plenty of civilized places are also like "fuck the Realm," usually because it has its boot on their neck. Very few places actually like the Realm. The Lunars have a far more personal grudge against the Realm, and marginal tribal groups are one of their primary weapons of choice against it because it fits very well with their collective aptitudes and attitude, and the strategic necessities they find themselves facing.

(Ironically, one of the best tools by which a Lunar can harness a barbarian culture into a weapon is by cultivating or stressing a purist barbarian ideology, which the Lunar in question probably doesn't really buy into. Just about no culture really has the kind of PURE barbarian ideology shown in the 1e book-- anything like that is generally an expression of cultural superiority, and is particular to THAT culture, not to that culture and all other cultures vaguely like it.)

Q: [...]I think a sidebar on this might be useful in the 3e Lunars book, especially if there are any Lunars who still spout Ideological Barbarism around. (BrilliantRain)
A: (Holden)

There probably are. But note that these aren't terms/categories you'll probably ever see me mentioning again-- certainly they won't show up in a book. I'm mostly breaking it down this way to get people accustomed to not automatically conflating "barbarian" with "frothing lunatic looking to burn down all the cities and make everyone sleep on the ground."

As John pointed out to me recently, the native American nations are kind of a good example of a "barbaric" group with some ideological elements. Note that the various nations enthusiastically adopted the horse, the gun, and various other European things that either provided them with luxury or made supporting their preferred way of life easier, but then wanted nothing to do with anything that would shift that lifestyle into some radically different mode (i.e. they were not interested in milling, mining, share-cropping, etc) -- to say nothing of having their culture or traditions paved over or relocating themselves.

But that's still a very far cry from "tear down all the cities, salt the earth where they stood." Probably you'll see some Lunars like that-- Exalts are prone to extreme expressions of their favored ideology because they can actually implement those expressions-- but you won't see a majority of Lunars like that.

Q: Are Lunars going to be more closely associated with loin-clad savages or with jomsvikings (complete with awesome mythology, a religion that encourages them to seek battle to die like heroes, solid metallurgy and strict codes and laws)? (Black Paper Moon)
A: Rather depends on who they are and what they're doing, doesn't it? (Holden)

Q: Going back to your second paragraph, is this high-society, "civilised" Lunar going to be an effective one? Is she going to get as much out of her Charms as the swords-and-sandals Lunar going around transforming into animals and playing barbarian god? To what degree are you going to be crippled if you want to ignore (or severely downplay) animalistic, rage and barbarism so as to play a sophisticated warrior / socialite? (Black Paper Moon)
A: "This is just as viable as Solar Conan." To what degree is Solar Conan crippling himself by pursuing that concept? (Holden)

(John Mørke)

Lunars are barbarians, least of all because they live in the wild and are marked by it. They are ideological barbarians, not because they want to crush civilization or consider society bad or “weak,” but because of their ideological rejection of Celestial society and its political by-product, the Realm. It is only natural that they would cull a power base from barbarians. They walk among these people as gods. They do not necessarily care about them or share their opinions on the Realm or their reasons for fighting it.

Lunars weaponize cultures. Barbaric civilization presents a morass of ideologies, beliefs, followers, warriors, worshipers, and spouses who need not be turned against the Realm, because they live their lives in mortal opposition to the Realm, and see the Lunars as liberators, gods, Heroes-of-Heroes... and it lines up with whatever X tribe or Y culture wants to think about it, because none of them realize that the Lunars don't necessarily agree with any of their reasons for wanting to raid Realm satrapies or crush Realm inquests.

Q: (volkmar)

Here a few questions.

Exalts types usually try to cover all bases, no matter what their general theme is. So you have No moon lunars, Not of Secrets Sidereals and so on.

How will this be done with Lunars? The Barbarian theme does not really do well when you are thinking of a crafter, a scholar, a bard or any other profession BASED on civilization and the existence of non-essential commodities.

In shorts what I would like to hear is your idea of what a scholar/craftsman/bard barbarian looks like and how the Lunar exaltation helps you in that.

A: The first thing to recognize is that they might originate with barbarians but after that it's just an association. The Silver Pact exists as a network sitting above barbarian culture, not drawing on it. The elder Lunars have seen the First Age, so they do not necessarily adapt a barbaric set of values. Rather, Lunars are animalistic, savage, and bestial by nature, and are right at home living in the wilderness, so their circles tend to cross through barbarian society and territory as a matter of course. That said, someone who is savage, barbaric, and bestial is not mutually exclusive to someone who can build a daiklave, or repair the weather controls in Rathess. (John Mørke)

I do have a few concerns about "barbarian aesthetics" being such an important deal. I love non-European fashion sense and art immensely, but one has to be really careful with the baggage that comes with this sort of thing. Exalted does a pretty good job drawing in players with its gender politics. I want us to be very careful that we not scare off players with racial politics. And these aesthetics are deeply intertwined with real-world racial overtones, and the "barbarian/civilized" dichotomy is deeply intertwined with still-relevant and deeply-felt passions in the real world. It's apparent that Holden and the others are aware of this, but I just want to remind everyone of the issue. (Wise Old Guru)
A: Our current most high-profile barbarians in the setting are a bunch of white dudes (the Icewalkers). I'm not really worried about this. (Holden)

Q: I understood from what you gents said that lunars are now thematically savages, instead of literal savages. Meaning they look like savages but are not necessarily so. (Cue Leviathan speaking with Victorian English accent and words from now on) (volkmar)
A: Pretty much. That illustration from the Modern Age chapter of Shards is a pretty good depiction of the kind of style you can expect from an urban Lunar-- graceful, sophisticated, and as soon as that elevator finishes closing, something terrible is going to happen in there. (Holden)
Q: I was merely curious how does that help in making daiklaves or repairing the weather controls in Rathess or in any other thing that requires a bit more specialized knowledge than "hammer, nail, hit" assuming a Lunar would not be out of place doing any of those things.
I'm also curious if shapeshifting would come into this somewhere. Ie: could you have a "smart" form, maybe taking on demon or spiritual shapes? (volkmar)
A: (Holden)

Shapeshifting doesn't help you with those things. (Well, I mean, maybe you could turn into a mouse to crawl inside a sky mantis tower and jigger some delicate parts back into alignment by hand? I dunno. Mostly it doesn't.)

It's not like Lunars have some kind of special brain damage that makes them less-able to learn things than other Exalts. They can study Lore, Craft, Occult, sure. Their magic isn't the best in the world at building stuff, although they have stuff to help with it. They're certainly not the peers of the Solars in that category or anything (but then, who is?).

Generally speaking, as a group, Lunars are less dependent on external props than anyone else-- from artifacts to infrastructure-- and this is one reason why they tend to favor simple, robust tools that are either very difficult to break, or which are easy to replace.

That said, keep in mind-- they have Intelligence Charms. You will, from time to time, see Lunar Tony Stark building amazing shit in a cave, out of scraps. But as a whole they don't trend toward sophisticated big-scale manufacturing projects, in large part because the majority of Lunars don't like doing anything that requires them to set up an immobile and semi-permanent base of operations, like a fully-stocked-and-kitted artificer's workshop. It's more common to see a Lunar set up a temporary work site, build a daiklave or some armor or some similar piece of personal kit for himself or for someone else, and then break down the site, hide any of the components he can't easily replace, and then move on until he needs it again some years later. Most Lunars operate on wartime footing at all times, and they are all priority targets.*

*There are exceptions to all these things, and they tend to be interesting subjects in their own right.

This is the first thing I've heard of 3e Lunars that truly excites me, as 1e and 2e both liked to pretend Lunars were brain-damaged (since the crafting system was entirely dependent on either uncommonly long downtimes given the 10-year span most games are expected to never breach, or charms to reduce those downtime requirements). I hope this remains a true part of the plan all the way to the 3e Lunar book and beyond, and Sidereals are also capable [Serenity does favor Craft, after all]. (Kitsunemimi-Maiden)

Mmm. Just keep in mind that I said "amazing shit" rather than "power armor" or "warstriders" intentionally. When you go off the grid, you don't get the benefits of the grid, so to speak. That still leaves the ability to make moonsilver plate, personal weapons, mystic veils, and other such magical wonders well within your capabilities-- and frankly, those things are generally better-suited to Lunar endeavors than something that needs specialist personnel to maintain and repair and a manse to keep it running anyway.

If you're looking for someone that can outperform a maxed out Solar artifact-crafter-- you're not going to find one. If you're looking to play a Lunar that can make cool artifacts and enhance the story, sure. 3e crafting should be fun, whichever kind of Exalt you're playing.


I think it could be useful to remember, just for a moment, what Raksi is and why there's an NPC named Raksi in the books.

Raksi is a shapeshifting cannibal whose Tell is that her hands are backwards. Remind you of anything? She's is The Rakshasa, the Hindu shapeshifting cannibal trickster-demon who can assume any form, but who can always be recognized because its hands are backwards, which is why it compulsively hides them behind its back when interacting with people. You may recognize them from D&D, where they all have tiger-heads, but in actual Hindu mythology they're not tied to that form at all.

Note that Raksi was named Raksi, and very clearly fulfilled the archetype of The Rakshasa, about two years before the Fair Folk got renamed the raksha.

This places certain boundary conditions on what anyone can or should want to do with Raksi. For example, she needs to stay a cannibal. She also needs to keep her backwards-hands Tell, which is tricky inasmuch as the Tell is supposed to be an animal feature, but really the problem there is the idea that the Tell needs to be an animal feature, since Raksi's Tell is drawn directly from the mythology surrounding her archetype.

So the question is not so much "Should Raksi remain a cannibal in 3e?" The answer to that one is "What are you, dense? What would be the point of even keeping her at all if we got rid of the cannibalism?" The question is "How can we keep Raksi herself, i.e. in fullfillment of her own archetype, while making her a deep, interesting, and useful enough character to not be a fucking waste of wordcount?"


"Lunar Dominion" is a catch-all term for "Place that is under the political control of a Lunar." Many of them will just be tracts of territory inhabited by tribes a given Lunar is capable of influencing (Ma-Ha-Suchi's preferred barbarian tribes), some are going to be specific locales (see Mahalanka). These things have always been here.

That is a take on 2e I had not heard before, honestly. I have friends who tell me constantly how frustrated they are about how so many things in-setting explicitly require Solars to function (Denandsor is one example), and you'd be hard pressed to convince me that anyone was less relevant to the setting than Lunars have been. (K0npeito)
[...]As for Lunars, I've worked to make them way more relevant. It's just that the game's hinges turn on Solars. I could have left the Lunars out of EX3 and my superiors would have agreed with my reasons for doing so. They're in EX3 because I like them and I want them to be there. I'm not saying that disappointing Lunars didn't hurt 2e. (John Mørke)

Q: (Excelsiortothemax)

Lunar Questions:
Is DBT still the signature knack for Lunars?
Do Lunars still have knacks or are they shunted to charms now?
Solar bond, how will it work?
Moonsilver tattoos: Still in?
Moonsilver armor, shapeshift with Lunar?
Silverpact, still the ruling body for Lunars?
Since Lunars have established kingdoms now, will they have greater access to arms and armament and not just all be about barbarian hordes?
Will Lunars be capable in the new mass combat?
Chimeras, still in? Lunar tattoos, still required?
That's it for now. Thank you for your time.

A: Lunars are in transition and close to being worked on directly, so I'm limiting my comments.
They will definitely have moonsilver tats, though. (John Mørke)

Not gonna lie, I was really hoping that with the hard reboot everything's getting Lunars would get all five castes back. It's always bugged me that their reason for not matching the ubiquitous fivefold symmetry of the setting was "whoops." Especially since they don't explicitly need the Wyld to hide from Fate anymore... (K0npeito)
(John Mørke)

The symmetry is still pretty strong as of right now, even with a number of new Exalts who don't adhere to the pattern.

The lost caste idea has been turned into a really important, interesting detail as of EX3.

As for someone's comments about Chimera: aside from representing Lunars who want to customize their beast-form, Chimera as it was is pretty much gone. With the caveat that all projections about Chimera are not dead solid facts at this time.

(John Mørke)

It isn't as hard as people think it is to make Lunars good. They have all the ingredients for a great design. It's the presentation that has always been the problem. A good presentation breaks down biases and eliminates misconceptions about your ideas. This is one of the fundamental concepts of good design.

People turn away from classic Lunars and change them into something else because they aren't good at design.

It's not a habit I foster with anyone I work with. I push them to understand the reason why something failed, to get to the closest statement of a problem in order to supply the best solution.

It all goes back to my first axiom: You can never produce the best solution until you make the truest statement about what the problem is.

Over time, that has grown to encompass another statement: You may not find the best solution your first try, but the one you find will lead you to the one you need.

I think that people don't understand what was wrong with Lunars, so they avoid the problem by just getting rid of whatever they can't explain.

This has caused Lunar fans to ask me to remove the following things:

-Shapeshifting into animals
-Solar bond
-Association with barbarians
-Elder Lunars
-The Silver Pact
-The lost castes

Given the tremendous ingredients above, when what you have left isn't identifiable as what you started out with, you're doing it wrong.

(John Mørke)

Lunars have never had a station of world-importance equal to the Sidereals or the Solars. This is not a bug, but rather a feature. Their past was defined by their relationship and subservience to the Solar Exalted. They were not the Wyld Kings or the leaders of the raksha, or the agents of the Bureau of Wyld Affairs. When the Solars vanished, their place vanished.

This is supposed to be the inertia that impels the Lunars into the present. It is supposed to be the thing that uplifts and defines them. Not the state of being some relentless functionary, or having a definite place at the top (the top has lost its head, so that doesn't even make sense anymore) but rather figuring out what the fuck to do next. That's right, friends: the Lunars face the exact same existential terror that you do. But they are equipped with moonsilver claws and fangs that can rend the night and the wind and the fear. They can look into the face of the Endless with a snarl of rage, drag down the Nameless Beast from its throne and end its power over them for a time.

It was not ever supposed to be about having a place, it was supposed to be about finding one. Being a Lunar was about being a refugee, and all the struggles that entails. The previous games dropped the ball on this. 1e was provincially aware of it, but overshadowed it in its focus on barbarism. 2e, sadly, did what 2e did and made them a sad functionary parallel to Sidereals, and it doesn't make sense because the twin infrastructures of "nature" and the "Wyld" are non existent. These are things that take care of themselves.

The biggest question on the minds of readers, whether they have voiced it to themselves or not, is going to be whether it's okay to be a Lunar. If you are okay with being a Lunar, then we will have Charms and mechanics for you, to make sure that your game provides countless hours of entertainment.

(John Mørke)

Using scents to attract people = awesome.

Animalpalooza = silly.

There's no mythical resonance in most animals. While they can gain advantages from shapeshifting, Lunars are not going to be the animal Exalted.

I won't write a Charm called Hermit Crab Finds a Shelter that lets you wear any object you can fit inside and treat it as a house. I will write a Charm that lets you work someone with pheromones because that's resonant of more than just an animalperson and can be taken as a ground floor association rather than an apex piece of the design.

I wonder at something that was said once...
The Lunars are stated to have been guardians of the Old Realm.
It was their role, but not their function; presumably, Lunars won't really have Charms built around the purpose of guarding things. (Isator Levi)
Correct. Lunars are flexible and adaptable, rather than having a hard-coded purpose like some Exalts (Sids). (Holden)
I hope the question "what did the Realm need protection from so much that fucking Lunars were the best choice for the job" is not something STs will have to fill in themselves. (Arrakiz)
Sedition, insurrections, mad gods, a gigantic half-untamed world, rampaging behemoths, and scheming faeries aren't enough to get you started? (Holden)

[...T]he Liminals do not act as a group and have no group identity. (Holden)
Q: Do Lunars? (cpt.scott)
A: Sometimes the former, very much yes to the latter. (Holden)

[The Solar/Lunar Bond is] a whole big complicated thing with huge bearing on what the Lunars are doing, rather than a very simple brain lasso. (Holden)

To the Realm, Lunars are shattered chains clanking in the night beyond the city walls. They're the hoary and terrible claw clenched around the Realm's throat. They've suffered betrayal, undergone metamorphosis, and become something very different from the spouses and guardians the reborn Solars may remember in their dreams. The Lunars are gods, monsters, and heroes, Luna's children, artful dancers in a thousand skins, killing to be free. (Holden)

(John Mørke)

Lunar spoiler #1: Disclaimer: This is not a spoiler about their Charm set. Their Charms are distinct from what I am about to describe.

Beasts (animals, dinosaurs, monsters) are different from what they were in previous editions. More than just statblocks acting as minor obstacles, many creatures a Lunar can shapeshift into use special abilities that a Lunar can borrow when taking that animal's form. Some beasts are actually very robust competent hunters and fighters, such as the Tyrant Lizard. A Lunar using that form can extend tracking (Survival) rolls across an entire continent using the Tyrant Lizard's incredible sense of smell. And in a fight, she can learn to use the Tyrant Lizard's signature attacks, including his finisher, Ferocious Bite, which is a pants-shittingly terrifying attack.

Each animal form has advantages and extends the Lunar a mechanical toolbox to play with.

(John Mørke)

Oh and as a sidenote, some beasts use Martial Arts, while others fight with Brawl
Preying mantis (Martial arts)
Tyrant lizard (Brawl)

I'm also loving the implications of how Lunars are organized--council of Full Moons! His Divine Lunar Presence! And yet, it also seems to be based on reputation to some degree--not in the same sense as Renown (and thank Luna for that!) but there's a definite sense that it's more a semi-formal system of favor-trading than a true chain of command. (Exploding Frogs)
It's hard to enforce chain-of-command on someone who can go "well, that sounds stupid" and turn into a bird and fly 3,000 miles away to go do something else. (Holden)

Sex is a powerful thing, with lots of interesting mythic, mystical, and cultural associations. I'm fine with Seven Devil Clever thinking of it as just fucking, if that's who she is and the sort of cultural baggage she has. I'm not fine with the Lunar host in general being a bunch of animals in heat. Perhaps I'm being oversensitive and seeing this implication where it doesn't exist, but...well, 1st Ed Lunars had some problems in this regard, and I'd rather we were careful to take only the good bits of 1E. I don't want to see those problems return. (Wise Old Guru)
Do you really think we're going to make casual sex the rallying cry of the entire Lunar Exalted? (The Demented One)

Q: if the theme of Solars is skill and mastery being taken to superhuman levels, what is the theme of lunars in 3e? (Nathaniel Colon)
A: As Attribute-based Exalts, Lunars trend more towards "I am" rather than "I can" (Holden)

Q: So is Alex Mercer still a valid character concept for 3E Lunars? (HK-87)
A: Not tremendously so. We prefer mythic shapeshifters and primal gods to John Carpenter's THE THING. (Holden)

(John Mørke)

Re: Alex Mercer: No.
Nor Carnage, the T-1000, or Twelve from Street Fighter, all of which are variations on Reed Richards and the Plastic Man when you boil them down. Fuck those guys.

