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Adversaries of the Righteous

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  1. Adversaries of the Righteous
  2. 1. Harrowing Silence
  3. 2. The Broker / Ifraja The Librarian
  4. 3. Cynis Borok / Regara Feria
  5. 4. Ku Nenaveya
  6. 5. Eska of the Seven Blades
  7. 6. Ashana Ikatu
  8. 7. The Bloodthirsty
  9. 8. Iron Siaka
  10. 9. Fivefold Masks and Lies
  11. 10. Adeimantus
  12. 11. Odara, Chosen of Ash
  13. 12. Meimuna Kyree
  14. 13. Peremuz
  15. 14. Afohdha
  16. 15. Ninegala
  17. 16. Isabet Maken
  18. 17. Boscu
  19. 18. The Quaghead Tribe
  20. 19. Ixier
  21. 20. Unrelenting Aton / The Pillars of the Last Bastion
  22. 21. The Prince Resplendent in the Ruin of Ages / Gleaming Gneiss
  23.  
  24.                                                         ***********
  25.  
  26.    1. Harrowing Silence - Chosen Guardian of Her People
  27.  
  28. Background: When the lingering threat of the Winter Folk materialized in the dead of night, a young woman who came of age as a street rat living on the fringes of her society used knowledge of her village’s secrets to lead her people to a long-forgotten mine — a place where they could safely make their home underground and rebuild their community out of reach of the fae that hunted them. It was this act of selflessness that captured the attention of the Unconquered Sun, and the one known as Harrowing Silence greeted the day and what remained of her home with new gifts meant to help her protect those she had saved who now saw her as a hero.
  29.  
  30. With what was left of her decimated town repurposed for farmland, Harrowing Silence now takes it upon herself to patrol the land above the underground community and fend off anyone who dares approach whether they are visitor, wanderer, or fae. She hides in plain sight among the snow drifts, stalking a path around the entrance to the mines and refusing to let anyone in or out as she fiercely protects the villagers and their secrets. Traders and scavengers alike have spoken of the mysterious woman who strikes down those who cross into her territory, though the village itself is now a distant memory.
  31.  
  32. Desperate to maintain the life she knows and to retain the adoration and fear of those who dwell within the mountain, Harrowing Silence has become a terrifying threat as she begins to expand the territory she claims as her own and as she grows more and more consumed by the force that drives her: she was chosen to protect her people, and anyone or anything that might interfere with her doing so must be eliminated.
  33.  
  34. Image: Harrowing Silence is often seen as a flash of metal as her spear slashes through air or a rush of wind kicking up a torrent of snow before her tall, imposing figure is spotted through the fog. Her earthtone garments are often caked with snow when not serving as camouflage, and even her long hair glistens with beads of ice. She keeps her garments lined with fur to protect against the cold, but is careful not to wrap herself so tightly that her movements are inhibited.
  35.  
  36. Intimacies: Defining: “Without my home, I am nothing.;” Major: Outsiders (Wary suspicion); “Change is the enemy of peace;” Minor: Her spear (Prized possession)
  37.  
  38. Secrets: Though she tells the villagers that nothing waits for them in the outside world, Harrowing Silence knows that the mines they inhabit are still rich with ores thought to be lost to time. Several emissaries from the Heptagram and Whitewall’s colleges have been struck down by her blades for surveying the nearby area for these minerals, and she has begun venturing further from home in order to seek them out before her people can be discovered.
  39.  
  40. Equipment: Spear, hunting knife, hide jerkin and fur wraps, rucksack with rations. If she has recently been hunting she will be carrying her quarry or items scavenged from an intruder.
  41.  
  42. Roleplaying Hints: Having learned that it is better to be appreciated for her ability to strike fear into those she encounters than to be unknown and lost to history, her focus is rooted in a desire for acceptance and she could be open to persuasion if one were to choose the right words when addressing her.
  43.  
