Ars Exaltavi

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This is the page for an Exalted campaign I was... talked... into doing. As the name suggests, I'm borrowing (stealing) an idea from Ars Magica - namely, group construction. Players will design a domain, and, in many ways, determine the setting. Like Mandate of Heaven, but with less... well I'll keep my opinions about the Mandate of Heaven and Mass Combat rules to myself. The game will be played on OpenRPG. That is not negotiable, sorry.

It works like so - each person who creates a Celestial for the campaign (currently, only Solars) begins with no backgrounds. Instead, they get a number of Construction Points to spend on their domain, which includes things like armories, veins of magical materials, contacts, allies, underlings, peoples... you get the idea. Heck, nothing says the domain has to be a piece of land - it can be a wandering army, a skyship, etc.

Characters bring fifteen (15) Construction Points to the table. They may purchase up to ten (10) more, at a cost of two bonus points each. Since I am looking for a perfect circle to start, that implies a minimum of 75 points to spend. See Ars Exaltavi Domain Creation for the rules.

Character Creation

The players' 'main' characters will be more experienced than normal - or at least, otherwise more talented.

  • Attributes: Begin at 2 instead of 1. 7/4/4
  • Abilities: Five at 4 (must be favored or caste), Five at 3, Five at 2, Five at 1, Five at 0 (may not be favored or caste).
  • Virtues: Primary virtue begins at three, remaining virtues begin at two.
  • Willpower: Begins at seven - raising virtues does not raise willpower
  • Essence: Begins at three
  • Backgrounds: None. See above and below
  • Charms: Begin with twenty. Every caste and favored ability must have at least one.
  • Bonus Points: Begin with 25
    • Physical Merits Allowed: Selective Conception, Ambidextrous (1 pt version only), Large Size, Small Size (2 pt Merit, as Flaw but no strength penalty and +1 to DV), Legendary Attribute (May raise score to twice permanent Essence), Special Sense
    • Mental Merits Allowed: Internal Compass, Eidetic Recall, Prodigy
    • Social Merits Allowed: Innocuous
    • Property Merits Allowed: None
    • Supernatural Merits Allowed: Alternative Divination, Priest, Lucky, Taint's Warning
  • Flaws: Small and Greater Curse may be taken without explicit permission. You may ask for one other flaw, but social and property flaws are banned outright. There will be a limit of 5 points without good reason.
  • No, you may not begin with Sidereal Martial Arts or Solar Circle Sorcery.
  • If you take Legendary Attribute, you may not raise an attribute higher than six at character creation.

House Rules

  • The Mandate of Heaven and Mass Combat rules are not going to be used. At all. I have rough drafts of my own, based off my Exalted Lite work, and they will be used when needed.
  • Characters have a number of Incapacitated health levels equal to their permanent Essence.
  • Reflexive Charms may be added to combos after the combo has been purchased.
  • Craft is one skill, period.
  • Obviously, Backgrounds are completely different.
  • Raising Essence to 6 or higher does not take a century or more for PCs (though it still can't be done at character creation and will definitely requires something special).
  • Complex devices like warstriders and skyships are considered to be multiple artifacts, working together. A common warstrider usually requires an armory or similar multi-artifact background (of the kind Terrestrials of Lookshy and the Realm get) at to purchase, while more complex items require an even heavier investment. I do have a rather comprehensive set of rules for this but I will leave it generic unless required.
  • I tend to up the power of Celestial and Solar Circle Sorcery, as well as Labyrinth and Void Circle Necromancy.
    • Secondary circles (Celestial, God-Machine, Labyrinth...) always require Essence 5, and I am fairly liberal about interpreting spell effects, and will allow players to tweak spell effects that seem weak. In addition, there is no such thing as Sapphire Unweaving Rune (not that it makes any difference with any canon spell).
    • Third Circle magic requires Essence 7. Few spells act as weakly as described - they are each mighty, nation-shaking powers.

Setting Changes

  • To clarify, there are 25 hours in a day, 7 days a week (Sun's Day, Moon's Day, Mars' Day, Mercury's Day, Jupiter's Day, Venus' Day, Saturn's Day), four weeks a month, three months a season (Ascending, Risen, Descending), and five seasons a year (Air, Water, Earth, Wood, Fire), with the year ending with five days of Calibration.
  • Fire is the hottest season, culminating in the dangerous heights reached in Descending Fire. Then Calibration begins, bringing five 'days' of moonless night. The heat quickly turns to cold, difficult to bear even in the deserts of the South, and then Ascending Air begins - the coldest month of the year.
  • The Bull of the North's Victory at the Battle of Futile Blood comes at the cost of his life, at Tepet Arada's own hands. Of his Circle, only Samea remains. The Tepet Legions actually did quite well in the campaign, though they did lose a great deal of their strength, causing a similar amount of internal strife.
  • Demesnes are a lot more common. One per 50 square miles, or so, with an average level of 2. Geomancy can bring these -very- close together.
  • I use 16 dirhams to the talent instead of 4. There are still 400 dinars to the dirham, meaning that a single dinar is a small coin only weighing about 1% of a pound (5 grams). Dirhams and talents are rated in fine (99.9% pure) silver, while dinars are usually minted at 'coin' purity (90%).
    • Gold dirham coins are sometimes minted and traded for high value items. These are 22 carat and weigh about 3.5 ounces (~100 grams) - about half again larger in every dimension than a US half dollar coin (fairly big).
    • See Fantasy Price List for a list of prices in silver coins.

Population Changes

  1. There are about ~90,000 Dragon-Blooded in Creation, about one per ten thousand. Over a eighty thousand are of the Realm, and over three thousand in Lookshy alone, leaving them frightfully rare in the rest of Creation (about one per hundred thousand).
  2. God-Blooded are about one in a thousand, overall, including Beastmen.
  3. God-Blooded of any sort do not Exalt into Celestials, though some with distant blood might have minor, cosmetic mutations and still Exalt.
  4. There are 500 Celestial Shards, attuned to about a thousand souls. The souls change over time, some becoming legendary, others falling from the status (by virtue, being consumed through Oblivion, etc.)
  5. 100 Sidereals, ~100 Lunars, ~100 Chimerae, ~50 Solars, ~50 Infernals, and ~100 Abyssals.
  6. Because there only -are- 50 Solars, there are only two Cult training camps.
  7. The population of Creation is about 900 million. The Realm hosts some 300 million, the East some 400 million, the South about 100 million, the North some 80 million, and the West 20 million.
  8. A number of cities (such as Nexus and Looksky) are given larger populations to reflect this. The Imperial City is host to over three million people.
  9. The population of Autocthonia is a little larger, about 50 million.
  10. The mortal populations of the Underworld and the Shadowlands total about 10 million.
  11. The Mountain Folk have only about a thousand Enlightened. This number grows slowly as the proper jade segments are found for a new Enlightened to be crafted, but that is the limit of them - lifting the Great Curse will not aid their numbers, though it will let them achieve Essence 6 and a few other benefits. They are divided into six closely allied nations, governing over a billion unEnlightened. Their are only two main Castes, Upper and Lower, but the Lower is greatly subdivided according to role.
  12. The dead population of the Underworld and the Labyrinth is ginormous. Stygia alone, as a city, is host to a over three billion ghosts. Most other dead cities only host one to two million ghosts, Sijan being the great metropolis of the dead at three million.
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