*totally, sincerely positive tone*
Oh, so "rubberman, limb-stretchiness" is another feature moving from Lunars to Getimians or Liminals? I can get behind that. (Inugami)
Setting aside the T-1000, and the archetypal genius of Reed Richards, I despise pretty much everything about "stretchy guy" characters. (John Mørke)

Ideas involving the Lunars joining the Sidereals in the Usurpation or being passive non-targets leaves me cold. The Lunars could no more opt out of the Dragon-Blooded Usurpation than Daenerys could opt out of King Robert's. (John Mørke) (referring to "A Song of Ice and Fire")

Q: (Brasstreader)

Are you sure Lunars could be Daenerys? Because sometimes, it feels like they cap out at Varys or Peter Baelish. Or even Jorah Mormont. Somebody who, even when the Targaryens got dealt with, might have been allowed to linger around as still-sorta-prominent people at court until somebody finally got tired of being reminded the Targaryens existed, and cleaned house.
Please convince me The Mother Of Dragons can be that prominent on the world stage, and not be a Solar-Only character. I desperately hope what you say is true.... even if it means she has to go through that whole banishement-Reemergence-thing.
Actually, nevermind. it works even by 2e standards.
But you understand what I'm getting at, right?

A: That's not the comparison I was making. But I'll go ahead and bite: Daenerys's ascent is made possible by dragons, and she is one of the most-beloved fictional heroines in modern memory. Yet if a Lunar depends on the long-extinct and newly resurrected Solar to make a power play, some people throw up in their mouths. I'm not compelled by the stories people think they can't tell. (John Mørke)
A2: (John Mørke)

Mm, no. I'm not talking about what kind of Lunars you can play. I'm talking about the political juxtaposition of the Lunars to everything else at the fall of the First Age, and the assertion that they should be a faction as varied as the Sidereals. This view distances them from the fallen Solar throne and has several boring consequences, starting with their further diminished relevance and continuing on to them being more like Sidereals and less like a unique actor.

This sort of logic overlooks just how deeply the Lunars were entrenched in the political and social rule of the old Realm, and how inextricably they were connected to Solar rule. Lunars were the hands, eyes, and mouths of the Solars. They could even wear their faces! If the usurpers considered everything the Solars touched to have been tainted, Lunars would be at the top of the list. And through their power and influence, and their very nature, they represented a massive personal threat to the Sidereal Exalted, and always had—the Lunars were always much, much closer to the throne than the Sidereals were.

You could no more ignore the Lunars than Westeros could ignore Daenerys.

For Exalted 3rd, I'd like to see some female Luners with bulk and muscle. One of the things I liked about Diablo 3's barbarians is that the female version was roughly the size of the male one. It seems that most fantasy games/art are fine with dudes that are MASSIVE but women are just slightly taller with muscle definition. It seems odd that the body shifting group doesn't have one woman who looks like she could take a hit from Strength-Of-Many. (hippokrene)
Challenge accepted. (John Mørke)

He doesn't like taking animal shapes, so he channels his shapeshifting prowess into control of his own body down to a cellular level so he can shrink momentarily when dodging or add some weight to his fist to give it a little extra centrifugal force on a punch. (JimB)
This is an interesting idea, and it would be easy enough to do, but it's not how their mechanics will work. This type of logos omits Essence and divinity from the equation, trading it for an ultra-mechanical, ultra-literal depiction of where their strength comes from. We can leave that kind of an expression to the Alchemicals. Very cool idea, though. (John Mørke)

Q: What about Chimera being akin to Plastic Man?
Failing that, would it be possible to make a Fair Folk in the Stretch Dude style? (Odd_Canuck)
A: Let me think about that. http://lagorama.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/_41909670_plasticman_220_ap.jpg (John Mørke) (editor note: Which is to say, "no".)

On the other hand, I do like Lunars to have some stuff at the low end of this scale, like that Dhalsim-stretch range enhancer Charm whose name I can't remember. I definitely think there's room for appropriately specialized Lunars to be weirdly fluid: bending like they don't have bones, snapping upright from a prone position like a bent switch, weaving back and forth with an animation-style stretch/smear that makes it hard to hit their weak points, surviving killing blows by just not having their organs where they're supposed to be, etc. I think a lot of Lunar players would be unhappy being forced into that aesthetic, but it seems like a legitimate place to allow people to explore if they want to, particularly in Dexterity. (Gayo)
I think there is some concept space between Flesh Shintai from KotE, and Monkey D. Luffy or Plastic Man. (Holden)

People keep talking about Lunar mates, but I've never been sold on the Solar/Lunar bond. I don't even know if it'll be in 3e anymore. (Dragonmystic)
If you are inclined to leave it out of your story, EX3 isn't going to skunk you. (Holden)

I wasn't so much curious about why a Lunar would use any tools at all, but why he would max out his Evocations with an artifact, or go to any trouble to get special tools like artifact boats or godblooded horses. (Inugami)
Because the Lunar wants to reap the considerable benefits of having maxed-out Evocations on top of his natural puissance. Or to have a boat that is better than mundane boats, for purposes of transporting people other than himself across the sea quicker and more comfortably than he could by going orca-form and letting them ride in his mouth. Or because he is a legendary horseman, and seeks a steed worth of him in its saddle. Those are all pretty natural ambitions, if you're an Exalt who wants to gain power, and there's no compelling reason not for them to apply to Lunars. Now, a Lunar could shun the legendary sword and instead dedicate himself to perfecting his body as a living weapon, or just take some aquatic forms and not worry about having a crew/cargo, or just turn into a horse himself. But just because they can pick option B doesn't mean they should be disallowed or disincentivized from taking option A. (The Demented One)

Q: Has it been confirmed that they are going to keep the 'there are 3 castes now but there used to be 5' thing? (Mizu)
A: We are, but the story behind how that came to be is different. (The Demented One)

I'll be interested to see how Ma-Ha-Suchi is done in EX3, without some sort of chimerism he ends up in a weird place, is he just sitting there on his throne saying "Look at what thy did to me!" for the hell of it? His major grievance is pretty dependent on at least some potential for Lunars to come undone and loose themselves. Maybe he will just be mentally ill? (turkeygiant)
There really isn't anything about Ma-Ha-Suchi that depends on Lunars having some devolving into horrible monstrosities mechanic.
He definitely won't suddenly be portrayed as mentally ill. Equating mental illness with evil is a hella prominent thing that is hella gross, and not something I'd really want to contribute to. (The Demented One)


I'm as confused by this statement as much as I was by your original question. The Devs have said that you can play a Lunar with very little shapeshifting at all if that's what you choose. He'll just focus on other things like Evocations, Sorcery, Martial Arts (and these are just the combat principles). They've also said they're going to have a unique ability to claim a "dominion" and have some power over the area they've claimed. Plenty of ways to play a Lunar.

Though for the life of me, I don't know why anyone would want to play a Lunar that didn't shapeshift. Seems your ignore something cool and unique to your class of exalts just because "I don't wanna"! Why not play a different exalt altogether then?

Emphasis mine. This objective is going to be difficult because shapeshifting is awesome and everyone will want it, and because a Lunar who merely channels the powers of her Essence risks coming off as Solar lite, so we're looking at ways to do this without injecting some off-putting complication into the splat. The ideal is that shapeshifting becomes the core of your powers, and that the ultimate expressions of Lunar power be exciting and thought provoking, not just "turn into a badass legendary tiger." Turning into a mythical tiger and ripping the throat out of a giant Wyld-spawned horror is amazing, but we want Lunars to have more than just this. (John Mørke)

(on the Solar/Lunar bond)
The sun and the moon are a metaphysical "pair" in all kinds of mythologies, including Exalted. Their Exaltations are naturally fundamentally connected. (John Mørke)

Q: If I could ask anything, I think it would be
"What the hell am I supposed to make of/do with Lunars? I just don't seem to be able to get a grip of what they are supposed to be, conceptually" (Kim)
A: Lunars require and demand a heavy buy into the setting. That is, an understanding of the setting and the desire to tell pulp fantasy tales in Creation is your number one priority if you are going to tell Lunar stories and play Lunar games. Because the character of the Lunar is one of shifting, ever-changing nature, your grasp of the setting has to be rock-solid. (John Mørke)


Q: This gives me a potentially interesting tangent idea. Early on in Doctor Who, the Doctor was punished by the Timelords and among other things was exiled to Earth, I wonder if a particularly wilful Sidereal might find themselves exiled to Creation as a lesson in humility? (Bastet)
A: Perhaps not humility, because then you'd have to throw out the biggest brass-balled Sidereal of them all, Kejak. But thrown out for a crime too intolerable...to unthinkable? Yes. You will see this happen in 3rd Edition. Get ready, Sidereal fans. (John Mørke)

Q: So, Sidereals keep their weird, funky SMA for their high-level charm-set, and Solars can develop their own Solar-tier martial arts. (Totentanz)
A: This tempts me. 3e will allow for the communicability of martial arts between splats, and even between Exalts and mortals. It is not as necessary to keep SMA in the bracket of "high level martial arts" and therefore available to Solars. Another thing I can confirm: I am throwing out the Hero styles completely. Solars will get their Brawl tree back and it will not be anyone else's. (John Mørke)

(John Mørke)

Sidereals will still be based out of Yu-shan. Fate ninjas of the Heavenly bureaucracy is a great idea, and underutilized and ignored. My team is primed to make a great showing of the Sidereals in 3e.

To counter the problem they had of no central antagonist and nothing to demonstrate their thesis (the part where they fix snarls in fate) I have come up with four threats tailored specifically to Sidereals. I don't plan to do any rift-closing, anomaly ghost-busting mechanics; rather we will be representing problems with destiny and fate in a form that can be interacted with in character-to-character situations, in which your normal Charms, your astrology, and your roleplaying make your Sidereal fate's number one troubleshooter, as opposed to using Fate Shaping Technique or using proton packs or other contrived weirdness to save the day.

Q: While our developer is around: Have any plans already been made regarding Astrology? Any tidbits you feel like sharing? (danelsan)
A: No tidbits yet. It will be easier to use and it will cost less to learn Colleges. (John Mørke)

Q: Then it probably means that in Ex3 a Sidereal commiting such a crime can be banned from heaven. I can only hope that the Sidereal in question will first get a fair warning, written in red letters of course. (Satyr)
A: Saturn makes her Mark against him. And he parries it with the back of his fist. (John Mørke)

(John Mørke)

SMA will still be in the form of Charm sets.

Doing regrettable but necessary things for Creation's sake should stay an important part of Sidereal fluff. (SurlySeraph)
Q: Yes, but killing babies is still a ridiculous job to give to a Exalt. There are undoubtedly minor crib death gods they can send to do trivial stuff -- the problem is that baby-killing is, with few exceptions, easy and boring. An Exalt is wasted if they aren't doing cool things. The uneasy morality of committing cruelty to save the future is a legit Sidereal theme, but you can go a lot bigger than "let's kill baby Hitler." (Gayo)
A: The reason the idea exists in the first place, is because a new Sidereal player may be confronted with having to do it and they will find that killing a baby is one of the hardest choices they have ever made. Deciding not to, and undermining the normal design, both determines character and also sets the wheels of something unexpected and potentially great or terrible (or both) in motion—the basis of a hundred myths in a hundred languages. How can that be boring? Have we really gone so far along the lines of "mortals have no value" that a baby is interchangeable with a hot dog? Sheesh. I agree that there have been problems with the way Sidereals have been depicted, especially in how they operate mindlessly and without question, and especially in how the gods seethe with hatred and resentment for them. This is shit that will be corrected. But I won't chop them off at the knees because a great premise was done badly. (John Mørke)

Q: Can you say a few general words about your concept of Sidereals, and what kind of changes they're undergoing, if any? (I assume "a working set of mechanics" is one of them.)
Will there be some attention paid to what Sidereals do to maintain Fate, and why it's important that they do so?
Will Sidereals have to continually fight against the bureaucracy of Heaven to get anything done, as they currently do, or will being part of the Celestial power structure be an advantage for them sometimes? (ysadrel)
A: (John Mørke)

Sids are going to be restored to their awesome position of beneficiary service, where they are respected by the gods. However, we love the corrupt, dangerous side of Yu-Shan so we are playing that up.

Dealing with fate and destiny is not going to be quite so esoteric as people imagine, but it will be there.

The Sidereals have a new central antagonist to strengthen their thesis.

I have conceived of a very intriguing addition to their power set, but I am unwilling to detail it at this early a date.

Q: Often presentations of the Bronze and Sidereals in general tend to paint them as indifferent to human life and human autonomy and choice (just caring about the "survival of the world" or something), so a presentation where they actually cared about those things makes me optimistic. (Ghosthead)
A: Yes. I want to play a Sidereal protagonist. A humanistic Sidereal protagonist. It will be evidently possible. (John Mørke)

Q: I consider Heaven's Reach Sidereals to be one of if not the best part of Shards. They're highly respected in their job and "Galactic IT guys" is a lot easier to understand and work with than... whatever it is they do in second edition. "Fixing errors in Fate" doesn't really convey anything. (Tiresias)
A: As it so happens, Heaven's Reach was my favorite part of Shards. I have had some great conversations with Eric Brennan about how to handle the Sidereals, and he has helped me to confirm a direction on them that is approachable and understandable rather than esoteric and indistinct. (John Mørke)

Q: Will Ex3 Sidereals be able to skip out on Heaven, go rogue, and/or become independent agents who aren't in a bureaucracy? (Erinys)
A: Define able to. They could do that now. (John Mørke)

Q: Will there be more support for getting Sidereals to skip out of their jobs? (Asmodai)
A: Not sure. (John Mørke)

Q: I've always enjoyed the concepts behind the Sidereal martial arts, even if they are a bit over powered an kind of wonky. If they keep their own brand of martial arts will it still remain being reality defining/changing but weaker or will it become more "mundane" in execution? (MetalGecko23)
A: The themes of SMA will remain as they ever were. <cool> (John Mørke)

Q: Will SMA be a reasonable mechanical tool for a PC to use, without being relegated to storyteller handwaving? (babyseal)
A: Yes. (Holden)

(discussing the Thousand Dooms)
Q: So more dooms, but each is less doomy? That's a way to do it, I guess. (Uqbarian)
A: Not... necessarily. At least one of the new things the Sidereals are having to spend resources dealing with is doomy from the Sidereal perspective. A few of them are just "Stuff that requires effort to manage if we're going to keep our agenda on track." (Stephenls)

Q: Would you say 'more dooms and troubles that are deeply (or shallowly) important to one faction or another, but aren't world-shattering events otherwise', then? (Bryan Gonnella)
A: (Stephenls)

Bit more complexity at the level the major supernatural factions engage with the setting.

I mean, I love mortal nations, I really do, I think a lack of interest in mortal nations would itself be doom for the line. People love Exalted because its setting is great. At the same time, the existence of, say, Chaya, doesn't do a lot to explain why the Bronze Faction don't have the energy necessary to relentlessly hunt and kill all the newly freed Solars. From the perspective of the Bronze Faction's anti-Solar pogrom, Chaya is wallpaper. In fact, from the perspective of a lot of the high-tier supernatural politics in Creation, mortal nations in general come across as wallpaper.

Obviously we want to fix that.

At the same time, a bit more obvious complexity in the higher-tier supernatural politics of the setting, more easily grasped by folks who are inclined to dismiss mortal shit as irrelevant to what Chejop's up to today no matter how interesting we try to make it, won't hurt.


Getting back to the topic of Sidereals, it should be obvious to anyone who's ever spent much time working within an entrenched bureaucracy that most of a bureaucrat's time is consumed by what could be called "Time-consuming bullshit."

All of which exists for a reason, by the way. If someone takes a sick day and someone else doesn't have a clear idea of who's next in line to process pay stubs that day, shit's going down.

A lot of Sidereal energy is taken up by time-consuming bullshit that, despite feeling like bullshit, needs to happen for stuff to keep working.

But a lot of our players haven't spent much time working within an entrenched bureaucracy, and it's not really obvious why managing things to do with nations like Chaya is going to consume so much of the Sidereal timetable that it'll interfere with their ability to pull off kickass ninja ambushes. Nevertheless, it does.

We're adding more obviously interesting and engaging sources of time-consuming bullshit for Sidereals to deal with, so that it's more obvious why the death squads aren't working as fast as Chejop sometimes wishes (while sighing wearily, making a note, and grabbing the next form from his in tray).

Q: Can we hope to see (what was formerly) Greater Astrology back in any form? Those powers were weird and flavorful, and costly enough not to be imbalanced. (glamourweaver)
A: We like the powers, but the execution could be improved. (It's a maybe.) (John Mørke)

Q: Will Sidereals be forced to favour Martial Arts in order to be viable combatants in a long running or high xp game? (Katsue)
A: Nope. (John Mørke)

Q: Can you tell us anything about the War on Heaven plotpoint yet? (glamourweaver)
A: Right now I want to keep it under my hat. Mostly because Liz [aka Chai Tea] is really excited to talk about it and I want to give her the chance to say some things I haven't said already. (John Mørke)

Q: Conversely, will Sidereals still be the pre-eminent martial arts sifus? (Blackwingedheaven)
A: Yes. (John Mørke)

Q: Are Sidereals the most desirable sifus? (SurlySeraph)
A: Yes. (John Mørke)

Q: Will Sidereals have a way to leverage their foresight and prophecy themes in regular play without giving the ST a headache or reading their mind? (These tend to be the issues I come up against while working with the existing Sidereal prophecy Charms, few as they are. It'd be great to model prophecy as dramatic editing capability -- "Fortunately, I foresaw this very circumstance and..." -- but I'm sure you guys have ideas of your own.)
Will Astrology's effort-benefit and risk-benefit ratios be improved? Is the range of benefits (the eight blessings and curses, I mean) being expanded at all? Will we have some guidance as to what it might mean in the world to curse a region's farmers or bless its tradesmen, assuming Astrology can still do these things?
Will Paradox be less punishing and/or more fun to engage with?
Will a Sidereal be able to invest heavily in Astrology and have that be a viable path to take, as an alternative to MA/Sorcery/Evocations?
Will a combat-focused Sidereal be able to match up against Lunars and other Celestial Exalts using native Charms?
Will the focus on control (buffs, debuffs, changing the parameters of battle) we started to see in the 2.5 rewrite continue as a theme in 3E? I really liked that. (ysadrel)
A: It's too soon and there are too many unrevealed variables to give you any good answers. We are working hard on developing great content for the Sidereals because they need and deserve the extra love and attention. (John Mørke)

Q: Not a question to hatewheel: what's this War in Heaven I'm hearing about? I have no idea what is it, but it sounds very cool. (Maese Mateo)
A: We're not really talking about that yet beyond what you've already heard, but I will point out that it's war against Heaven. Subtle but important distinction. (Stephenls)

Q: Just how do Sidereals go about fixing flaws in fate? (DSPaul)
A: Good question. I don't see any examples of them closing time loops or shutting rifts in time or space, or stopping multiple Sesus Rafaras from running amuck, so flaws in fate must refer to things that radically alter the plans of the Maidens or the Sidereals. (John Mørke)

Q: Can you tell us anything about those new threats you mentioned? (DSPaul)
A: Let's just say that Sidereal players will have their hands full. They will be able to run games where Sidereals are united against central antagonists instead of putting the Solar issue at the top of every Sidereal story. (John Mørke)

Q: Will Sidereals get support for large scale societal manipulation? How about army training? (Katsue)
A: It is a bit too early to comment on specific Sidereal mechanics. You won't find a Sidereal gesturing over a map and controlling the actions of entire regions, though. It's antipathic to a game driven by social intrigue. (John Mørke)