  44. Caste: Night
  45. Supernal Ability: Stealth
  46. Anima: A great bird of prey
  47. Attributes: Strength 5, Dexterity 4, Stamina 4; Charisma 2, Manipulation 1, Appearance 4; Perception 4, Intelligence 3, Wits 4
  48. Essence: 2; Willpower: 6
  49. Join Battle: 8 dice
  50. Personal Motes: 16
  51. Peripheral Motes: 40
  52. Health Levels: -0/-1x3/-2x4/-4/Incap.
  53. Abilities: Athletics 3, Awareness 4, Brawl 1, Dodge 3, Integrity 2, Investigation 1, Melee 3, Presence 1, Resistance 2, Stealth 5, Survival 5, Thrown 3
  54. Merits: Demesne 2, Direction Sense 1, Fast Reflexes 3, Tempered By The Elements 2 – Deep Snow
  55. Specialties: Melee (Spear), Survival (Tracking)
  56. Attack (Spear): 9 dice – Lethal, Melee, Piercing, Reaching (damage 16)
  57. Attack (Hunting Knife): 11 dice – Lethal, Melee,
  58. Thrown (Short) (damage 12)
  59. Combat: Soak 7 (Light Armor +3); Parry: 5 (melee); Evasion: 4; Rush: 3 dice; Resolve: 3; Guile: 1; Disengage: 7 dice
  60.  
  61. CHARMS
  62. Sensory Acuity Prana (5m; Reflexive; One scene): Sharpening her senses in order to more easily monitor her surroundings, for the rest of the scene Harrowing Silence’s Awareness rolls benefit from double 9s.
  63.  
  64. Surprise Anticipation Method (Reflexive; Instant): Harrowing Silence’s keen senses and familiarity with her surroundings aid in guarding her from threats she is not consciously aware of, and threats revealed while she is asleep or unconscious automatically wake her. Awareness checks to reveal any source of harm grant 1 mote of Essence for every 9 that is rolled and 2 motes for every 10. These motes can only be used to offset the cost of Awareness Charms used to reveal a threat.
  65.  
  66. Keen Hearing and Touch Technique (3m; Simple; One scene): With a simple touch Harrowing Silence may identify materials she knows, or she may instead listen intently for otherwise unnoticeable. For the rest of the scene she automatically succeeds at rolls of difficulty 2, and for more complicated actions the difficulty is lowered by 1. For 6 motes, this charm lasts indefinitely.
  67.  
  68. Studied Ear Espial (1m; Reflexive; Instant): Focusing on sounds of movement, Harrowing Silence is can notice anything that disturbs the stillness around her. She gains +3 dice to spot a character attempting to move in stealth.
  69.  
  70. Reed in the Wind (2i per 1 Evasion; Reflexive; Perilous; Instant): Drawing on her own momentum in response to an attack, Harrowing Silence gains 1 Evasion. She may spend additional Initiative to gain multiple Evasion, and raises the cap on how much she may enhance her Evasion with her Essence.
  71.  
  72. Excellent Strike (3m; Supplemental; Uniform; Instant): Harrowing Silence channels her Essence to hone her accuracy and gains one automatic success in her attack. She also rerolls all 1s until they no longer appear.
  73.  
  74. One Weapon, Two Blows (3m; Reflexive; Instant): While trading blows, Harrowing Silence senses an opening to strike with great speed. After making a withering attack that lowers her opponents Initiative below her own she may use this charm to unleash a second withering or decisive attack against that opponent.
  75.  
  76. Ox-Body Technique (Stackable; Permanent): Harrowing Silence is more durable than her mortal counterparts and has gained one -1 and two -2 health levels.
  77.  
  78. Blinding Battle Feint (3m; Supplemental; Instant): Leaping in and out of battle with nigh untraceable speed, Harrowing Silence may use her (Dexterity + Stealth) to Join Battle. If she beats her opponents Awareness-based Join Battle roll she is automatically concealed so long as there is a viable place to hide, and any other Join Battle rolls from foes must make an Awareness check to be able to detect her.
  79.  