Q: Will the Martial Arts remain Saturnine Arts? (Katsue)
A: I'm not sure what you mean by the Saturnine arts. Martial Arts will still be favored by the Chosen of Endings. (John Mørke)

Q: What is happening with Paradox? (Katsue)
A: No comment on Paradox yet. (John Mørke)

Q: So long as we're asking "What's up with X?" where X is a Sidereal gimmick, I'm curious about Arcane Fate. (Gayo)
A: We have it in our heads to make Astrology a lot easier to use, and are less inclined to force a Mage reference mechanic in at all costs. (John Mørke)

Q: Is the Green Lady still a secret agent snuggle thing? (selfcritical)
A: She's hot enough to melt the Mask of Winters. (John Mørke)

Q: How much will the new threats occupy Sidereal's time vs. traditional threats that had to be physically identified (things outside of fate like the underworld and wyld)? (Lucyfersam)
A: Up to your ST. (John Mørke)

Q: I don't really understand your response to Arcane Fate, I assume the Mask will still be broken and its breaking will have some permenant effect on the Sidereals? (Lucyfersam)
A: The Mask is still broken. (John Mørke)

Q: Will there be levels or sections of the martial arts rules only accessible by Sidereals? (Kaiu Keiichi)
A: Solars can learn SMA. (John Mørke)

Q: Will some of the cooler and more evocative Sidereal MAs (Primastic Arrangement of Creation, Charcoal March of Spiders) still exist in some form, even if the entire MA system has been mechanically transformed? (Kaiu Keiichi)
A: Yes. (John Mørke)

Q: It was implied in previous editions that younger Sidereals spent their time in Creation doing grunt work while the elder Sidereals mostly stayed in Heaven doing paperwork. Will this stay true in 3E? (Starglyte)
A: Yes. (John Mørke)

Q: Will Sidereals see a refocus on Heaven with more to do there similar to the 3E Underworld and Abyssals? (Starglyte)
A: Not really. The Underworld has been made more interesting, but it wasn't to herd Abyssals into spending more time there. Yu-Shan was already pretty interesting, so any spicing up of Heaven will make playing there more interesting. Beyond that, we're still looking at Sidereals operating in Creation as the main focus. (John Mørke)

Q: Will the Sidereals method of Exaltation stay the same? (They are destined to Exalt from birth in the previous editions to clarify) (Starglyte)
A: Yes. (John Mørke)

Q: Will Sidereals work within the "functional" bureaucracy of Heaven and if so will we get a more better look at how the bureau of Fate works as a whole and by division? (Sinner or Saint)
A: The Bureau of Destiny has an important new purview that the Sidereals handle in EX3. (John Mørke)

Q: To what extent are factional politics going to be emphasized in regards to Sidereals? While I'm sure the main focus will remain on the Prophesy Trio of Bronze/Gold/Can-We-Just-Do-Our-Fucking-Jobs-Please, will we see, for instance, interdepartmental rivalry as well? (It's friendly and constructive! Except when it isn't) (Coikzer)
A: They are still divided by Bronze and Gold Faction, which meant what it did in 1e. Other factions? We'll see. I have no interest in recreating the Silver Faction or some of the others posited in 2e. (John Mørke)

Q: Will the Conventions still be around? ( I rather like them because of "What, you guys found out about the Whozits? Congrats, you're now the Convention on the Whozits. Here's some Resources, now sort things out with the Whozits, will you?") (Coikzer)
A: It's possible. (John Mørke)

Q: How clear a picture will we have of the sort of resources Sidereals will be able to draw upon, on various (individual/Circle/Convention/Departmental/BoD as a whole) levels? Obviously accounting down to the last daiklave ain't gonna happen, but guidelines, at least? (Coikzer)
A: We will make it as clear as possible. (John Mørke)

Q: As a Sidereal, will I be able to swap the fate lines of someone's blood and the magma in a nearby volcano and then watch the hilarity that ensues? (Coikzer)
A: Perhaps with an SMA? (John Mørke)

Q: Will Sidereals still be involved in shadow propaganda efforts that involve making "ancient texts" that tell their dupes exactly what the Sidereals want them to about new threats (such as Abyssals)? (Poisson Resistance)
A: Sure. (John Mørke)

Q: Also, will they still have Resplendent Destinies or similar tricks to build cover identities with? That looked like fun (speaking as someone who never played one). (Uqbarian)
A: They will still have Resplendent Destinies. No specifics on Great Curse or how we're going to handle Paradox yet. (John Mørke)

Q: Many of your responses seem to indicate that the Sidereals are going to remain much the same in terms of setting. Other than changing charm mechanics to fit the new system, is there anything major you are changing about how the Sidereals are presented? (Wolfwood2)
A: I am dropping the negative context of their entire presentation from 2e, and expanding their purview to involve the induction of new Exalts into Creation's lore. I consider the framework laid in 1e to be pretty much flawless. (John Mørke)

Q: Can you talk a bit about what you mean by "dropping the negative context of their entire presentation from 2e"? (ADamiani)
A: Negative elements I'm dropping: the gods hate the Sidereals, Venus signed off on the Usurpation (UGH), Sidereals being executed by Heaven (what) and others that I can't recall off the top of my head. (John Mørke)

Q: (Blaque)

Something traitwise I always despised with Sidereals were Colleges. I like the idea of traits representing the Constellations on my character sheet, but in practice kind of found them more or less to be xp sinks since they are traits that exist on a 1-5 scale soley for the purpose of one specific, obnoxious roll. Even with their 2.5e discounts, the whole idea of Colleges as traits you bought from 1-5 seemed flawed on some level to me.

So this being said, are Colleges still planned to be a widgety trait or will they more useful/simplified in some manner?

A: Colleges are awesome. They will cost less or do more in the future. (John Mørke)

Q: I know that ronin are not the default playstyle for Sidereals, but are you planning on giving more support for them than what they had in previous edition? (Maese Mateo)
A: I am not sure on this one yet. What kind of support would you want? (John Mørke)

Q: How are you planning to adress the Elder Sidereal VS Newbie Sidereal problem? I always found that old Sidereals are so powerful (not only related to just newbie Sidereals, but to probably every other exalted splat save for Lunars) that a young Sidereals doesn't have much room to oppose his superiors. (Maese Mateo)
A: Well, basically, a young Sidereal has a lot more leverage in his ability to make strong allies and because elder Sidereals need to harness the young and cultivate good working relationships with them, because they are relationships that can last thousands of years. (John Mørke)

Q: Are Evocations or the new rules for Sorcery going to have any strong impact in what a Sidereal can do outside his charmset? Since Sidereals have a closed charmset, every new mechanic they can get their hands into help players a lot. (Maese Mateo)
A: Sidereals will have the same access to Sorcery as before. The Evocations they can use will be limited. (John Mørke)

Q: What's wrong with the Silver Faction? (Anaximander)
A: It doesn't make sense and smacks of symmetry for the sake of symmetry. It has never made sense to want to put the Lunars at the top of the command structure. (John Mørke)

Q: Will there still only be 100 Sidereals to 300 for the other Celestials? (Anaximander)
A: There will be 100 Sidereals. (John Mørke)

Q: Can you name something new and cool Sidereals can get up to in heaven? (Adama)
A: Wait and see. (John Mørke)

Q: Will the the fact that a lot of heaven is a divine slum have a bigger impact on Sidereals stories in Yu Shan? (Adama)
A: The divine slums in Heaven should be intriguing to your ST. (John Mørke)

Q: Will prayer strips be coming back? They're one of my favorite parts about Sidereals, and I always felt they were criminally underused. (Adama)
A: Yes. (John Mørke)

Q: Do younger Sidereals have more leeway and downtime? (ie. Can they work on their own projects when not carrying out Heaven's mandate? The lack of story freedom as a Sidereal always bugged me.) (Mostlyjoe)
A: It may be so. I am not going to free Sidereals from their duties in Heaven, though. Being a Sidereal has extreme benefits, such as your own manse in Heaven, living the high life in the Celestial City, being wealthy, clean, and having traction with major celestial and terrestrial spirits and not a few leaders of nations on the ground. Those benefits are tied to having duties you were born to fulfill and a nature that ties you to the Loom. I have no desire to see Sidereal PCs directly ruling nations like Solars, or ignoring the part of their character that lives and works in Heaven and takes orders from Heaven. But I am also throwing out the antagonistic relationship between Heaven and Sidereals and putting in more deference and reverence going both ways, so it isn't so unlikely that your character can be in Creation carrying out the same mission for a century or more. (John Mørke)

Q: Do newly born Sidereals get raised in heaven? In Creation? Do they still have weird things like accelerated training? (Mostlyjoe)
A: Not sure. (John Mørke)

Q: If Venus didn't sign off on the Usurpation does that mean the Sidereals (elders) are in bad graces with their patron goddess? (Mostlyjoe)
A: No. It means you can play a Gold Faction Chosen of Serenity without your character being a naive moron, though. (John Mørke)

(It would be awesome if the Sidereal Exaltation was designed to interface with any Fate-analogue they happen to be within -- Creation's Loom, the Design of Autocthon, the Calendar of Setesh or the Caul's pseudoLoom. The Caul would thus block divination and manipulation from afar but Sidereal agents on the ground would have access to their full toolkit, as well as having it in Autocthonia and the Underworld. Perhaps Sidereals within the Caul would have access to the Greater Astrology sealed off by the Maidens, since the Lunars might not know how to replicate the seals on the Loom...) (ysadrel)
This post thrills me.
I haven't answered anyone's "outside fate" questions yet, but my intention is that Sidereals have full jurisdiction anywhere they go. (John Mørke)

Q: A question from my Sidereal-loving players: If SMA are going to be easier for other splats to learn, will Sidereals have access to/be able to create higher level charms than SMA or are SMA still supposed to be their high-level charmset? (Sparda219)
A: Sidereals and Solars can learn SMA. None of the other classic splats. SMA is going to be the Sidereal's highest expression of the martial arts. (John Mørke)

Q: [Can Abyssals and Green Sun Princes] use SMAs? I bet there is a Bronze Faction Chosen of Endings out there willing to teach martial arts to the wrong Abyssal so he Kung Fu-punches the returning Solars to death and the Sidereal can disavow all responsibility for any collateral damage that may occur along the way. (MiltonSlavemasta)
A: Nope. He can teach him martial arts, help him locate the relics of his former life, introduce him to allies, and use astrology to aid him, though. (John Mørke)

I was being 100% literal. Saturn marked him out of existence and he parried the mark with his martial arts prowess. (This should be impossible.) (John Mørke)

(on how he managed the above)
Because he is one of the greatest martial artists Creation has ever known, and it was a technique he devised that allowed him to pull it off. (John Mørke)

Q: (ysadrel)

I understand that techniques like this are unique and miraculous expressions of an Exalt's mastery, predicated on their lifetime of experience and skill, and I'm not taking issue with that in this thread. My issue is along a slightly different axis.<br /
What Rakan Thulio did was superbly awesomecool, and naturally I would like to let PCs perform feats of similar magnitude over the course of the long-term games I favor. In order to do something of similar awesomecoolness, does my Sidereal have to be a martial artist? If Rakan Thulio had been one of the greatest astrologers in the Five-Score Fellowship's history, or one of the most learned and puissant wielders of Sidereal Charms, could he have done it, or done something similar, using those methods?

A: I wouldn't worry about that until my PCs start getting to be ~3,500 years old. (Holden)

On the other hand, you guys wrote Simple Astrology, which I loathe with the burning heat of ten thousand suns going nova inside an industrial furnace. (Coik)
Simple Astrology was a patch to work around the complexities of a system that wasn't fun for a lot of players. It's not the kind of thing we're going to have to use when we have the opportunity to build the system from the ground up. (The Demented One)


Q: Will Abyssals be given more freedom? (Totentanz)
A: Yes. (Holden)

Q: Is there anything exciting to abyssal? Out of all the information out there in the internet, I feel the abyssal is the one with less change in 3rd edition (riodelapandema)
A: Abyssals are undergoing significant changes in 3e. They should be quite pleasing for Abyssal players. (Holden)

Q: Just an idle question that I had:
Will there be any provision for the Underworld to have some sympathetic elements? Sure, it is the preserve of the Neverborn and the Abyssal exalted who hate all life e.t.c. But will it be possible to play an Abyssal Exalted dedicated to regulating/Shepherding the Underworld instead of filling it to the brim and then pouring it out over Creation? Maybe even a semi sympathetic Neverborn (much like some of the Yozi denizens of Malfeas are semi-sympathetic).
Of course Abyssal Exalted aren't coming out for a while, so the question might be premature. Its just that given the rules on Resonance, the aforementioned role is hard to play though implied in text. (prototype00)
A: I would not bet on sympathetic Neverborn, but the automatic constraint of 2e Abyssals is gone and they will be more varied, with the potential to be horror monsters (more than just bad Exalts), but also the potential to be D and Alucard (SotN). You will definitely be able to play a hero and savior of the Underworld and even Creation. They are still default villains and represent the manifest threat of the Deathlords. However, a lot is changing about the Deathlords. (John Mørke) (ed note: D is Vampire Hunter D and SoTN is Symphony of the Night, a Castlevania game)

Q: tl:dr Less Wraith more Chinese Ghost Story (Mostlyjoe)
A: Hmm. The problem with this is that "Chinese Ghost Story" is very natural to Exalted, but the Abyssals should be by their very nature unnatural, which is why Wraith works as a source. It comes from Western horror-psychology, in which God is impotent and death is hungry. I like the aesthetic of Eastern death-myth, but I think making Abyssals into something that harmonizes with the natural order of things makes them seem less consequential. I like that they jar the setting. I like that they represent a narrative of death that is very different from the one surrounding Endings, which is more Eastern than Western. I like that they are Gothic deathknights stalking through an age of Bronze and living in shadowed towers in an age that has yet to really discover castles. I like that Abyssals are like a volcanic dyke cutting through the geological strata and angular uncomformities of the setting's cosmology. (John Mørke)

(John Mørke)

Deathlords and Abyssals will have a master / apprentice relationship in EX3.

(And the relationship can be redefined.)

(John Mørke)

Redemption will stay a part of Abyssals.

If you are playing a heroic Abyssal and you don't want to become a Solar, that's probably because you enjoy playing as an Abyssal. Redemption is an atonement statement that is not appropriate for every character, and it is not any greater a statement than the one that lets you keep your concept in tact.

Q: ...then as suggested, I would like this to not be called "Redemption" by the rules (individual characters, sure, but not word of god), because "Redemption" is a word with a lot of baggage, and to this player at least, a "heroic Abyssal" who "doesn't want redemption" is either one who doesn't need redemption (in which case, why does Solar-to-be lad need it?) or one who is only heroic in the Classical sense.
Regardless of whether or not I'd prefer to play a Solar, I'm going to want to play a character who has repaid their moral debts. So I'm explicitly requesting a way to "redeem yourself" that doesn't involve glowing gold, because I'm assuming you're going to make Abyssals so INSANELY AWESOME that I won't want to stop... and so I'd like to not feel obliged to stop.
Really, if you DO need to atone for being an Abyssal, then the final result should be the Shard leaving you. THAT is a redemption - sacrificing your dark powers to save your soul and nothing more.
Upgrading your awesome dark magic superpowers into EVEN BETTER GOLDEN SUPERPOWERS HELL YEAH is a very... shallow... price to pay. (WhammeWhamme)
A: (John Mørke)

You're making an incorrect translation of Redemption. You admit yourself that you have baggage. Your baggage is giving it a meaning it doesn't have.

I have played an Abyssal hero for years, and I don't mind Redemption. I'm not interested in it, and I am certainly not threatened by it, because my Abyssal seeks an atonement that does not involve denying his monstrosity or turning his back on the things he has done, or what he has become. He has embraced it, and it gives him a sense of poetic justice to use his Exaltation to throw back the powers of the night and turn back the hands of death.

I don't want to be a Solar, but I like Redemption for the people who want to play a story like Cecil Harvey's with thematic weight. I don't need a book to outline my path and pat me on the head and say attaboy for doing a Storyteller's job; enjoying my character for what it is is an immense reward, and doesn't come at the price of taking away someone else's big moment in the sun, er, so to speak.

Also, changing the name is just inaccurate. I mean, I could call it Golconda but I'd still be talking about Redemption. As all my writers and my co-developer can tell you, I don't call something A when I am talking about B.

Q: To put it another way, all too many 2e charms are written as if they are written for SOLAR Exalted, who are emulating the power of the dead, rather than ABYSSAL Exalted. Who, let us remember, are by nature something unnatural, new, 'impossible' and frightening to other Exalted because they are the ONLY FORM OF UNDEAD EXALTED. (MissMaddy)
A: The Abyssals aren't undead. That's the Liminals. <cool> (John Mørke)

Right now I am just flexing. I have spent the last three days seeing how far I can stretch what is essentially a Solar Charmset without breaking the Ability premise entirely. I know that I cannot escape a comparison to Solars because it is essentially a Solar Charm set, so I am not proceeding from a direct comparison and I am rather building toward apexes that reflect the Deathlords rather than the Unconquered Sun. Broadness may not come of one Charm, but I'm still just feeling my muscles, you know? Seeing what I can do. (John Mørke)
Q: This might be the single most interesting spoiler in this thread, unless I am reading too much into it. The Deathlords creating abyssal exaltations (and as such setting their thematic base) would be a massive change. (Mizu005)
A: That is the theory I am proceeding from, yes! (John Mørke)

Q: Does this mean that there will be mechanical differences for Abyssals based on which Deathlord created their Exaltation? Unique features, etc? (Aquillion)
A: It's possible. I haven't quite decided how I am going to work in the particulars. In order to preserve their castes and castemarks, they will still have a core set based on the Solar paradigm of raising abilities and exuding excellence and skill. But I am trying to turn away from the myth-hero to the dead-hero, which I am having to somewhat make up as I go. (John Mørke)

Q: Deathlord is now the Black Incarna?
I...am a little biased...
I still can't shrug of the image of Deathlord as crazy, incompetent ghost...(That's 2E Deathlord)
But now they created Abyssal Exalted, and even become base for their charm....

Bah, I'm overthinking things again (Asura)
A: (John Mørke)

Luckily, I can fix all the things I didn't like. We're going to put a lot of love and effort into the Deathlords.

Though I do want to clarify that the Deathlords are not going to be a basis in the way the Yozis were for Infernals, but rather the way that the Unconquered Sun is for the Solar Charm set, where he exists in hints and clues and certain apex Charms.

Q: I saw somewhere that you were drawing on Moorcock's Elric for Abyssals. What else has been inspiration for creating them? (RuinedKing)
A: Major inspirations for Abyssals include the legends of western horror: ghosts and vampires, as well as some a tinge of dark angels and demons. (John Mørke)

Q: Will Ex3 Abyssals be able to rebel against the(ir) Deathlords, go rogue, and/or become not-Creation-destroying anti-"heroes"? (without having to become Solars) (Erinys)
A: Yes, but your question's premise is flawed (because Abyssals 2e and Abyssals EX3 are two different things.) (John Mørke)

Q: I saw it mentioned in one thread that Abyssals are going to be less Void-focused. Is this going to affect Resonance? (silverwinglie)
A: Yes. (John Mørke)

Q: Some of the Abyssal charms in 2e had the group picturing a pack of mallgoths sitting around wearing plastic Dracula capes and mwa-haha'ing to themselves - will it be easier to take them seriously in 3e? (silverwinglie)
A: No! <sad> I kid. (John Mørke)

Q: Will Abyssals still be altered Solar Exaltations? (Mockery)
A: Yes. (John Mørke)

(on why Abyssals remain altered Solars)
Throwing out the castes might as well be throwing out the book. "Dark Solars" continues to be a concept that fires my imagination, far more than "Exalt of the [Oblivion/Void/other generic concept]" ever will, and that the game has pushed them in that direction in 2e is one of the number one reasons why they went from arguably the most popular splat in 1e to the hands-down least popular splat in 2e. (John Mørke)

Q: I was wondering if you could address abyssals a bit, how is resonance looking? (axelsoar)
A: The Resonance mechanic as it has existed will not be making a return. They are no longer slaves of the Deathlords in any way. My thinking on this is that if Abyssals are truly the emphatic champions of death, then whatever glories and triumphs they accrue can only serve death's cause. Ergo, you get your dark Solar champions and heroes, villains and horrors. You get your deathknights! (John Mørke)

Q: Are Abyssals keeping the whole "some Abyssals exaltations end up going walkabouts"? I really like that Ink Monkeys are I feel it makes it slightly easier for Abyssal players to take part with in some games. (PrinnySquadron)
A: Yes. Abyssals in 3e are deathknights. They are emissaries, heralds, and famulii, but not slaves. They have a Deathlord/apprentice relationship. They are not murdermachines or killbots; they do not have a Resonance which forces them to kill or kills for them. You will be able to strike out from the Deathlord's shadow. They intended you to do so, because they think that you will most certainly end up killing Creation even if you decide to be a hero. This is a legitimate claim when you consider that they were once Solars, and Solars in the late First Age were one fit of pique away from doing irreversible harm to Creation. (John Mørke)

(on bringing an ex-Solar Abyssal over to 3e)
To be totally honest, I've never dug the "Solar becomes an Abyssal" concept myself-- but we know a lot of people like it, so we're still up in the air as to what we're going to do with it. In all likelihood, the character will remain fully viable and canonical. If not, please ignore the bit that gets in your way and keep playing the character anyway! But 90% chance the character is fine. (Holden)

We're not doing Abyssal-fied everythings, no. (Holden)

Q: What roles are Abyssals meant to have in the Underworld? Seneschals for the Deathlords? (Bedlamdan)
A: Many Deathknights in the Underworld act as the generals, heralds, and champions of the Deathlords. Others find their own causes to champion, or strike out to carve out a fief for themselves. (Holden)

Q: If you had to pick one group or individual as the primary campaign antagonist for a party of loyalist Abyssals, who or what would they be? (MiltonSlavemasta)
A: Probably loyalist Abyssals working for another Deathlord. (Holden)

3e Resonance is a very different beast from either the 2e hardback version, or the Doom found in Shards. I'm pretty excited about it. (Holden)

Q: Are we still going to have Whispers in some form or another? Because that is what I want.
I want to hear dead people. (amechra)
A: When it comes time to write the Abyssal Charmset in full, I think there is going to be a dramatic who-has-the-most-Charms-up-their-sleeve contest between Holden, John, and I (I'm betting on John). Don't worry. You'll be able to hear dead people. (The Demented One)

At no point am I going to advocate anything with regards to the canon Deathlords in this thread because I already talked until I was blue in the face about their problematic Ex2 canon in my last thread. Suffice it to say for the purposes of this topic that I'm assuming that the canonical Deathlords will still be around in Ex3 and they will still have deathknights but that some new setting element will be adopted that will easily justify abyssal "ronin" as Zelbinnean puts it and these characters will safely be able to pledge themselves to entities which are not the Deathlords without fear of immediate termination or suffering eternal. (kindledRadial)
To re-rail this topic, I think I'll set that there are going to be many differences in how Deathlords are presented and conceptualized in Third Edition, and one of the effects of this is that they might be people you want to be the knights of, even if you aren't a sadistic killer or a true believer. For example, I've got a concept kicking around for an Abyssal loyal to the Dowager, but whose deeds in Creation earn them a heroic reputation, and rightly so. Instead of "serve the Deathlords" being one pole of your spectrum of play options, it's an entire spectrum unto itself (plus all the possibilities of being independent). (The Demented One)


Q: They are each of them sovereign - declared a nation, a movement, a world unto themselves - by definition, then, they do not belong to this one, and they know it. They have forsaken the reality of their birth, have declared it anathema, and their very existence is a declaration of war against the state of things. What was has been unsatisfactory. What is now is abhorrent. What will be is in their hands, and they shape it with each step, each gesture, each frustrated snarl. The world-engine in their soul whirs and fizzes with an inner realm, an inarguable vision of how the universe should be ordered, and it is their calling, their right and duty, to bring it into being. (Revlid)
A: This is accurate. (John Mørke)

Q: I just gotta say the loss of the possibility of the Devil-Tiger apotheosis is kinda annoying me. Of everything released in 2e, that was my biggest "Wow!". The idea of taking a path that allowed you to no longer be someone empowered by a higher power, but to actually become the higher power empowering yourself was awesome. If we can't have that, can we get some other path to Ascension in it's place at least? (vampire hunter D)
A: Of course it was Wow!, it was new and shocking and you didn't expect to get anything like it and the game had never given you anything of its kind before. It was also, in implementation, clunky and clumsy and waaaaaaaay out of the average game's reach, unless you contorted the entire game around it, which plenty of people ended up doing because one player wanted SOOOOO BADLY to get their hands on that canon-homebrew mojo. It's something I slapped together in 2009 and it looks like it. We've come a long way since then. Didn't you guys read the DotFA errata? Or Fair Folk? Come on, folks, you should know the drill by now. The question is not "what will they take out," it is "what will they put in?" (Holden)

Q: I remember reading in one of these threads that Infernals no longer get Yozi charms. Does this mean the possibility of transcension has been closed off, or will it happen in other ways? (Cromage)
A: Infernals are far enough away that anything I say now I could change my mind about. I will say that I think transcending is like getting a second Exaltation. Exaltation itself is a transcending. (John Mørke)

Q: I still think there's no need for Infernals to be marginalised in 3E. You could easily decouple them from the Reclamation and make the Yozis less relevant to them while at the same time making them relevant to the setting. I'll post a short write-up here because I desperately want Infernals not to be thrown to the wayside with the new Edition. (Solarn)
A: Infernals aren't being marginalized or thrown by the wayside. Specific aspects of them are being discarded as they are rewritten to suit the new edition.(Plague of Hats)
A: They're not going to be marginalized. (John Mørke)

Q: Will the new Infernals still be Solar/Abyssal level Or Celestial level? (Angsana)
A: Tiers don't really make sense anymore. Infernals will be more powerful than Solars in some respects, less powerful in others. (John Mørke)

Q: Will Ex3 Infernals be able to rebel against the Yozis, go rogue, and/or become not-Creation-destroying anti-"heroes"? (without having to become Solars) (Erinys)
A: [Yes, but your question's premise is flawed (because Infernals 2e and Infernals EX3 are two different things.)] (John Mørke) (ed note: the original answer was 'See above', pointing to another answer in the set.)

Q: I kinda want to see Infernals as the "children" of the Yozi, in the sense of the whole "living through your children" thing... reasoning that, hey, this is a way they can get around their surrender oaths. (amechra)
A: This is very close to one of the thoughts I had. (John Mørke)

Q: Will Infernals still be altered Solar Exaltations? (Mockery)
A: Yes. (John Mørke)

(on why Green Sun Princes remain altered Solars)
The Green Sun Princes are still based on Solars because anything built off the Unconquered Sun generates huge swat, because the Unconquered Sun is back to being the omega king badass of spirits. Also, because the Yozis still cannot just generate Exaltations whenever or however they want. However, GSP are not the only Infernals, as you will see. (John Mørke)

Q: Will akuma play a bigger role in 3e? (Shaula)
A: No. (John Mørke)

Q: I had an idea of how Infernals might work on RPGnet before the thread got derailed

I'm getting interesting ideas for Infernals based on John's comments about Abyssals and Lunars having charms inspired by their Deathlords and Spirit Shapes.
One of the underused aspects of MoEP: Infernals were Infernal Prayer Strips which were effectively contracts with 3rd circle demons to borrow a bit of their power - I'm suspecting that'll be more of a thing in 3rd edition.
Instead of gaining the power of Green Sun Wasting from the Malfeas charmset you'd make a pact with Ligier where he'd teach it to you in exchange for obtaining some priceless exotic ingredient for his latest project.

Any of that sound plausible? (Lioness)
A: I like the sound of Infernal prayer strips, not so much learning the powers of Third Circle demons; I think we can go bigger than that. (John Mørke)

Q: Will the Slayer Caste-Mark be a stylized green sunburst in 3E? (Xefas)
A: What's a Slayer? (John Mørke)

(Plague of Hats)

One of the big reasons that Infernals are constructed so that they dehumanize so early and forcefully is because the author really wanted to skip all that "being human" shit because (a certain flavor of) transhumanism is his jam. Like, there's all this inhuman monstrosity in there that you could gleefully dig into without having to basically reproduce 1E Lunars Charm cloud. But Manual: Infernals' best parts were very much the author giving you his story to play, and tangling everyone up in this web was a very strong way to make that happen.

3E Infernals will be much more about helping you tell your story of damned monstrosity. This doesn't require taking out all that bits where you leave humanity behind, but there will be a lot less of the Charms telling you how your story goes.

Akuma are not around as a unified thing, though there are still Exalts who make questionable bargains with questionable beings for various reasons, power among them. (Holden)

[...]the Infernals are the First Age Solars at their most twisted and decadent, dredged up from the silence of a fallen age, reborn, and unleashed into the world with a lust to reclaim their stolen crowns and see the world knelt in supplication to its rightful kings once again. No need for a magical collar or whip to drive them-- they will do as Solars inevitably do, backed by the support and dark blessings of the Demon Princes, and somewhere, centuries down the line, this will serve the needs of the Yozis. (Holden)


This PDF documents a design-in-motion.
We are constantly poking at our ideas, challenging them, and re-examining them as we continue to develop Exalted Third Edition. What we've put out is the current thinking on Infernals and their place in EX3-- as noted in the backer email and the PDF itself, this is a design subject to change before they get published, and judging by the initial response we've seen (and certain particularly eloquent critiques), one that likely will change. In particular:

The Reclamation.
Let's talk about this passage:

"Intertwined with the divine and blasphemous powers of their Chosen, the shattered Ancients will begin to grow in power. As their Exalted champions raise their Essence and grow the mastery of their dark gifts, so do the Yozis feel themselves returning to life and to power in Hell. And so, being tied together with Solar—Infernal—Exaltations that are limitless and eternal, the Yozis seek the power to thwart the Law of Diminishment. The second phase of their plan, unknown to the Green Sun Princes, is the creation of a second wave of Infernal Exalted, even greater than the first; a force of champions and heralds who by their nature will bring about a great Reclamation, freeing the Masters of Creation from their eternal prison."

The Infernals have been one of the major challenges of EX3-- their prior implementation had serious issues, and needed to change. But it was also seriously cool, and many, many people loved it to death. So a constant question we had to ask ourselves was, "how much should we try to keep? What needs to go completely? What can we keep if we tweak it?" It was hard to estimate how much vision-shift people would stand before they couldn't see their beloved characters in these new Infernals any more. And so we re-imagined the Reclamation in a way that, we thought, dodged the worst of the problems it brought to the game in 2e, while still letting the concept itself remain.

Speaking for myself? I wasn't expecting the first, immediate reaction to be "No, it's not different enough. Drop it all the way. The coolest Reclamation is the one focused entirely on the Infernals themselves, draped in corrupted First Age glory, descending upon Creation to reclaim their stolen crowns, with the Yozis as shadows of faded glory backing their rise in order to spite their old enemies and the world that has largely forgotten them."

That's a hell of a compelling vision, and one we weren't sure people would want to embrace. But that seems to be what I'm hearing.

The mechanics!

We were also positive that the organizational structure of Infernal magic needed to change. The Yozi-based conceptual archaeology of the Charm trees just wouldn't work without singular perfect defenses as a design choke-point (something EX3 doesn't have). For another, we really wanted the Infernals to be a commentary on the worst excesses of the Solars and the dangers of power as an end rather than a means-- all of this demanded going back to an Ability-based Charm set. But the selling point of 2e Infernals was their strangeness, their dabbling in transhumanist themes, their der Wille zur Macht. Could we manage that with an Ability set, especially with Abyssals already using twisted-Solar Ability logic?

John conceived of Shintais as a big, expanded mechanical concept probably taking up its own separate chapter in their hardback pretty early on, and that was immediately exciting; later development on Abyssals convinced us that there were multiple ways to twist an Ability set in exciting directions without feeling redundant. But honestly, the real test was always going to be how you guys reacted to what we wanted to do. And personally, I always felt this was going to be the hardest sell, given how cool 2e the Charms were.

The response here has been gratifying and overwhelming. We seem to be on the right track :D Expect development here to continue as indicated in the PDF, barring some massive revelation.

Wrap it up, you long-winded SOB.
Okay so-- your responses to the Infernals preview PDF have been enormously helpful in charting the future course for a splat we all know and love, and giving us a better feel of how far we can push things, and what sorts of concepts are best brought to the forefront, or allowed to fade into the backdrop. This is a design that will definitely be marked by the feedback in this Kickstarter, and it's been awesome to be able to let you get a peek at them and to hear what you think. :D

You can expect more Kickstartery goodness this week-- we have more backer previews lined up, and the dev video is currently being edited :D

Two thumbs up for this vision of the Reclamation. (Black Paper Moon)
It's really the one we kind of wanted to begin with, but weren't sure people would be down with.
Exalted: Change is... good? :0 (Holden)

There is not currently a plan for there to be such a thing as a "Caste Yozi." (Holden)

One thing I would like to say I appreciate is that you said you were bringing up more controversial stuff just to touch base with fans and see how they feel. Like the stuff with the Reclamation. (mistaya)
The funny thing is that "make the Infernals the total focus" was the plan for MONTHS and we got cold feet right around the Kickstarter, and questioned if people would reject a design that downplayed the active participation of the Yozis so much, and so tried to bring the Reclamation back in a less-damaging form. Turns out we were right to begin with-- it was cooler with Infernals as the full stars of the show. I'm really glad we got people's reaction to that waaaay ahead of time. (Holden)

If anyone was wondering, the Phylactery-Womb will not be making a return appearance in EX3. (Holden)
That's an Infernals change I can get behind, though I'd also suggest doing away with "All Green Sun Princes get gangbanged by their Yozi patrons third circle demons" (paradim)
A: I can't see that staying, either. (Stephenls)
A: Yes, that is also going the way of the dodo. Ye gads. (Holden)

Based on people's very level-headed, excited (and exciting) reactions to the Infernal piece, I am probably going to yank the entire idea of the Reclamation. (John Mørke)

I wonder if the Caste's name will be change too, because I still don't know whom Swillin' is trying to defile :P. (Jen)
Yep, they are. We've got them locked in now. :D (Holden)
Q: Can you like... spoil them a little? In any way? Science demands it! (Oramus)
A: They're all two words. (As in _______ ________ Caste.) They don't uniformly map to another White Wolf game the way the 2e castes did. (Holden)

No patron Yozis :) (Holden)

(John Mørke)

The Infernals will not be an exploration of the First Age Solars in a mechanical sense, as this is a meaningless and incoherent concept.

The connection is part of the narrative theme of the splat, and follows the overall tone of the game. What goes around, comes around. The gods unleashed the Solars, the Solars slew the gods' masters, the enemies of the gods cursed them, and once the cursed Solars grew as terrible as they were courageous and just, the Sidereals sealed them away. Now they are back, the damage seemingly erased, and it is in the hands of the players to decide if history repeats itself.

Except the Yozis are trying to take it out of your hands and ensure that it does.


A: Will they be mentioned in the core book? (Mizu005)
Q: Maybe! Unfortunately, we decided that it would be a bad idea to merge them into the setting as a regular part of the world. The Alchemicals may have been active in Creation a very short time before leaving to Autochthonia, though. I'd like to hear how readers feel about that underlined part in particular. (John Mørke)

Q: I don't see any particular benefit, and two problems. The big problem is that the foreignness of the Alchemicals and their culture is a lot of the appeal of having them return to Creation. You have to keep in mind how readers often react to being told "Here is an incredibly rare but totally possible thing," i.e. immediately wanting to take it and/or know all about it, to be special. I really don't want Alchemicals to be the True Brujah or Chaotic Good Drow of Exalted. They're better than that. Less importantly, it would retcon out some of the most poignant bits of CoCD: Autochthonia. A way for Alchemicals to slip through the Seal of Eight Divinities and get stuck in Creation could have merits, but it would have to be worded carefully. (SurlySeraph)
A: I agree. The potential that someone around might know about them could spoil the surprise of their first appearance. (John Mørke)

Q: Are you planning on having them appear in Creation as part of the thing where you show 'future events if your PCs don't do anything'? (Mizu005)
A: No comment. (John Mørke)

Q: Will we finally get colossi and municipal charms? (Mizu005)
A: This is a tricky one, because one of our goals is to make Alchemicals friendly to the atmosphere of Creation and less of a complete mismatch. In 2e, these things were never written because the writer doing them would have been unequivocally murdering the appearance that 2e was still about Exalted heroes doing mighty feats as opposed to "whee powers! I'm a robot/Yozi/whatever!" In 3e, we may be able to blend them into the setting by altering our perspectives a bit. (John Mørke)

Q: If you replace those mortals with the first Alchemicals, you've just stolen the one piece of mortal protagonism from the setting. Alchemicals already have enough! They have a whole steampunk magitech world of it! They get to be awesome from sunup to sundown! Mortals get to shovel crap day in and day out. (Kyeudo)
A: 3e's setting does not proceed directly from 2e's treatment of pretty much anything. Above all, mortals. (John Mørke)

The big problem is that the foreignness of the Alchemicals and their culture is a lot of the appeal of having them return to Creation. You have to keep in mind how readers often react to being told "Here is an incredibly rare but totally possible thing," i.e. immediately wanting to take it and/or know all about it, to be special. I really don't want Alchemicals to be the True Brujah or Chaotic Good Drow of Exalted. They're better than that. (SurlySeraph)
...Yeah, in light of this reminder, I'm going to revise my opinion. I can't think of any way to include pre-historic Alchemicals without bringing this problem in. (Kukla)
Q: Really? I mean, you don't need to have them wander into Meru and start flirting with the Magus. Just throw in a reference or two to them. [Examples] It's not exactly necessary, mind, but I don't see how it could do any harm. (Revlid)
A: The Alchemicals could certainly have been active during the Primordial War and generated no record of themselves even so. There was a /lot/ of crazy shit going on during the Primordial War, and beings of power and mystery around every corner. There were things that existed then that never existed before, and which went away just as fast. In that rush of horror and death, of birth and despair and the struggle to survive, would the appearance of a jade-skinned "god" have been noticed? Would their disappearances have been marked? Could they not have vanished from the world as surely as the Sidereals did? Yes, Alchemicals could have been active and yet never appeared in any record. Max Landis confirmed my suspicion that the realm of fantasy has few facts that cannot be changed. (John Mørke)

Q: So... do I understand correct, that Green Sun Princes and Alchemicals are non-classic, and will have less attention? That makes me feel sorrow, as they are high in my "favourite Exalt type" list. (Vi-Zet)
A: Alchies are my favorites. They are also peripheral and have always been peripheral. They were peripheral in 2e. I think they were still a hell of a lot of fun and got decent support, regardless. (Holden)

Q: Will the Alchemicals have more castes? (Giygas)
A: No. (John Mørke)

Q: There will be more than one type of exalted inside autochtonia? (Giygas)
A: No. (John Mørke)

Q: Well, it's obviously a LONG way off, but I was wondering if any of hte writers had given any thought to what, if any changes they'd make for Alchemicals when they show up. (Charles Gray)
A: Probably getting rid of Charm slots. (Holden)

Alchemicals will be superbly easy to convert. (John Mørke)

We love Alchemicals, but they have returned to an optional splat and will not be featured in the corebook. (John Mørke)


Q: Say, if Geoff Grabowski is coming back with the new edition, does this mean that the fears of Liminals conflicting with his original vision will be unnecessary? (Morally ambiguous science)
A: Oh, he doesn't know about them. We throw a tarp over them and whistle nervously every time he walks by. More seriously, 3e isn't about recreating Geoff's old vision of the game. It's not what we're after and it's not what he's after. (Holden)
A: That said, Geoff has already had some pretty great input on the Liminals. Specifically capitalizing on the name Chernozem, he suggested a bit of lore that was pure classic Exalted style, and I am going to run with it. (hatewheel)

(John Mørke)

The Liminals did not appear until after the fall of the First Age. We will talk about them in the 3e core.