  80. Guardian Fog Approach (3m; Simple; Mute; Instant): Harrowing Silence may obscure another someone else with her own efforts to remain hidden so long as she is touching them and is also attempting a Stealth action. Half of her successes and any stunt bonuses on this action are added as dice to her charge’s stealth roll.
  81.  
  82. Dark Sentinel’s Way (1m; Reflexive; Mute; Instant): Harrowing Silence may use a defend other action on a subject and conceal her action while hidden. Parrying incoming attacks cause her to flicker briefly into view before vanishing once more.
  83.  
  84. Smoke and Shadow Cover (3m; Reflexive; Mute; Instant): Becoming one with the shadows, Harrowing Silence may treat mild concealment as light cover, heavy concealment as heavy cover, and completely dark environments as full cover. This requires a take cover combat action that replaces her Dodge with Stealth unless she is already concealed, and ranged attacks are penalized by one success.
  85.  
  86. Shadow-Crossing Leap Technique (5m, 1wp; Reflexive; Mute; Instant): Unfurling her unseen anima, Harrowing Silence leaps to join the darkness she has conquered to instantly move up to one range band from one place of cover to another without penalty if there is a sufficient path for her to do so.
  87.  
  88. Flashing Nocturne Prana (10m, 1wp; Reflexive; Mute, Perilous; Indefinite;): In concealment, Harrowing Silence marks her current location. By ending this Charm she instantly returns to it, as long as she is within long range, and automatically enters concealment. She can’t be detected at all for two rounds.
  89.  
  90. Hardship-Surviving Mendicant Spirit (5m; Reflexive; One day): Harrowing Silence is able to survive even the most hostile conditions without special preparation and does not take environmental penalties to her Survival rolls, though she is not protected against environmental damage. The difficulty to forage and find shelter is also lowered by 2.
  91.  
  92. Trackless Region Navigation (5m, 1wp; Reflexive; Indefinite): Greatly familiar with her surroundings, Harrowing Silence and a group of up to 4 followers can travel through her region with ease and automatically succeed on any Survival rolls to find the next shelter.
  93.  
  94. Unshakeable Bloodhound Technique (4m; Supplemental; Instant): Harrowing Silence may track someone by instinct, even if there are few signs of their presence. When making a (Perception + Survival) roll she may reroll all 5s and 6s until they no longer appear and treat 1s rolled by her opposition as 10s for her results.
  95.  
  96. Precision of the Striking Raptor (1m; Supplemental; Withering-only; Instant): Imbuing her hunting knife with Essence, Harrowing Silence is able to throw it as if she were at close range regardless of the distance between her and her target. If she is already at close range, the target’s defense is lowered by one.
  97.  
  98. Joint Wounding Attack (3m; Supplemental; Decisive-only, Stackable; Instant): Marking her target, Harrowing Silence throws her knife with deadly purpose. If it does at least three damage, her opponent adds -3 to their dice pools for the rest of the scene.
  99.  
  100.                                                         ***********
  101.  
  102.    2. The Broker - The Seller in the Shadows
  103.  
  104. Background: Though the identity of the Broker remains shrouded in mystery, it is a commonly held belief among thieves and scavengers that if you are in the right place at the right time someone will be willing to buy whatever you are trying to be rid of or help you make an otherwise unattainable purchase. The only drawback? The Broker has no loyalties except their own, which has proven fatal to bureaucrats and anathema alike who have found that the value of their life and the secrets they hold exceeds what they are trying to sell. Though they have been seen most frequently in Lookshy and Nexus, the Broker has been spotted in numerous places across Creation from Chiaroscuro to Gethamane to the ports of the Dreaming Sea, and the occasional cutpurse even claims that they have witnessed deals being made in secluded areas of the Imperial City. Some rumors have swirled as to the Broker’s identity — many customers cannot confirm even minor details surrounding the person that they dealt with either due to intentionally withholding information or a genuine lack of awareness. There is even talk in some circles that the Broker is not one person but several, all keeping their identities a secret to avoid the oppression of the Guild.
  105.  