Q: Liminals worry me. They feel...tacked on. I am hoping - and so far have little reason not to hold on to this hope - that 3e Core will spell them out in a way that makes them feel like they truly fit into the setting. I am curious if they're the "true" Soulsteel-attuned Exalts, or if they're Adamant-attuned. It will be interesting to see, also, how the changes to Lunars leave room for Liminals, as all the Liminal-theorizing I've heard has made them sound like either Terrestrial Abyssals or what-people-keep-hoping-Lunars-will-become. (Segev)
A: Of all the comparisons people could possibly make about Liminals based on the tiny amount we wrote or said, it is least possible to compare them to the Lunars. They are completely different. They will feel different to play and have dissimilar places in the setting. (John Mørke)

Q: Liminals are a design concept that came about during Manual: Alchemicals, when the writers realized they had exhausted the setting's potential for a new hardcover Manual of Exalted Power. (Corolinth)
A: No. We came up with the Liminals while brainstorming for 3e more than a year after Manual: Alchemicals was written. For about two years (2008-2010) we knew that 2e would not produce another Manual and were not even thinking in that direction. It was all about errata and doing as much as we could with what they were letting us publish on drivethrough. (John Mørke)

(John Mørke)

The First Age ends with the fall of the Solars, which sends the world into a period of decline that culminates in the near total death of Creation. Therefore, the Liminals first appear during the Shogunate, and probably toward the end of that era. I will say that this is just a projection; it is concievable that I will change my mind between now and then and have them pop up even earlier. The period I drop them into will help set the tone for the splat, and that leaves me with a few entry points.

Q: So they are a reaction to the Ursupation then. (Mostlyjoe)
A: They're not a reaction to the Usurpation. Way off the mark. (John Mørke)

Q: Who knows about Liminals? In-setting, I mean. (SurlySeraph)
A: The Guild is one, for sure. The common peasant, surely not. The Perfect has probably never encountered one and isn't likely to recognize one if he does; the Tri-Khan of Chiaroscuro has probably seen one in his court before. (Holden)

Q: Do the fate-ninja rulers of the world know that Liminals exist (not necessarily what they are)? (Erinys)
A: Some of them. They mostly ignore them as unimportant. (Holden)

Q: Do the Abyssals? (Erinys)
A: Some of them! (Holden)

Q: Do the Deathlords? (Erinys)
A: Most of them. (Holden)

Q: Please pretty please share some of the inspirations that led to them? (Erinys)
A: A few: Promethean: the Created. Kindred of the East. The old "Risen" supplement for Wraith. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, or: The Modern Prometheus. The mangas "Claymore" and "Berserk." The Ultimate Spider-Man "Clone Saga" storyline. (Holden)

Q: Personally, I think that Liminals sound cool. Do I remember hearing that they're the adamant-based Exalted, or am I projecting? I know that the ones we've seen so far have had a little to do with the Underworld, but some of the dev comments have seemed to indicate that's not universal. (hidajiremi)
A: They're not adamant-associated. To be totally clear: I wrote in the whole symmetry-of-adamant story hook four years ago as a form of running damage control on the Fallen Stars Memorial. It was supposed to make Storytellers go "huh, that's neat" and think up their own crap. There were never any plans to follow it up. There continue to be no plans to ever follow it up; it doesn't interest me enough to be the jumping-off point for any books or anything. (Holden)

(John Mørke)

Although, the first recorded sighting of a Liminal was by a farmer, so the story goes. He called her the Chernozem, his word for the rich black soil of the Underworld, for that is where he found her.

Q: You really think the Immaculates are going to be tolerant of a Frankenstein-like creature that someone dug up from the ground? (The Chills and One Last Joke)
A: That's where he found her. Says nothing of how she got there. (John Mørke)

Q: I hope Void isn't one of the Liminal Aspects. Maybe it can work with the right thematics but it seems too damn Abyssal. (Lioness)
A: It isn't. (Holden)

Q: Another notion I have about Liminals is that they can really shake up some people's assumptions about what it means to be Exalted. (Isator Levi)
A: Clever fellow. (Holden)

Q: Ok, that makes me think Terrestrial-level Exalted associated with the Underworld. That's just a guess though. I'd vote Prayer, Ash, Bone, and Jade for the others - all associated with sacrifices made to the dead. Yes that's a mix & match of the First & Second Edition corpse elements, but those are the ones I think fit best, with "Void" being the Underworld's "Celestial essence" equivalent, and the domain of Abyssals. To be clear, I'm saying "TERRESTRIAL-LEVEL TYPE EXALTED" not abyssalized Dragon-Blooded or anything else directly related to the Dragon-Blooded. (glamourweaver)
A: Do you really think having two Jade Aspect/Castes is a good idea? (Holden)

Q: I have a question for the Devs, if they are willing to answer: Is there a definite, finite number of Liminals that can exist at any one time, like Celestials, Abyssals, and Green Sun Princes? Or can Liminals exist in arbitrarily large numbers, like Terrestrials and Alchemicals? (Erinys)
A: There has never been enough Liminals at any one time to compare them to the other splats. (That doesn't really answer your question, but it's a hint, anyway.) (John Mørke)

Q: Do Liminals have a command structure, or is each free to do as he wishes? (Hand-of-Omega)
A: They do, but it does not involve one another. (John Mørke)

Q: Do Liminals actually consider *themselves* Exalted? (Hand-of-Omega)
A: They are Exalted, but the consideration means nothing to them. (John Mørke)

Q: If Autochthon or an Incarna were to meet with, and examine, one, what might their reaction be? (Hand-of-Omega)
A: Curiosity and surprise. (John Mørke)

Q: If Liminals are truly that different, do they even have a Magical Material, or some version of a Punishment Mechanic? (Hand-of-Omega)
A: MM is no comment. I guess by punishment mechanic you mean something like the Great Curse? Yes, they have something like that, which aids in telling the story we want them to tell. (John Mørke)

Q: If they subdivide into factions amongst themselves, then can you share what some of the names of those factions may be? (Hand-of-Omega)
A: No, they are all disparate actors, yet all essentially serving one agenda. (John Mørke)

Q: Well, lets look at KoTE for Caste ideas: Blood, Blone, Flesh, Jade, and Ghost Fire were suggested to me by a friend. Now the last 2...naw. Maybe one could be "Breath" which could be like Essence. No clue from there. Anyone? (Mostlyjoe)
A: Breath as Essence is indeed one of the Aspects I considered for the Liminals. (John Mørke)

Q: Hey, Holden. Would you consider any of the characters from Franken Fran to be Liminal-esque? Would the manga as a whole be in keeping with some or even any of the themes of the Liminals? (Writebro_Alpha)
A: Not especially, although some of the body horror elements work. (Holden)

Q: The undead are considered Anathema, aren't they? (Inugami)
A: No. The Anathema are a specific thing, not an Immaculate buzzword for "anything we think is grody." (Holden)

Q: So DragonBloods may or may not have any issues with them? They are not Solars/Lunars/etc. They might be alright if one is civil enough? (Mostlyjoe)
A: Oh they're clearly horrible abominations against everything the Immaculate Philosophy holds as auspicious and proper in the cosmic order. But since when has that stopped some Dynasts who think they've got an inside track? (Holden)

Q: I've been thinking. I think I know exactly how to describe a Liminal to someone now from all the tidbits we got: They Full Metal Alchemist Homocluli with daiklaves. Sound good? (Mostlyjoe)
A: Too narrow. (The Demented One)

Q: Since the Liminal Exalted were first mentioned in Masters of Jade, fans have been very excited to learn more. Anything you can divulge for us about them? (Charisma Bonus)
A: (John Mørke)

Yes! Liminals are a result of Holden and myself putting a list of “new Exalt” concepts together for 3e. On the list, one of his ideas was for “Patchwork Exalts,” an Exalted-homage to Promethean. It wasn’t much more than that, when I grabbed it and gave them the codename Chernozem, because I was already sure that they were very much tied to the soil as the “element” that links life and death, Creation and the Underworld. I added an origin and a method of Exaltation, and Shearer gave them their name: Liminals. We knew we were onto something and liked them so much we had to tease them in Masters of Jade.

The Liminals are interesting, because unlike the other new Exalt types, they don’t really have a huge impact on the setting or its history. They are purely a fun idea, an indulgence on our part–where we saw room for something really cool that the setting could produce, and we took advantage of the opportunity to put them into play. The Liminals will be fun, playable, and will mesh in interesting ways with the classic Exalted, but they will also serve as an example to the players and storytellers of how to unwind and find these great new character opportunities throughout Exalted. They are an example of what the lore of the game can make possible.

hatewheel: You get one question about the Chernozem before I go to sleep. Make it good!
InaVegt: Hmmm.
InaVegt: What are the names of their castes?
hatewheel: I'll give you one caste
InaVegt: Okay.
hatewheel: Blood

Blood Associations: Battlefields, the season of spring, the color red, the element of water, the waxing moon, the Maiden of Journeys. (Holden)

(John Mørke)

Liminal Aspects (Information subject to change)

Blood, which represents the heat of passion and the wonder of emotion. Blood is a carrier as well as a fulcrum; it can be a river of plagues or a font of virginal purity with which to attract and bind the foulest of horrors and bid them whip.

Breath, which represents the gift of life, the cycle of lethe, the power of possession, and the flow of Essence.

Flesh, which represents lust, hunger and thirst, madness and rage. Flesh is the core of identity and the vector of metamorphosis. It is the currency of those caught between life and death.

Marrow, which represents secrets buried deep within the flesh, the power of dark and hidden places, the strong sheathe of bone around the innermost workings of the heart.

Soil, which represents the seminal urge, the lure of life and jealousy for the living, the power of decay and the hungry whispers that wait on the threshold between life and death.

Q: While I don't dislike Liminals, it's still hard for me to understand them, I guess they might be related to what happens to lower souls? or the "exaltations" of DB's... I really can't figure out the explanation for their existance and while I'll wait until more is revealed, that's the thing that keeps me alienated from them. (Bersagliere Gonzo)
A: They don't have anything to do with DBs. (John Mørke)

Q: Possibly a reference to the Dual Monarchy, if that concept has been retained. The Dual Monarchy having at least some Exalts in their court might furnish an explanation for why the Deathlords don't just overthrow them - or, at least, a better explanation than 2E's "they just don't feel like it". (David J Prokopetz)
A: I'm not saying "yes" or "no" or even "maybe" to any of this stuff, but one important, related detail would be having Deathlords not be sucking holes of bad writing. (Plague of Hats)

Q: To me it is sounding more and more like Liminals may be the underworld's answer to Sidereals, right down to the name... (Dulahan)
A: (John Mørke)

Though that is viable and interesting headspace, that is not accurate. They are not "Underworld Dragon-Blooded" nor are they "Underworld Sidereals."

The Liminals differ from other Exalts in that their function isn't the focus of the splat, but is rather just an impelling background. It wouldn't make sense within their theme for them to be exactly what any creator planned them to be, and that is a theme that will be heavily represented.

Q: Interesting. Does "impelling" imply an Urge-style limit mechanic linked to their original purpose, or is it subtler than that? (Gayo)
A: More subtle. They're "about this one thing" which takes a usual shape of particular actions. But they are more often about the experience of being between life and death and remembering what it is to be human, and watching humanity from a short distance that sometimes seems so wide, walking the borders of the living world and sometimes even entering it as heroes or saviors. What they're supposed to be influences how you'll play them and what they do, but it takes a backseat to what it's like to be them and what they pursue as individuals, and what compels them as individuals, which usually has nothing to do with their intended function, but is a consequence of their creation. (John Mørke)

Q: I could of sworn that I read in the White Wolf thread last March that the Liminals were more closer to the Terrestrial power level than the Celestial. I will have to go check that again because at the same time they were adamant about trying to get us off of using power levels to judge the strength of the Exalted. (Starglyte)
A: They're upper Terrestrial, lower Celestial. (John Mørke)

Q: Is Children of the Black Soil just a symbolic name? (The MG)
A: My no will mislead you. (John Mørke)

Q: Which would be better Liminal reading material: Promethean: the Created or Kindred of the East? (The MG)
A: Promethean. (John Mørke)

Q: Could you tell us pious goons a bit about the Liminal Exalted? If not exactly what they are, a bit about what they do and perhaps themes associated with them? (DeathmatchFM)
A: (John Mørke)

Yes! The Liminals are created life. They are Exalted corpse-amalgams of interesting people. While I won't tell you exactly how they came to be, they derive talent and memory from harnessing (harvesting?) a collection of appendages, limbs and organs.

I'm keeping a lid on their place in the setting, except for one detail: the Liminals are on a quest to retain their humanity. They are always striving to be, their existence defined by a sense of lost humanity.

Q: So you mean only at the moment of creation, or is there some sort of Exalted USB interface going on here where you can fluff new Charms as attaching a new arm? (404GoonNotFound)
A: Swapping parts after Second Breath is indeed a feature. (John Mørke)

Q: So they're essentially the process of literally combining the wisdom (brain) of Solomon, the strength (arms) of Hercules, the stamina (muscles) of Atlas, the power (essence) of Zeus, the courage (heart) of Achilles and the speed (legs) of Mercury? (Spiderfist Island)
A: You make them sound like Captain Marvel, lol.
Not so much. They are a bit more subdued than this. (John Mørke)

Q: How long do dead exalt parts "keep," anyway? Because it would be "neat" if a Liminal was like, a collection of 4 or 5 different deceased carriers of the same Solar Essence, just hanging out with bits and pieces of all the mortal memories that had been pruned away from the exaltation itself by Lytek during the recycling process. (Chernobyl Peace Prize)
A: In their normal state, they keep as long as the Chernozem still lives. (John Mørke)

Q: (DeathmatchFM)

If it's not too much, I have another request. In some World of Darkness books, various supernaturals will have "stereotypes" of other supernatural splats. For example, in Vampire the Requiem, if I looked at Clan Daeva I could find what they thought of other clans, as well as werewolves, mages, or mortals.
Do you think you could perhaps show insight into the Liminal mindset or goals by giving us some of those "in-character perspective" stereotypes of what Liminals might think of other sorts of Exalted or supernatural creatures?

A: (John Mørke)

The thoughts of a Liminal on various beings...

The wicked dead: Your time of rest is at hand. I return you to Mother.
Deathlords: Wicked, evil, blasphemous. Enemy. Avoid at all costs.
Abyssals: Dangerous, alluring, confusing. My attraction to the vitality in this one will be my downfall.
Solars: Shining, glorious, and so, so distant. Never have I felt so alone.
The Dragon-Blooded: Mighty, fierce, loud, and bright. It is easy to hide in your shadow. You never look down.
Lunars: Deadly but reasonable. If we avoid one another no one gets hurt.
Sidereals: Sometimes curious, sometimes dangerous. Always untrustworthy. Beware!
Raksha: Empty shell, mockery of life, how I despise you.

(John Mørke)

The first known appearance of a Liminal was some time after the Great Contagion.

She was found in a shadowland by a farmer. She followed him home and killed a vicious ghost that was living in his barn and ruining his livestock. The Quiet People called her the Chernozem. The Guild picked up the story and popularized the sobriquet. But the name may have even deeper roots...

Q: Here's a question for Hatewheel et al.: do Liminals have caste marks and anima banners? (DarckRedd)
A: They have aspects and anima banners. (John Mørke)

I imagine Liminals will be an example of such [having no historical accomplishments as a group]. (Fitter Happier)
The Liminals have 0 noteworthy historical accomplishments, as a group. This is partly because the Liminals do not act as a group and have no group identity. (Holden)

[The Liminals'] "dark mother" has an actual name and has been purposefully obscured from these writeups. She was the first thing I had to invent in order to justify them. Her story is a doozy. It will definitely be explored. (John Mørke)


I'm interested in this preview. It didn't quite grab me as much as I expected.
I see some theme-port from Promethean that I'm not sure is exactly appropriate - while I do think that an inward-facing game of sorts is interesting, and the angst of a created being is a fun thing to examine, we have to remember that created beings... in GENERAL... are less unusual than in our world, and that the philosophical questions Frankenstein raises within that setting are not the same as the questions such beings raise in Creation.
The stakes of this dillema are far lower in Creation ; we aren't involving notions like God, damnation, the primacy of human awareness/intellect, etc. Those deep questions are part of what makes Frankenstein so troubling.
That said, this is just a very short preview, so perhaps elaboration on these themes can make them more compelling. It's going to be hard to a Liminal to make a big deal out of his unique condition when he's encountering all sorts of creatures more or less similar to him all the time.
I was more interesting in sort of a 'Full Metal Alchemist' take on the material, which I was also able to get from it.

Exploration of the propriety of created life is not the focus of this splat. It can be, but that's not where we bet all our chips. (John Mørke)

Q: (Sovem)

I hadn't thought about spirits creating Liminals, but now it makes perfect sense.

I wonder if demons can create Liminals...?

A: Anything can, as long as there's intent, crazy intensity, and [REDACTED] decides to intervene. (Holden)


To me, one of the most interesting things about Liminals is the incredible range of dynamics between the Exalt and their creator (or possibly even creators?). You can easily dispense with the whole angle-- as in Dame Crimson's case, where she killed her maker about five minutes after being born, or in the case of a Liminal whose creator runs away, or a Liminal who runs away, and you just never bring the maker back into the story. But if you keep them around, that's a really interesting NPC and a fascinating, complicated relationship built into the character right out of the box.

Q: Is it possible for the Liminal to meet the ghost of the body they now occupy? (Starglyte)
A: Yes, that would be possible. (Holden)


A mixed circle save a town. The grateful townsfolk hold a festival for everyone except the Liminal, cause that dude is just creepy.