  106. Though their primary business is in fencing stolen goods, the Broker does not deal entirely in coin and is always open to accepting a barter if it would benefit them more directly. Information is as good a currency as jade, and they will just as easily give it up in exchange for a priceless object that cannot easily be assigned monetary value. In spite of all this, many thieves and scavenger lords still find it advantageous to deal with the Broker instead of another fence… that is, if they can track them down.
  107.  
  108. Image: Clad in leathers fit for a thief, one would never know the riches that the Broker hoards, and it is very much on purpose. The Broker is secretive and private, virtues that are exhibited even in the draped cloth that covers their face and the dark hood that casts a shadow over their features. With the hood removed one might notice dark, matted hair pulled back with a short length of rope.
  109.  
  110. Intimacies: Defining: “Everything has a price.”; Major: “What would you like to know?”, The Guild (Respect); Minor: Identity-Concealing
  111. Mask (Security)
  112.  
  113. Secrets: Though the Broker’s traveling routes and appearances seem to be random, they are planned well in advance and are usually marked by a strange symbol painted in gold ink with a hint as to the details of the Broker’s next visit. The symbols typically appear within one week of the Broker’s arrival, and include a series of numbers to indicate the date and time that a prospective buyer or seller can anticipate being able to make a transaction.
  114.  
  115. Equipment: Light leather armor and face coverings along with a cestus, khatar, and several knives readied for close combat. The Broker also typically carries several pouches of various currencies and may also have artifacts or other objects that they have just purchased or hope to sell to a prospective buyer.
  116.  
  117. Roleplaying Hints: The Broker serves their own purposes, which may change from day to day based on their needs and the current circumstances. They are not above breaking their own rules if it means coming out on top, though they will never betray their own identity.
  118.  
  119. Attributes: Strength 1, Dexterity 3, Stamina 2;
  120. Charisma 3, Manipulation 4, Appearance 2;
  121. Perception 2, Intelligence 2, Wits 4;
  122. Essence: 1
  123. Willpower: 4
  124. Join Battle: 8
  125. Health Levels: -0/-1x2/-2x2/-4/Incap.
  126. Abilities: Athletics 1, Awareness 2, Bureaucracy 3, Brawl 2, Dodge 3, Integrity 3, Investigation 1, Larceny 2, Linguistics 3, Lore 3, Melee 2, Presence 3, Resistance 1, Socialize 3, Stealth 3;
  127. Merits: Contacts 5, Followers 1, Influence 2, Language (Riverspeak) 1, Language (Flametongue) 1, Language (Guild Cant) 1, Language (Skytongue) 1, Resources 4
  128. Specialties: Bureaucracy (The Guild), Larceny (Appraisal), Socialize (Criminal Underworld), Stealth (Disguise)
  129. Attack (Cestus): 9 dice – Bashing, Brawl, Smashing, Worn (damage 8)
  130. Attack (Khatar): 9 dice – Lethal, Brawl, Piercing (damage 8)
  131. Attack (Knife): 9 dice – Lethal, Melee, Thrown (Short) (damage 8)
  132. Combat: Soak 5 (Light Armor +3); Parry: 3 (Melee), 3 (Brawl); Evasion: 3; Rush 4 dice; Disengage: 6 dice
  133. Social: Resolve: 4; Guile: 5
  134.  
  135. The Broker’s Security
  136. A mysterious figure, the Broker is never seen without at least two guards nearby to help move purchases from place to place and assure the Broker’s safety. Typically there are at least several protectors nearby, though at least one will always remain hidden. The Broker’s guards vary from place to place and keep their identities concealed with masks.
  137.  
  138. Storyteller Note: The Broker’s Security entries use the Quick Characters rules from page 494 of the Exalted Third Edition core rulebook.
  139.  
  140. The Guard
  141. Always close at hand, The Broker’s guard is never too far from view and will often inspect potential clients before a transaction can be made. They wear attire similar to the Broker’s and cover their face so that their identity is not known.
  142.  
  143. Essence: 1; Willpower: 3; Join Battle: 5 dice
  144. Health Levels: -0/-1x2/-2x2/-4/Incap.
  145. Actions: Senses: 4 dice; Stealth: 5 dice; Threaten: 4 dice; Tracking: 4 dice
  146. Appearance 2, Resolve 1, Guile 1
  147.  
  148. COMBAT
  149. Attack (Cestus): 6 dice (Damage 11)
  150. Attack (Grapple): 4 dice (5 dice to control)
  151. Combat Movement: 4 dice
  152. Evasion 2, Parry 2
  153. Soak: 6 (Light Armor)
  154.  
  155. The Sentry
  156. Hidden in the shadows, the Sentry does not make their presence known while the Broker is working through a transaction. Instead they keep a watchful eye over the surrounding area and prepare to defend their employer against any surprise attacks.
  157.  
  158. Essence: 1; Willpower: 4; Join Battle: 6 dice
  159. Health Levels: -0/-1x2/-2x2/-4/Incap.
  160. Actions: Senses: 5 dice; Stealth: 6 dice; Threaten: 5 dice;
  161. Appearance 3, Resolve 2, Guile 2
  162.  
  163. COMBAT
  164. Attack (Short Sword): 6 dice (Damage 11, minimum 2)
  165. Attack (Khatar): 6 dice (Damage 11)
  166. Combat Movement: 4 dice
  167. Evasion 2, Parry 2
  168. Soak: 8 (Reinforced Light Armor)
  169.  
  170.                                                         ***********
  171.  
  172.    2. Ifraja the Librarian - Corrupt Seeker of Knowledge
  173.  
  174. Background: A masterful storyteller, the tales of Ifraja the Librarian’s travels vary depending on his current location and the enthusiasm of his audience, though they always seem to include a few embellishments that are spoken with such sincerity that it can be difficult to discern truth from fiction. Each story may differ but still carries the common thread of explaining that he has arrived by way of merchant caravan and only wishes to spread knowledge from faraway lands with those who visit his makeshift library cart. While his appreciation for knowledge is genuine, in truth Ifraja’s primary motivation in traveling from place to place lies in searching for other practitioners of sorcery to extort for knowledge. He has gone so far as to take the lives of those who are unwilling to cooperate and plunders their personal libraries in the process, selling off the scrolls and tomes that are of no use to him and keeping the rest to meditate on so that he might further hone his craft and grow more powerful.
  175.  
  176. Though Ifraja’s quest keeps him on the road for long periods of time, he periodically returns to the First Age tomb he calls home. A dusty mess of sand and stone a half-day’s journey from Urim, he collects his souvenirs here for safekeeping and uses the space to meditate on new spells in his workroom. He has taken great care to conceal his belongings as it is not uncommon for scavengers to happen upon the tomb from time to time, a fact evidenced by the piles of bones scattered near the entrance.
  177.  
  178. Image: An older man with dark skin and greying hair, Ifraja’s outward appearance contributes to deceiving outsiders of his well-honed abilities. His layered robes occasionally show dust at the hem from trekking across the desert, though he makes an effort to keep up his appearance when visiting wealthier cities.
  179.  
  180. Intimacies: Defining: “Knowledge must be shared.”; Major: Power (Greed); Minor: “So many cultures, so many things to learn.”, “Everyone is a part of a greater story.”
  181.  
  182. Secrets: Many of the destinations Ifraja seeks out are the result of following rumors from other cities, but he gets a great deal of information through summoning and interrogating a demon that was previously summoned by others and using this knowledge to seek out his next targets.
  183.  
  184. Equipment: Well-made robes (Light Armor) and a pair of sai. Even while distanced from his cart or his home, Ifraja also carries a number of writing implements and scrolls on his person.
  185.  
  186. Roleplaying Hints: Ifraja presents himself as a mortal old man with an enthusiasm for learning and is not quick to give away his true nature. He may initially seem kind and generous but is in truth deceitful and quick to anger, especially if he is kept from the things he is after.