The Liminal is also the guy who's never invited to the party, however he has a great "sword-arm" that he stole if you know what I mean

While we don't know if Liminals generate wastelands, the disquiet they generate is a great way to keep them on the move and I love building campaigns that move from area to area. Damn pesky players always want to stick it out in the town they saved though, but will they want it if the mob is out with pitchforks because they blame him for a drought or a miscarriage.

They don't have a Disquiet mechanic like Prometheans, and don't generate anything like the Wasteland Effect.
I do strongly suggest you put down anything fragile and take a seat before they start flaring their anima, though. (Holden)

And some of the samples in how their powers work, in terms of associations and diversity, look quite good. I also like the notion of their ability to pull themselves back together. (Isator Levi)
Part of what I was saying last year about power tiers being difficult to establish. If you're markedly weaker than a Solar, and less versatile than an Alchemical (but more versatile than a Sidereal), and you can come back to life after someone stabs you through the heart and view dismemberment as a minor annoyance where it's a huge, devastating problem for everyone else in the setting except Lunars... where does that put you on the tiering scale? (Holden)

(Isator Levi)

Are people saying they're too much like Prometheans?

I find that curious; I don't recall Prometheans as having a sense of cognitive dissonance and melancholy by being riddled with the living memories of somebody else. Their sense of isolation comes from other conceits.

Also, barring a significant revelation, I would say that Liminals are distinct from Prometheans because, unlike them, there's no opportunity to turn into a real boy.

A considerable number of Prometheans do indeed have the memories of the corpses used in their creation, if I read correctly. Also, while it is uncertain whether Liminals can become Human, it has been confirmed that a large number/all of them are at least trying to do so. (Thief-of-Faces)
The Liminal dramatic arc isn't an attempt to get rid of your Exaltation and become mortal. It's a different sort of journey. (Holden)

I don't want to backslide into a whole 'Are Alchemicals really Exalts?' style debate as that dead horse has been beaten enough, but I don't know if I like this idea. I can't judge, as I haven't seen the finished product, but it just seems to lead down a bad road. One of the things I like about Exalted was the setting's immovable stance on death. Maybe I am being too 'kneejerk' in my reaction. (Kashi)
(Count Dorku)

This is just based on what I saw in the preview:

Resurrection as a Liminal is, when you think about it, way deader than lingering on as a ghost. A Liminal isn't the same person. They don't have the same intimate connection to the memories that the Alchemicals do; it's more like some hamfisted idiot tried to program in someone else's memories and didn't quite get it right. It's a different person using the body, with access to the original's memories but no real connection to them. The original person remains pretty damn dead.

This, yes. That's a recurring motif for the Chernozem-- they're something amazing and powerful but not quite put together right. (Holden)


Worth noting: Almost nobody sets out to make a Liminal (indeed, very few people have even heard of them, and you can probably count up the number of folks in Creation who understand how they work without taking off more than one shoe).

So the Chernozem tend to be an unexpected, usually unpleasant surprise for their makers.

3E's New Exalted Types

(John Mørke)

Beyond that, everyone should know: Third Edition will have new types of playable Exalted, never before seen in previous editions.

Q: The prospect of having new playable Exalted sounds awesome! How do you plan to make room for them in the setting? Any hints as to what they might be like? (Charisma Bonus)
A: (John Mørke)

The first thing I want people to know about the new Exalted is that we are not putting them in to replace the old Exalted, nor to move the classic Exalts out of their respected and understood positions in the game. It’s really exactly the opposite–new Exalts are going to serve the purpose of emphasizing, accentuating and revitalizing the classic Exalts. When I realized I could use new Exalts to test the theses of the classic Exalts, that kind of challenge, of perceived threat, would be the kind of element that would grip the fans and make them dizzy with storytelling possibilities, as well as open up massive new conversations, topics, threads of dialogue, threads of thought…and I am adamant about bringing new blood and new ideas to the game.

As for room, Creation is massive and my imagination is huge. (laugh) Actually, some people may think that it’s difficult to come up with credible new Exalts, and I want them to know that they are absolutely right. No new Exalt will make it into the game without surpassing my exacting standards for quality in concept, thesis, and origin. We won’t just be throwing new splats at the wall–every new Exalt we have come up with will be a remarkably apt addition to the game, serving not only as a new playable extension of the game, but as a lens through which we can finally see the Solars anew. Imagine the splendor of a First Age in which the Solars are surrounded not just by Sidereal viziers, Lunar compatriots and Dragon-Blooded honor guards, but whole hosts of majestic heroes and numinous champions, glorious, infernal and divine. The Solars sat at the confluence of the greatest assembly of heroes there ever was, in a time of greater splendor and greater tragedy than ever has been wrought. For Solar players in the new edition, EX3 may well be about rediscovering that lost glory and recapturing it in this lost and fallen age.

Q: Charms have been radically redesigned, because honestly, I can't see even this design team willingly promising multiple exalted types given how miserable writing and (most importantly) mechanically vetting the old charms were. (Charles Gray)
A: Actually, Charm writing is one of the greatest pleasures of several of our authors, and we have looked at every new Exalt type and asked the specific question: "Can we write an awesome Charm set for these guys?" and the answer has been yes in each case...similar to the way that toymakers who build action figures must start with an identical mold before casting it into two different toys, or the guys at Lego must contend with the same 6448 bricks every time they sit down to come up with a new imagining of the product. What makes us good at Exalted production is that we are all very gifted toy makers. (John Mørke)

Q: So, one question-- we know about Liminals-- care to spoil even a name of the type of one of these "new exalts" and will they at least be mentioned in the core book? (Charles Gray)
A: As for new Exalts, wait for the corebook! (John Mørke)

Q: Can you give us an aproximate of how many new exalted types you have more or less defined yet? (Gonzo)
A: Somewhere between 1 and n.
That's an approximate, right? (Stephenls)
A: (The Demented One)

I've personally come up with about a half dozen dozen concepts for potential types of Exaltation. Some of these exists as just a paragraph of descriptive text. Others are pretty fleshed-out outlines including their underlying backstory, metaphysics, and some sample Charms (maybe I'll ask Holden about posting spoilers??? no that'd be stupid)

the odds of you seeing one of these in the Exalted 3e corebook are definitely somewhere in the 1%—100% range

Q: I need to ask. Where on the power level do these new exalts fit? Are we talking about more Terrestrial exalted? More Celestial? A new tier completely? I would absolutely love to have more options in the Dragonblood/God blooded area. Thanks (Kasharin Manichea)
A: "Yes."
You'll have a wider palette of characters to work with at both the Terrestrial and Celestial levels. (Holden)

Q: New lore question:
Every Solar has a Lunar mate. Will any of the new Exalted be tied together similar to the Solar-Lunar pairings? (Starglyte)
A: I would not assume the first statement to be true. The answer to your question, though, is "could be." (John Mørke)


I should just say here that I was really nervous about the idea of adding new Exalts to the setting in general. John and Holden sold me on the idea by presenting sets of ideas that are excellent in specific.

(They'd have done 'em anyway even if they hadn't sold me on them, I think. I'm not the boss. But they did sell me on them. And I am a hell of a harsh critic when it comes to adding things to Exalted that don't belong.)


John and Holden have good ideas, not just in terms of "There should be more types of Exalts!" but also why there should be more types of Exalts, and more importantly the specific new types of Exalts they have in mind. I was very impressed. This is not more for the sake of more.

Q: I'd be less worried about the possibility of new Exalted types if it had only appeared once the core types were done and the game was complete, not before the corebook was even out. This way, I'm not just worried about trivial things like the new types completely diluting the idea of the Exalted, but the new ideas limiting the time and effort devoted to core concepts, as well as being ingrained in the game, instead of entirely optional. (ResplendentScorpion)
A: (Plague of Hats)

On the one hand, this is a terrible idea because then you've foisted a problem the Lunars have had on everything new. Now everyone is scavenging at the edges, except for the favored few (i.e., the ones we've all seen before).

On the very similar other hand, it's also a bad idea to approach the game this way. We want to facilitate mixed games. We want you to want all the parts of the game. But that obsessively holistic approach to the setting and rules that weighed down Exalted needs to go. Lowering the power curve and tightening the scope will help do that, and opens up more options because there's going to be a lot more breathing room from doing that and more.

On the supernumerary hand, that stuff I just said also makes it easier to ignore the parts of the game you don't like, anyway.

Q: Now the guy in charge of the project now might call that "wankery", and I imagine to his standard it is, thankfully I found this thread so I could catch the fact that the designer and I are on wildly different pages as far as what we enjoyed out of the exalted setting. The fact remains that the first impulse of my playgroup was distaste at the thought of "yet more" exalts, I'm sorry if that mortally offended anyone. (Mcdermott)
A: I don't call it wankery; I don't agree with Stephen's take on my position. The element of five is still important, but not to the exclusion of every element outside of that pattern, which Exalted already had well before I became developer. Rather, new Exalts can serve to reinforce old themes, and reinstate themes which were falling by the wayside and were never very strong in the first place. (John Mørke)

Q: (ShanG)

Make no mistake, I like the idea of new Exalt types. I've always preferred Exalted as a hodge-podge of people with different kinds of powers, rather than the 'Solars are everything' model some people seem to embrace.

But we're revisiting what I said in my last post - when you're actually running a game it is easier to add in an optional element or emphasize a minor element than it is to remove or de-emphasize a major element.

It's better for everybody if you make it minor and easy to ignore.

A: (John Mørke)

It will be pretty easy to write the new Exalts out of the setting if you don't like them. In every case where they have changed history, they have changed it to emphasize the core premise of the game and enhance it, and to make the classic Exalts look good. So you could only do damage to the game by removing the new guys. However, a good toy maker knows the importance of customer preference and how to make accessories feel like they are completely necessary and you can't live without them, even while they are still fully optional. That's what we've done here. I can see all the connection points where new Exalts come into the setting, and those can be fairly easily disconnected, like the rails on a train set, if it is your prerogative to do so.

Still, new Exalts will factor into major hardbacks and get hardbacks of their own. The Siddy hardback is going to have a detailed section on Black Market Exaltations, with Sidereal investigation teams dedicated to stopping Weapon X style Exaltations and dirty bomb Exaltations and I just can't imagine Sidereals as being any cooler than they will be in EX3, and a large part of that is due to the new Exalts I have written into the setting.

Q: Stopping them? Or using them as deniable assets? (Katsue)
A: We'll see. (John Mørke)

Q: Funny, I was thinking the exact opposite. These were the things which would endure forever, circling the mouth of Oblivion. They were nearly transcendent entities of cosmic significance and greater sacrosanctity than the king of heaven and the authors of reality.
Now they are being hawked like common commodities. (Exthalion)
A: "Black market" is a metaphor for the process in which these are created. No one is going around the market squares of Yu-Shan hawking counterfeit Gucci Exaltations for cheap. Rather, it refers to the covert and forbidden nature of the methods by which they are created, and the attitude taken towards them by Heaven's enforcers. (The Demented One)

Q: I can understand. Probably due to the inferences that exaltations are pretty easy to make. While the Exalted have never been a secret making them has always been up in the air and have been considered practically impossible. The recent comments the Devs have made almost makes it sound like the game is going to be flooded by new exaltations. I personally dislike the idea. I would rather them use new created races then completely changing the system myself. It won't make my stop playing the game but I can't say I appreciate the fact that the setting is only keeping the barest aspects of its former selves. (Epimetheus)
A: It's not being flooded. It's kind of amusing, because no new details about the new Exalted have been introduced. All this buzz is about the way the Sidereal perceive new Exaltations. I think it's a pretty positive buzz, mind you—it's generating a lot of good conversations over on RPG.net. If you were in the business of national security, though, how many hidden bombs would you think were too many hidden bombs? (The answer is 1.) (John Mørke)

Q: [...]I for one, finally like they're opening the "artificial Exaltation" line of stories. Lots of drama there, not to mention excuses for the ST to go crazy. (Leliel)
A: (Holden)

I dunno where this idea of "fake Exaltations" came from, but they're certainly not a thing that exists in EX3. Sidereals don't get worried because someone like Han-Tha is looking to get his hands on an ineffectual made-in-Hong-Kong knockoff.

"Black market" does not mean "bootleg." Black market means trade in restricted or contraband materials.

Q: Black Market Exaltations? Not sold to be honest. This seems to counter the theme of Exaltation being a mystical event. This sounds like Exaltations are something the Gods barter and smuggle among themselves, instead of being destiny choosing a mortal for big things.(Starglyte)
A: Exaltation remains a mystical event. (John Mørke)
A: The more you try to go "Exaltations are this, and only this" (a popular 2e pastime, and one in which the Dragon-Blooded were frequently excluded so Exaltation could be rammed into a little box and sealed in with shipping tape) the more EX3 is going to confound you. Re-examining what it means to be Exalted is one of the cornerstones of the edition. (Holden)

Q: It closes off the mood of the story being "Your guys belong to an elite and exclusive club not any random jackass with a downloaded Exalt making kit can join". I quite like that theme and if it's changing then I'm going to be diverging from canon for more than a few games, I expect. (Spectralent)
A: Nope, everything I have added has been carefully crafted to uphold the premise of the game and eliminate ideas that threaten those tenets, such as Exalts who use Charms that don't really belong to them and don't spring from anything we could use to describe said character. (John Mørke)

Q: Sure, but presumably the corebook would actually describe them as Whatever Exalted, instead of calling them Condemnations or whatever the opposite of a legitimate Exalt should be. If it's going to be "The mad products of this ritual, calling themselves "Exalted", bla bla" or whatever, that's fine, but the idea of something that's recognised to be an Exaltation being traded just strikes me as wrong, unless maaaaybe we're discussing a sort of market of the impossible type thing. (Spectralent)
A: You mean like the Deathlords stealing a ton of Solar Exaltations, then trading them to the Yozis under the table? (Holden)

(Eric Minton)

It is also worth noting that if we are to add new material, it is far better to add it during initial development -- so space can be opened to fit it and connections can be drawn to link it to the other setting elements where appropriate -- than to try and squeeze it into later supplements after the new shape of the setting has been finalized and presented to players in the core.

Q: You know, while I do find the concept of someone bargaining for their Exaltation or what not to be vaguely interesting...
...my read on the concept was more, "Shady Gods of Uncertain Providence acquiring Dangerous Exaltations with which to use to bedevil Heaven," as opposed to "Some mortal somewhere buys a Exaltation in the Exaltation Black Market." (CrownedSun)
A: Your read was correct. (Holden)

Q: Can the "Black Market" Exaltations be in good standing with Heaven even though they were created outside of approved channels? (Mostlyjoe)
A: Yes (John Mørke)

Q: Personally, I don't like the idea of Exaltation being reproducible, because I like the idea of the Exaltations that we have being around forever and a major premise of the game being dealing with this fact. I feel that if Exaltations are reproducible, then an "Arms Race" is possible to happen, which I think is a really bad idea for Exalted.
So reproducible Exaltations are gonna be a very difficult sell for me. I don't like the idea. I REALLY don't like the idea. And I don't quite know entirely why it sounds really bad to me. The "Arms Race" issue is one thing I've identified as being a problem. (Paradim)
A: Exaltations as technology / mass produced Exalts = not interesting to me / not a thing we're doing in EX3. (John Mørke)
A: Do you have problem with Terrestrial and Alchemical Exalted? (Holden)

Q: Any information you can share on Black Market Exlatations? (Zereth)
A: I am dying to talk about this. I will probably save it for the Kickstarter. (John Mørke)

[...]And finally, the “black market” champions of forbidden gods, made with divine power stolen from the hand of the Unconquered Sun. (Deluxe Exalted 3rd Edition Kickstarter)

Q: Will the 'black market' Exalts be playable? (marin)
A: I sent in a write-up of a black market Exalt that's designed for PC consumption, so John willing, I suspect it might be in the cards. (The Demented One)

(Plague of Hats)

That pretty mediocre Exaltation table for generational games [for Dragon-Blooded] never really pretended to be The Scientifically Observable Way Things Work, even if the fans, and later some writers, acted like it was. This is a similar problem foisted on many things from the First and especially Second Editions. Just like we're rejecting the simplification of Exaltation into car bombs for the sake of lazy gods to shoot heroin into their dicks, we're rejecting the idea that these are scrupulous text books that we're writing. They never were, no matter how much we fans have treated them as such, and one of the worst things that happened to Exalted ever was when some of the writers started actively pursuing this approach.

(Plague of Hats)

The setting was already getting significantly rewritten, even just to better integrate Lunars. So.

(The Demented One)

None of the new Exalts are going to be recolors, reskins, or mods of existing Exalted. The ties between them are based on interaction within the setting, alliance and antagonism and uneasy cooperation, not on copying mechanics.

Q: That's reassuring, although it does leave the other part of the problem open, i.e. the more you define an Exaltation by showing us things that it *isn't*, the more you hem it in to a narrower and narrower focus. If you, say, created an Exaltation themed around rebellion and fighting the power (ROW ROW FIGHT DA POWA), that means that now Solar characters can no longer be rebels because someone who would otherwise be a rebellious Solar would exalt as that new type instead. I know this isn't a perfect example, but it's the kind of thing I'm worried about. (Solarn)
A: (The Demented One)

Degrading the classic Exaltations to serve the new Exaltations would be a pretty dumb move!

What might happen, to elaborate your example, is that you'd have Chosen of Rebellion who serve to enable a particular mode of gameplay that wouldn't really be facilitated by any of the classic Exalted. Certainly, there'd be some overlap—"rebellious" is too big a personality trait to constrain to any one host—but you might see something like, say, a Terrestrialish-level Exalt whose powers allow him to draw upon and embody the will of an oppressed people to act as an avatar of their liberation, to go with the first thing that comes to mind. While there's potential overlap in terms of character concept between that and a Solar revolutionary, it's pretty clear that the two of them would play very differently.

A: Only if you accept it as an axiom that there can never be overlap. Which would be a very bad axiom to accept. (Holden)

Q: I am curious about something with the new Exalts, though I am not sure if you all can answer. So for the writers and development team on Ex3. When you all were hashing out ideas for the new Exalt types you wanted to include in the setting. Was it a matter of starting out with Liminals and liking the way they were coalescing and moved to create other new Exalts. Or something more along the lines of independent work coming together to propose then add the new Exalts? (GogoPartDuex)
A: John was the one who got the ball rolling, both by deciding we needed new Exalts period, and by providing proof-of-concept with his first idea. Then we sat down to brainstorm other new Exalts, and the Liminals were the only concept to really survive that first round of brainstorming. The rest of the new guys slowly appeared afterwards, in various ways. (Holden)

Q: Were the Liminals said proof of concept? Or did he mercilessly give his own idea the axe in the end? (Mizu005)
A: No, Liminals were the second guys we green-lit. (Holden)

Q: (Starglyte)

Musings about the Sidekick Exalted: ("Universal" Exalted from the livestream)

As hinted at in the livestream, these Exalted play very well with others. They work well with both Solar and Dragonblooded according to the spoilers we received. Since each Exalted type has a theme ( or tries to have a theme in the case of previous editions), what would be the Sidekick's theme of heroism? Something that is good at supporting other Exalted, but at the same time can stand on its own. I am wondering if the 'Chosen of Rebellion' used as a example in the White Wolf forums might give us a clue to the Sidekicks. Maybe the Sidekicks have multiple themes that is unique to a particular exalt. So if the other exalted work towards what a particular sidekick's theme, they get bonuses and/or other system perks.

A: They're not really sidekicks anymore than Dragon-Blooded are sidekicks, but they are the one thing that once you see them, you'll go "Oh, of course! Why weren't these guys here from the start?" and never want to run the game without them. (Stephenls)

Q: I wondered if people were expecting that though given that both times we've had new Exalts introduced in 1st and 2nd edition the newcomers could punch a hole in the setting as we knew it though sheer focused manpower. (Huntress)
A: We're kind of over introducing new dudes by having the established dudes job to them. (Stephenls)


Clarification about the universal Exalts.

So, okay, a lot of the new Exalted are created with existing types of Exalted in mind. The simplest way to understand this is with an example.

It is probably not a spoiler at this point to say that Liminals will have something to do with the Underworld! Now, as the Abyssals are already the Underworld Exalted, in the sense of being the Exalted associated with the Underworld, you might worry that the Liminals will steal some of the Abyssals' thunder! Theme overlap, new hotness vs. old and busted, etc.. In fact this is not the case. The Liminal Exalted will contrast with the Abyssals in ways that show certain Abyssal traits in a new light, and will help to revitalize the Abyssals as a thing. At the very least, Liminals will provide more tools for running Abyssal games centered around the Underworld rather than Creation, because, you know, now there's this other set of people who have agendas with relevance to the Underworld, and those agendas are going to bump up against Abyssal agendas naturally.

In much the same way that Liminals will compliment Abyssals, we have new Exalt types that will compliment other existing Exalt types, and in fact, are conceived and designed to compliment and revitalize existing Exalt types. (But, uh, never just to compliment them. I mean, you can run a game with the [REDACTED] Exalted interfacing with Solars even though the [REDACTED] Exalted are designed to compliment someone else.)

The as-yet-name-unrevealed universal Exalted are not one of those. They are not designed to compliment or revitalize any particular set of Exalted we already have. That's basically all John meant when he called them universal Exalts -- they will be universally relevant to everything in the existing setting and all the existing and new character types, rather than being designed as a compliment or contrast to any particular existing thing.

(Ironically the Liminals are like the worst possible example I can use for that, because they weren't really originally conceived as constrasts to the Abyssals. But I can't cite a better example yet.)

Q: So essentially these Universal Exalts are to help make an interesting cast of 'not mook squad of Dragonblooded #525'? Interesting.
And if they are truly universal in underlying design, that means people can make their own to flavor up their campaigns. That's really a good thing, IMO. (arthurh3535)
A: "Universally applicable" doesn't mean universal in design, actually. For example, in 1e, the plans of the Sidereals are universally relevant to Solars, Lunars, Abyssals, and Dragon-Blooded, but that doesn't mean Sidereals come off as generic. You're making assumptions. (Stephenls)

Q: Will all the potential Exalt types be talked about during the Kickstarter, even in fleeting? (Mostlyjoe)
A: No (John Mørke)

Q: John! You made it. Okay, Can you spoil us on one of the new Exalted types? (Mostlyjoe)
A: (John Mørke)

Right now, I am keeping a tight lid on the new Exalts. While I want people to know they exist, I also want the power of surprise on my side when they spring onto the scene.

I can tell you about a certain new Exalted character, though, who is one of the new Exalt types. She is the Chosen of Masks. She traded her face for Second Breath, and was given a mask in its place. Now she exists in the layers of a grand masquerade, crafting masks of exquisite horror and beauty and wearing them to change her nature. One mask might give her the powers of a hideous monster, another a sinuous exotic multi-limbed dancer from the Time Before; another the shadow-limber form of the she-panther; she even has a mask that is her old face, and a number of new ones.

Q: John, not serious question...can I be an Exalted of Gambling? Chose of the God of Gamblers? Can Chow Yun Fat play me in the movie? (Mostlyjoe)
A: We'll see! (John Mørke)

I admit that this new flood of additional Exalt types has me leery. It feels...forced, or like the kind of thing one sees in fanfic. I know this isn't fanfic, and I hope it's an incredibly unfair instinct, as I respect the writers of this line more than that, but it keeps bumping my "spidey sense" the wrong way, if that makes any sense. (Segev)
Trust me I get the same feeling. So long as we can ignore them and they remain periphery I'll be fine with them myself. (Epimetheus)
I recall a lot of posts where you were not OK about the Sidereals being ignored at the periphery. (John Mørke)
Q: What does that have to do with the new Exalt types being able to be ignored without problem? (notthepenguins)
A: (John Mørke)

The point is that the mistreatment of Sidereals was miserable for fans of Sidereals. There will also be fans of the new Exalts. The presumption in his post (and Segev's, and yours) is that there won't be.

You can ignore Solars if you want. If you ask that I make them peripheral so it's easier for you to ignore them, I laugh in your face.

I gather that the "new Exalted" do not form power-blocs comparable to the "original set" (Solars, Abyssals, Lunars, Sidereals, Dragon-Blooded) -- whether because of numbers (John told us about the Chosen of Masks -- only one?), intrinsic power level, or both. (Dean Shomshak)
...I sure hope there is more than one. The Chosen of Masks sounded like a sort of character type I'd really like to play. (AnimeHsu)
Speaking in the purely hypothetical, not confirming / not denying mode of speech, "if" I were to put a stand-alone Exalt with its complete Charm set in a book, I would make that character completely non-existent in the setting. (John Mørke)

People keep hysterically demanding that we talk to them about this stuff in greater and greater detail. (Holden)
Oh, c'mon. You do throw your share of red meat to the tigers. (MissMaddy)
Maddy, if that were true I'd do things like mention that the name of one of the new Exalt types starts with a G, and then provide no further details.
Oh wait, whoops. (Holden)

(on new Sidereal-associated Exalts aside from the Getimians)
Siddies have their hands on the pulse of Exaltation, including the black market phenomenon. Those weren't the Exalts I was talking about. I was talking about a kind of Exalt that hasn't even been hinted at. (John Mørke)

(on fan Exalts such as Nocturnals)
A: No canon Nocturnals, sorry. But 3e is an edition that is enthusiastically open and approving of the idea of something like Nocturnals existing-- it's a big, unpredictable world, full of all kinds of hidden things waiting to step into the light. "Gin up your own new Exalt type" is as much a thing EX3 would encourage you to do as "come up with a custom Charm." (Holden)

Without ruling out any crazy future ideas, I can say that we don't plan to give Gaia her own Exalts at this time. As a general thing, the new Exalts of third edition are not a matter of "hey, here's a notable setting figure who didn't have any Exalted previously-- let's give him some!" (Holden)
But, that's a perfectly good reason for creating new exalted types... (Asura)
It really isn't. Exalts can't retain conceptual gravitas if they're just being used to fill out some kind of setting bingo card; it would lead to a lot of thin, flimsy ideas that are just there because they could be there, rather than because they offer something cool and compelling. (Holden)

(vampire hunter D)

Well, with 3e soon to drop, I'm going ot soon start working on an old project of mine: an alternate world Shard. In it, there are in fact two Exalted Hosts*, on par with each other and once at War. Now, I'm don't want to do mirrors, like we got with 2e Abyssals and Infernals to Solars, for each splat. But something different but comparable power.

Now, I already have a few ideas. I'm going ot see if the idea of Apocalyptics can be made into counter-Lunars. Maybe Nocturnals to Sidereals. Now, my idea for the Solar counter would be the Galactics. Chosen of Andromeda, the Milky Way. Now, I need some inspiration, because I never worked past this point. What should she be godess of (humanity in general, or all beings with souls? would be a good idae what he Milky Way is), but what powers shoudl they have.

So I turn to you, of forum Peanut Gallery. What would you suggest for this?

*well, technically 3, the Alchemicals are not part of either, but independants.

(John Mørke)

This is a fascinating topic, and I think you will be pleased with how EX3 bears it out.

The Niobraran War featured numerous Exalts who could rival the Solars. You can make Exigents that rival Solars as well.

(John Mørke)

I did say there would be a new Exalt related to Lunars. I don't remember where, though.

Unfortunately, the concept is very unfinished, so I can't say anything right now without the vast likelihood of it being wrong.

Q: [...]Do you think you'll have it fleshed out enough to include some mentions in the core or are we probably gonna need to wait for Lunars? (BrilliantRain)
A: I have enough to talk about them in the core, but I won't. (John Mørke)

(on the Niobraran Exalted types) The Spoken and the Chosen of the Depths. (John Mørke)
Q: Ooh, Chosen of the Depths.
These the counterparts to Lunars? (Plotvitalnpc)
A: Nope! (John Mørke)

I had thought this might be a thing. I don't have a clue how one might design an Exalted Host based around the 'Depths', but there are so many possibilities.
Wait! Let me guess; They aren't just about the -ocean- depths, are they? (Thief-of-Faces)
The Chosen of the Depths are going to be a kind of conceptual take on the undersea, rather than guys who just control water. (John Mørke)

Q: Are there going to be more Exalt types that haven't been previewed before?
A: Yes. (Holden)

There's still going to be a Lunar-focused Exalt, btw. We just haven't had anything to say about it yet. (John Mørke)

I hope one of the unrevealed ones isn't Wyld/Ishvara/Shinma/etc Exalted, because I'd much rather see rare powerful Raksha that can hold their own with the Exalted be playable than have Humans blessed to fill that niche. (glamourweaver)
I can go ahead and tell you that it is not. (Eric Minton)


[...]The Getimian Exalted, drawn from stillborn destinies to serve as agents in one man’s war against Heaven.[...] (Deluxe Exalted 3rd Edition Kickstarter)


They're not really Nocturnal Exalted inspired.
They're also one of the coolest things in Ex3.
Those two facts may or may not be connected depending on your opinion of the Nocturnal Exalted. To be clear, I don't have one of those, so I'm not trying to disparage.

I have never read Nocturnals; the Getimian Exalted have nothing to do with them. (John Mørke)

(on the man warring against Heaven)
His name is Rakan Thulio, actually. (Stephenls)

F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5 F5
Wait, why am I reloading? (John Mørke)
Bad John. You stop that and tell them about the thing I wrote this instant. (Chai Tea)

The Getimians do appear in the corebook, but they are elusive and tricky creatures. (Holden)

(John Mørke)

OKAY, so here's what I have to say about the Getimian Exalted.

The Getimian Exalted run off a system of Getimian Alchemy, in which they use sutras, katas—intense martial training developed by Rakan Thulio—to control their internal forces and release them. In a very similar sense to Sidereals, the Getimians can conduct their will along the threads of destiny by working their will internally through carefully balancing, combining, or interrupting the flow of yin and yang Essence through their bodies and then forcing it outward.
Within each Getimian is a Loom of Fate. Pattern spiders race up and down their spines, their bones are the spun webs of destiny, their minds cycling through constant states of universal motion and the flow of the world. With a thought the pattern spiders within shift Essence between his chakras, giving him new power with which to enhance his actions, or disrupt the pattern of destiny.

We have built a fuckin' awesome new Charm paradigm for these guys, based largely on which mote pool you pay with. Paying from your yin pool or from your yang pool could change the entire effect of a Charm.

I will let Holden explain in more detail.

The Getimians are unlike the other Exalts you're familiar with in that their Personal and Peripheral Essence pools are the same size. Personal Essence is 'Yin' Essence-- dark, cold, passive, consumptive, negative energy. Peripheral Essence is 'Yang' Essence-- bright, hot, active, positive, creative energy. Some of their Charms can only be powered by one kind of Essence or the other; others don't care what you're spending; and still other Charms will behave in markedly different ways depending on what you're feeding them with. Their magic will also start to behave very differently as the two pools grow imbalanced with regards to one another. Some Getimians specialize in the use of one variety of Essence or the other, while others apply a more balanced approach-- this is down to their style as an individual.
Getimian Alchemy is a mechanically separate system from their Charmset, reminiscent of but also markedly different than Sidereal Astrology. More detail on it will have to wait until later in the Kickstarter... (Holden)


So on the one hand, Getimians sound fucking incredible and awesome. On the other, I kinda have to wonder... How exactly do they qualify as "Exalted"?

I mean, to me, the Exalted are the handiwork of Autochthon. I know that some of that is going away in EX3, but what exactly does it mean to be Exalted now? If a dude (yes, a Sidereal dude, but a dude nonetheless) can craft something that turns people into Exalted, what does that say for the value of everyone else's Exaltations? Are they actually part of the same category, or just lumped together in the same way that the different breeds of bats are lumped together even though they're not really related?

Some clarification on what EX3 means by "Exalted" would be nice, is what I'm saying.

Rakan didn't make them.
Exaltation is the result of a heroic mortal becoming something greater due to a god's intervention. The idea is the same here. (John Mørke)

Hint: When I say god, I am not talking about the Exalted definition. I am speaking of anything extremely powerful. For example, Yozis have Exalts. When I said god above, I was including the Yozis, or anything with incredible, godlike power. Let the rumors fly where they will. (John Mørke)

You will see that Thulio discovered them, however, and basically...
No, just wait for the stretch goal. (John Mørke)

[...]Rakan Thulio, rogue Sidereal Exalted, architect of the war against Heaven. Of him, more will be spoken in the future. I think he might be my favorite of all John's many additions to EX3. (Holden)

Getimians: I can't say much more about them than this: They are human, but they are created. Not by Rakan, though he is the most influential figure in a Getimian's life--at the beginning, at least. Each has an internal Loom of Fate, complete with pattern spiders shuttling Essence between their chakras. They use Getimian Alchemy to control their personal fate, but also to unleash the fates they have fashioned into the weave of destiny, disrupting the pattern. Many of their Charms are disruptive to the order of the Maidens' manifest. Unlike other Exalted, their Essence is broken up into two pools of yin and yang. Charms often have two completely different functions depending on which pool they are paid from. Some interesting effects begin when the Getimian has an imbalance in his pools and there will be mechanics that make it possible for him to shift his motes from pool to pool. (John Mørke)

Q: Is there any chance the developers could tell us about one of the Getimian characters?
The lack of NPCs thus far means I don't have quite the same feel for them that I do for Liminal and Exigents. (Lioness)
A: (Holden)

Minuend used to be the feared and worshiped sorcerer-queen of a wealthy, upstart kingdom in the deep South, until she woke up one day and wasn't. She aims to reclaim what was taken from her, and to punish those responsible.

An-Ko-Shi has dedicated his fists to justice. He particularly focuses on delivering punishment to the wicked in absence of a derelict Heaven. He eagerly builds his strength for the day when he can cast down Fakharu, the corrupt censor of the West.

Apkallu was a gambler who lost and won his freedom, won and lost a fortune, then gained Exaltation. Despite his roguish background, he holds the preservation of Creation against the vices of the mighty as his most pressing concern, and so has forsaken Rakan Thulio's dream. He works as a special consultant for the Bureau of Destiny.

(from Kickstarter Update #69)

In the Time Before, a young man lay on his sickbed, locked in the grip of the sleeping death. One cold night, as Saturn passed through the constellation of the Sorcerer, he awakened with starlight in his eyes, and was borne away on the wings of omen-birds. They say that this is how Rakan Thulio, the Sleepwalker, entered the service of Endings. What little they know for certain is this: Rakan Thulio Exalted in the first days, and was a hero amongst the Chosen. But when the love of his life chose another, he came to believe that Heaven had done him a great injustice. Believing his destiny had been written by another, his resentment for the cruel hands of fate became hatred for the entire Celestial Bureaucracy. Using forbidden martial techniques, he tapped into a power feared even by the Demon Princes, and marked himself as an enemy of Heaven. When Saturn made her Sign against him, he turned it aside with blasphemous power, and tore the thread of his destiny from the Loom of Fate. For this, Thulio was cast out of Heaven. Only then did Yu-Shan learn the scope of his ambitions. Thulio has not aged a day since then. Yu-Shan fears what he has in store for the world, even as information on his plans is frustratingly sparse. What is known for sure is that Thulio loathes Heaven, and has sent his agents to tear it apart, piece by piece.

When more details on Getimians emerge it'll be pretty obvious why they want to throw their lot in with a dude who's like "You know what? Fuck destiny and fuck the gods who plan it." (Stephenls)



Also apparently they're not literally called the Exigent Exalted. Though at this rate that's rapidly becoming their unofficial fan name I suspect.

The actual term is simply "Exigent." (Eric Minton)


The precise construction "Exigent Exalted" is not a term you'll see used in the books or in Creation. Strawmaiden Janest is the Harvest Exalt-- as such, she is an Exigent.

Q: So...in whatever book details these Exalted, it won't say "Exigent Exalted" at the top of the page? :S (Hand-of-Omega)
A: Janest is an Exigent. If one were to refer to them collectively, one would speak of them as Exigents. (Eric Minton)

Janest has the power of the reaping with her, but that power has been imbued and magnified by the fire in the eyes of the Unconquered Sun. (John Mørke)

I don't like dropping spoilers without authorization, but just so people don't go spreading around on the Internet that we killed Shalrina and are therefore killing peoples' favorite gods willy-nilly in order to open up a new type of player character, no, the divine flames of Exigence don't automatically consume the god using it. It depends on the strength of the god. The God of Masks has a lot more metaphysical substance than J. Random Field God. (Stephenls)

Q: Are these the same as the "universal" Exalted you were talking about a while back? (MiltonSlavemasta)
A: Yes. (John Mørke)

Q: Are Exigents going to be covered in the core? Or would they be in the odd supplements? (Alectai)
A: The Exigents are getting a hardback. (John Mørke)

Q: How different might two Exigents seem from one another? Like if I was going to run a game that included NPCs that were revealed, at a later date, to be Exigents, how much descriptive space can I have between them? Like, is it the amount of difference that might exist between two different Dawn Caste, or between a Dawn Caste and an Eclipse Caste, or between a Solar and a Lunar? (Attorney at Funk)
A: (John Mørke)

They would be two completely different Exalts, like joining a Solar and a Lunar.

They range as far afield as you can imagine.

Q: (Alectai)

How are you going to possibly condense that into one hardback the...

Oh, I think I have an inkling--is it going to be something like how God Charms work? You get so many templates, but you add limitations based on the nature of the patron God?

A: (John Mørke)

No. We have put a lot of thought into how to pull this off, and so a part of the Exigents hardback will be dedicated to building your own.

God charms don't work that way in EX3, for what it's worth.


Anyone else ever wanted to play an imaginatively-powered god-blood but lamented how low-powered you'd be in comparison to all the other PCs?

Well, now there's Exigents.

(John Mørke)

Indeed, all those times I said that Sidereals have their fingers on the pulse of Exaltation? I was talking about the Exigents. One of the offices of the Bureau of Destiny is dedicated to tracking down and identifying the Exigents. Also, being Sidereals, they have done their best to try to manipulate which champions become Exigents, as well as which gods are given the opportunity.

As some people have begun to speculate, the Black Market Exaltations refer to Exigents made illicitly, somehow bypassing the Unconquered Sun's erm firewall, so to speak.

In the most literal terms, there were raw Exaltations granted by the Unconquered Sun which were then not used by the petitioner, but instead passed into the world of spirits, where it cycled the realms of gods and men until a bidder was finally able to trigger it.

A "dirty bomb" (not actual game term) Exaltation is a similar concept, only the Exaltation has passed through the hands of multiple spirits who have modified the power inside. This only happens for nefarious, terrible reasons, as the resulting Exigent is always an aberration of enormous power.

(John Mørke)

Exigents are unique Exalts. The difference between the classics and the Exigents are that Exigents are based on a variety of gods and can produce really strange results, some of which are difficult to trace back to any kind of spirit. Their powers/natures/builds are as varied and crazy as you can imagine.

Demons are unable to process the Exigence, the Unconquered Sun made sure of it. Also, Autochthon had no hand in the Exigence.

Lytek only handles the classic Exaltations.

The Devil-Tigers introduced in the Broken-Winged Crane showed me that there was a heavy interest in creating unique Exalts. I also noticed a bigger problem: in weekly games, the need for opponents / rivals / antagonists far exceeded the options. It got tiresome having to pick "Abyssal, Lunar...Solar..." every time the story wanted a new Exalt. So I formulated the Exigents to cover any Exalt you could come up with, with any kind of crazy Charm or mechanical schema imaginable. The game was stagnating due to predictability and monotony. The Exigents are one of my ideas to extend the life of the game and keep people engaged for a much longer period. (John Mørke)

(John Mørke)

I notice a little confusion that I feel I should clear up now before it skews all the great speculation I've been seeing.

Questions like "I wonder if the Exigents will have an apotheosis path like the Devil-Tigers?" and "How good will the Exigents be at Evocations?" tell me that you are thinking of them as one kind of Exalt. They're not.

Every Exigent is unique and works differently. You can have an Exigent who has an apotheosis path and you can have an Exigent who is all about Evocations.

Exigents are there to be the custom Exalts of Whatever You Want.

Q: That is really cool.
But how the hell does it work mechanically? (Morally ambiguous science)
A: I will talk about this in the dev video. Thanks for giving me the idea to do so. :) (John Mørke)

Q: Does that mean my Abyssal and Infernal players can play an epic game of Exaltion pingpong, before God Hammer Smashing the Exigent shard towards a random passerby, just to see what happens? (Sucal)
A: This is not how it works, but if you did that I would ask to join your game, because it is fucking awesome. (John Mørke)

Q: Are [Exigents] point Build Exalts? Do you buy packages? (Mostlyjoe)
A: Definitely not. (Holden)


The Exigence is a divine fire, a miracle-fire, handed down the greatest of the Incarnae, that the little gods of Creation may catalyze a gift of their own power and Essence. Gods granted a portion of the Exigence may use it to Exalt a chosen mortal.

You will notice that notions of "blank Exaltations" or indeed "Exaltations" as a thing, are entirely absent from the above paragraph.

(And yes, "Exaltations as things" is definitely a thing elsewhere. What does that have to do with the Exigence, though?)

Also, since people have asked quite a few times-- no, Exigents aren't Anathema. The Immaculate Order and its Sidereal architects aren't simpletons and in the bigger, wider setting of EX3, "all non-DB Exalts" isn't a workable Anathema definition. Exigents basically fall under the same heading as God-Blooded-- the result of improper congress between gods and mortals, and thus shameful and karmically banjaxed, but not the end of the world or anything. (Holden)

Q: What are the[ differences between an Exalted and an Exigent] exactly? (Cydoc)
A: None. The Exigents are a category of Exalted, similar to "Celestial" and "Terrestrial." (Holden)

Unless the 3ed book contains VASTLY different information than what we've been given, all Exigents are going to be presumed to be high Inheritance Godbloods in my campaigns until they prove otherwise. (JohnDoe244)
Anima banner's kind of a dead giveaway. (Holden)

(John Mørke)

Golden rule of Exigent design:

Gods make Exigents. Abstract concepts do not make Exigents.

An Exigent of heroism or an Exigent of sorcery is unworkable.

If you want a certain kind of Exigent, make up a spirit to fit your needs. Note that gods should be more interesting than "the god of sorcery." Don't exclude the political, bureaucratic, and upward/downward mobility that makes the gods interesting. (See also: Ahlat.)

The Chosen of the Incarnae are not Exigents, and the Incarnae will never tap the Exigence. Using the Exigence is not without drawbacks. See also: Ten Sheaves.

(John Mørke)

The Unconquered Sun provides the Exigence, the power to create Exaltation.

He's not actually giving gods a Solar "shard" to work with. It's completely based on the god in question.

(discussing the Niobraran War)
[John] stated that Exalts who could rival Solars participated in the war. He stated that you can make Exigents that rival Solars. He did not state that the Exalts who rivaled Solars in the war were Exigents. Indeed, my reading sees the term "as well" as suggesting the precise opposite - that the Solar-rivaling things in the Niobraran War (which I would bet were Enemy Chosen, rather than allies of the Deliberative) would be good models for Exigents, without being Exigents. (The Hanged Man) (John Mørke)

These statements are 100% accurate, and you read my meaning correctly. It's not necessarily Exigents that appeared during the Niobraran War.

However, Exigents were well established by then, and have their origins in the divine revolution against the enemies of the gods.


Devil-Tiger charms are also stuck in the Ex2 paradigm. Pushing the rush to Essence 6? Experience taxes? Charms that do things that shouldn't be left to charms? All perfectly normal within the context of Ex2, especially for Infernals. The major problem here is that you need to homebrew an entirely new charmset, which is almost impossible for the average player. Even so, you had to create custom charms if you wanted War charms or something, so even that isn't a unique problem.

However, if you build a system that stays within the Essence 1-5 scale, isn't balanced around experience taxes and doesn't rely on charms to do everything, the entire concept of Devil-Tigers just falls apart. It's untenable outside the context of Ex2.

And not really necessary given the Exigents book, either. Want your own custom Exalt? Just make one-- no hoops to jump through. I mean, that book is about Exigents, sure, but the guidelines given to homebrew your own Exigent are perfectly and equally applicable to making up some kind of new non-Exigent Exalt from Hell. (Holden)

Honestly, this is one of my fears and current expectations of the Exigent Exalted. A Point-Buy Exalt. Where you get the powers you want based on the points you spend and get to insert whatever fluff you want for it. The Technical Manual Exalted. Where the gritty mechanics get laid out in all their uninspiring glory and you're left with no design, no art, no soul. (paradim)
Fuck no, that wouldn't produce anything but garbage. (Holden)

Q: (Hand-of-Omega)

As I understand them, Exigents will allow us to customize Exalted to our liking. My question is, will there still be certain rules of Exaltation that even they must obey, or is the sky the limit?

More specifically, one of the "unbreakable" rules of Exaltation is that it is permanent, and the Essence can only be freed from its host by true death. But can I design an Exigent whose method of passing on the Exaltation involves personally finding a suitable replacement, making physical contact and then passing on the Exaltation to him, returning the predecessor to normal Humanity to live out his days? Or is this an unworkable idea? Similarly, Exaltations are as indestructible as anything in the setting can be. Can there be an Exigent Exaltation that is destructible, or even short-lived?

Thanks for any answers!

A: Exigent Exaltations that don't behave like traditional Exaltations are intended. The idea of an Exaltation that dies with its Chosen is one that's been bandied about when methods of Exigent Exaltation come up, and "cool unique ways of Exalting" is one of the things they exist to enable, for a value of "cool" that is defined by your playgroup. (The Demented One)


Siakal, Goddess of Western War, Slaughter and Sharks

Siakal's purview includes naval warfare, wholesale slaughter and sharks. Potential threats to her purview include:
- A shark-totem Lunar has set himself up as a god-king in the western archipelagos and demands to be worshiped as the God of Sharks, undermining Siakal's influence over the animals. She requires an Exalted champion of her own to remind the west who commands the ocean's most ruthless predators.
- A Deathknight in the service of the Silver Prince commands fleets of immortal zombies and specters. This dread fleet swells with victory after victory, and the blood of the dead does not satisfy the thirst of Siakal. The Deathknight must be stopped before bloodless warfare dominates the West.
- A Solar privateer of the Eclipse Caste has taken up a crusade against piracy, and pirates have become rarer and more timid. Worse, the Solar does not sacrifice her foes to the ocean, but presses them into legitimate service within her own fleet. The Chosen of Siakal must slaughter the Solar and all her followers to return western warfare to its proper state.

Note how for the most part, Siakal's reasons for wanting an Exigent would be illegal as shit and would get her four thumbs down from the Unconquered Sun. What you are often listing are reasons why the gods try to get a hold of "black market" Exaltations. :) (John Mørke)

Q: (Tiresias)

I am intrigued. I tried to come up with motivations that would gain the Unconquered Sun's approval on the basis that they're directly related to a threat to the gods' purviews, rather than the gods' desire to simply expand their influence in some way.

So I would guess that the Unconquered Sun answers praying for the Exigence depending on how the gods' interests intersect with mortal interests?

A: Not quite. It has more to do with virtuosity than pragmatism. Don't change your ideas, though. Keep going, you are doing great posts. (John Mørke)

Re: Autochthon: The Unconquered Sun created the Exigence. (John Mørke)

Q: (glamourweaver)

The hard part for me is coming up with greater deities for whom an Exigent is clearly a distinct choice from some other kind of Celestial Exalted character concept. Like Ruvia - how is a Chosen of Roads thematically distinct from a Chosen of Journeys enough for me to bother designing a new charmset for this character? How are most Chosen of [War God] not going to just be "Lesser Dawn" or "Lesser Chosen of Battles?"

I wonder how anti-predetermination oriented the Chosen of Plentimon is going to be... or is that Luranume's territory?

A: We have an Exigent of a major road god planned. I would never have even thought to make the comparison to a Sidereal, his powers are that different. (John Mørke)

Yes, i seem to recall the Exigency is something like an emergency button, more likely to be used by gods that lack a strong powerbase or reinforcement and something threatens their existence or their charges. So gods like Ahlat are unlikely to have an Exigent, but the harvest god of a village may certainly embrace Exigency. I foresee the bulk of Exigents coming about after the Solars are sealed away, and the crapload of threats emerge. (Godjaw)
A powerful god such as Ahlat might have a desire to choose an Exigent, yet be denied by the Sun. A reckless, rogue, or forbidden god might be denied, yet still capable of stealing the secret fire of Exigence to do so nonetheless. The main restrictor on what kinds of spirits will be the patrons of Exigents in the books is "what kind of spirit make cool/good patrons for Exigents being written about in a book?" (The Demented One)

Q: Ahlat would make a totally badass exigent patron, wouldn't he? I imagine stealing exigence makes you automatically a rogue god...but what if nobody knew about your chosen? (DrLoveMonkey)
A: Then it'd be pretty easy to insert that origin into a story without regard to written canon. ^_^ (The Demented One)

Q: Being serious, I actually have a question regarding Exigents, a small but relevant one regarding setting design: how long do Exigents live? Do they have a set lifespan or does it vary on a case by case basis and if so, what's the general range? (Mechalich)
A: There is no general range. Their lifespans can be as variable as everything else about them. (The Demented One)

Q: Would they be able to live the 6+ centuries necessary to reach the Time of Tumult? (Mechalich)
A: Sure! (The Demented One)

There were low numbers of Exigents in the early and middle of the First Age. By the end they had dropped off drastically, as no new ones were being made. There are likely less than 100 Exigents around when the Empress vanishes, maybe even significantly fewer than 50 across all of Creation. The number is expected to rise with the return of the Solars, but not drastically. Gods who are corrupt, indolent, and wicked are going to need to fish Exigency off the "black market." (John Mørke)


A solar cant just sprout wings like a lunar, but he could craft an artifact to give himself wings of essence, or use his charms to just levitate, or wyld-shape permanent ones. Not exactly what you wanted but mixed things up. Its good to have a sense of, you need to work with what you've got. Solars cant shape-shift, lunars cant alter fate, etc. Thus you need to get creative.

Exigents defeat this. Why think up clever work arounds when I can just have him be a chosen of a god who embodies exactly what I want. No god like that, fine I homebrew one that is and it completely works within the setting. At that point you might as well be playing a free form RP.

(John Mørke)

Actually 2e Infernals defeat that premise, because they could grow wings as a mutation and still have a dozen or more other ways through which you could justify them flying (or doing any other thing you wanted). The limitation of "you have to stick to your Yozi" wasn't a real limiter, if you could swap Yozi Charm sets, write your own Charms for Yozis, write Charms to change a Yozi's rules, or write the Charms of unwritten Yozis, and you could do all of those things. That's all in a single kind of Exalt.

Meanwhile, the Chosen of a volcano god, he's going to have lots of variations on a central theme, but you won't see him flying, ever, and many other things will be out of his reach. So what he becomes is an interesting character who fits into the myth of Exalted without actually screwing up the game by bending the entire focus around himself. Since Exigents do not share Charms, their ability to express the setting's myth by way of Exaltation is both refreshing and completely inoffensive.


Interesting. I've been trying to get a feel for the limitations of Exigents...

So you couldn't create a Charm that allows you to waft through the air like a cloud of volcanic ash... I assume though that "super long distance jump" charms would be okay though, as you explode up into the stratosphere like a volcanic boulder or what have you, probably leaving a crater from where you were standing...

Yes, 100%. (John Mørke)

At the risk of being pedantic, it depends on the volcano god, no? Because a god that takes the shape of a human-phoenix that trails volcanic ash in its wake might pull off flight (say, a god of morning rooster-calls that got promoted a few times before asking for Exigence), or maybe being held aloft on rising plumes of ash.
Never say never is what i mean :P (Fata-Ku)
Somehow I missed this post before. It's a really good one! I don't find this to be pedantic, because in this case you are really digging in and defining a volcano spirit as different from one I am imagining, and yet it is quite easily recognizable as a volcano spirit, and therefore yes, your Exigent of the volcano could have flight. Bravo! (John Mørke)

I kinda want to see an Exigent of a god of volcanic ash, now. (Kazorh)
This would be an incredibly minor spirit, way below Ten Sheaves, and likely a poor candidate for the creation of an Exigent. (John Mørke)

(about a 1e "Little Exalted" fan-idea)
their patrons were Vanileth, Nara-O, Oliphem (not possible for Exigents), No Key, and Five Days Darkness. They were actually pretty neat even if the explanation for their origin wasn't nearly as good as what we got for Exigents. (Erinys)
Two of these characters are highly likely to have an Exigent on the books. (John Mørke)

Which, now I have to wonder how each of those gods would convince Sol Invictus to grant them Exigence, and what they would want it for. Vanileth just saying "my purview is tiny now, I want a bigger share of the pie" is not likely to impress Sol. Five Day Darkness might be metaphysically unable to get his prayer heard by Sol no matter how hard he prays. Oh well, there's always the "black market" I guess. (Erinys)
Very glad I made the Unconquered Sun's plan fallible, a lot of the most interesting spirits are vile. (John Mørke)


This might be covered in the future Exigents hardback, but, who gets to say (in-setting) what Charms the Exigent gets? Are they derived directly from the god's themes and are somewhat set in stone like a closed charm-set? Is it the Exigent that makes them up as it goes along, constrained only by theme but otherwise free to make up whatever works down to any arbitrary depth?

As in, is it up to the Exigents to figure out how to apply their power (e.g. volcanoes) to Craft and create appropriate Charms, or is there a point where the Exaltation just shrugs and tells the character "sorry man, I got nothing"?

The Exaltation is not an actor unless, in some strange case, it makes sense for it to be one. What's printed on the Exaltation is there in the god's Essence. What comes out is a matter of instinct with most gods, like an oyster making a pearl. Very powerful and meticulous gods known for extreme control and delicate craftsmanship might be able to design Charms. The answer is basically, it takes the shape of whatever makes sense, just like how they are chosen or how the Exaltation passes on (or whether it passes on at all). (John Mørke)

Q: Are any little gods able to exalt more than one Exigent at once without dying or being weakened to the point of near-nonexistence? (Erinys)
A: Yes, but they must be very mighty. There are several gods who have made Exigents without dying. (John Mørke)

Q: If I wanted to make an exigent who evoked themes of accumulated knowledge and the hidden power that lies within words and symbols, would it be appropriate to make it the God of an ancient library-temple, or is that straying too far from theme and I should instead come up with a God for the more abstract nature off he concept? Basically how much leeway do you have to interpret a gods power as it applies to an Exalt? (DrLoveMonkey)
A: If a concept has no importance to the people of Creation, the god might not be very powerful. (John Mørke)

Q: Is it okay to come up with a reason why one god, that might normally be fairly unimportant, could temporarily be strong enough to create an Exigent? For example, maybe there was a Krakatoa-type supervolcano that erupted, and it created such a massive cloud of ash that an entire direction was blanketed for a month. During that time, the god of the ash cloud was powerful enough that it managed to create an Exigent before it found its domain vanishing.
Would that be reasonable, or would that be getting into "shennanigans" territory? (AnubisXy)
A: Well, I can't spoil future events, so some things I just can't talk about. But it sounds OK to me. (John Mørke)

Like, a Corinth-Peacock-God of an eastern forest, patron to tree-folk, asks for Exigence (heh, "demands a Demand"), can a rival forest-fire god metaphorically spit in it while the forest-god's head is turned to spike the future Exigent's Charms with unforeseen, difficult-to-control and inextinguishable Fire-whirls and Spark-crackers, in the hopes that they take the entire forest with them? Would the forest-fire god be lessened in any way for "contributing" her power? (Fata-Ku)
I think you're going to be a natural at making Exigents, friend. (John Mørke)

Well, not the god a single tiny ash cloud. My idea was more... a big stretch of volcanoes in one of those mountainous regions in the South has a semi-permanent ash cloud over it that periodically goes down and chokes/fertilizes an inhabited valley. The ash god is considered a flunky by the Court of volcano gods, the thug they send to threaten the people into praying to them, but he's actually more powerful than any one of them except the big boss of the Court, the god of the whole stretch of mountains. Shenanigan shenanigan, ash god gets his hands on a black market Exigence, shenanigan shenanigan. I'm thinking... Something-something, Bearer of the Cinereous Banner. Or Rider of the Cinereous Chariot? Definitely got to put "cinereous" in his title, it's a cool word. (Kazorh)
I hadn't realized how Exigents would inspire people to make up very cool spirits, but here you are, doing so. (John Mørke)

Actually, I suspect that this will be one of the biggest 'hidden benefits' of including Exigents- they give people a reason to think about cool gods, a reason to care about cool gods and spirits in and of themselves.
Certainly, I never really cared about gods that much in 2e, and what I'm seeing about Exigents is making me do so. (horngeek)
Yes! We want the world to be full of exciting, powerful and dangerous gods, worthy of the name. Characters that would be fun to fight, or would be awesome sources for Exalted antagonists or rivals or friends (sometimes all three at once). (John Mørke)

Q: Hmm, I would ask, how effective are the Exigent at Martial Arts, Sorcery and Evocations? Is it reasonable to think that one might be able to reach Adamant Evocations or Sorcery, an individual Exigent might be able to practice martial arts as effectively as a Solar or Sidereal? (Janissary87)
A: Very complicated issue. Short answer is that every Exigent is a different kind of Exalt so they will have varying capabilities. There are structural limitations, however. You can't make an Exigent that is as broad and as powerful as a Solar, or an Exigent of destiny and fate that is everything a Sidereal is and more. (John Mørke)