  187.  
  188. Attributes: Strength 1, Dexterity 3, Stamina 2;
  189. Charisma 3, Manipulation 4, Appearance 2;
  190. Perception 2, Intelligence 2, Wits 3;
  191. Essence: 1
  192. Willpower: 6
  193. Join Battle: 5 dice
  194. Health Levels: -0/-1x2/-2x2/-4/Incap.
  195. Abilities: Awareness 2, Integrity 3, Investigation 2, Larceny 3, Linguistics 3, Lore 3, Medicine 2, Melee 1, Occult 4, Performance 2, Presence 1, Resistance 1, Socialize 2, Stealth 1, Thrown 1
  196. Merits: Contacts 1, Eidetic Memory 2, Language (Flametongue), Language (Local Tongues)
  197. Attack (Sai): 4 dice – Lethal, Melee, Disarming (damage 7)
  198. Combat: Soak 5 (Light Armor +3); Parry: 2 (melee);
  199. Evasion: 1; Rush: 3 dice; Disengage: 3 dice
  200. Social: Resolve: 3; Guile: 3
  201.  
  202. Shaping Ritual
  203. After deciding that his former mentor could teach him no more, Ifraja stole a sapient tome from the woman who had taught him all he knows. A sorcerous relic that compels its owner to gather new knowledge at any cost, Ifraja seeks to record arcana within its pages in order to become more powerful. Once per day, by writing new knowledge that has not already been contributed to the tome, Ifraja draws upon all of the previous knowledge in the text and makes an (Intelligence + Occult) check to gain sorcerous motes equal to the number of successes that last for one day.
  204.  
  205. SPELLS
  206. Librum-Devouring Maw (5m, 1wp; Instant; Control Spell): Ifraja’s forehead blossoms open into a toothy mouth above his third eye chakra. By consuming a single tome or scroll, he can memorize its contents for (Essence + Intelligence) days, after which it is forgotten unless he transcribes it.
  207.  
  208. As his control spell, Ifraja may understand consumed texts written in languages he does not speak, but he may not reproduce them.
  209.  
  210. Corrupted Words (15sm, 1wp; Psyche; Indefinite): Ifraja speaks words that bind his victim from speaking of a specific subject. He must roll (Intelligence + Occult) against his victim’s Resolve to successfully bind their will.
  211.  
  212. Demon of the First Circle (Ritual, 2wp; Instant): With a ritual that begins at sundown and ends at midnight, Ifraja summons a First Circle Demon of his choice. The demon is bound with an (Intelligence + Occult) roll against their Resolve, and Ifraja may choose to make it his personal slave for a year and a day, giving it a Defining Tie of loyalty to him that cannot be weakened and setting its Resolve to 0 for any influence rolls Ifraja makes. Alternatively, he may assign the demon a specific task to complete instead. On a failed binding roll, Ifraja is unable to bind the demon and must make a (Wits + Occult) roll against its Willpower to banish it back to Hell.
  213.  
  214. Mists of Eventide (7sm, 2wp; Three rounds): Transforming the Essence of air into an opalescent fog of slumber, Ifraja creates a cloud centered on a point out of medium range that spreads to engulf all characters within short range of the center. Each round that a character is exposed to the mist, he must roll against its poison (Damage 31/round, Duration 6 rounds, -3 penalty). This can only be cast once per scene, unless it causes an opponent to fall into Initiative Crash, which puts them into a magical slumber for one day.
  215.  
  216. Silent Words of Dreams and Nightmares (Ritual, 1wp; One dream): Ifraja brandishes a symbolic link to another character, such as a lock of hair, and stares into a reflective surface to gain power over that person’s dreams. Ifraja rolls (Intelligence + Presence) to instill, persuade, or inspire the target character with a dream he will experience when he next sleeps. The dreamer cannot apply any Intimacies to enhance his Resolve against this influence, nor can he pay Willpower to resist unless one of his Intimacies are threatened. The symbolic link used in the ritual is burnt to a fine white ash when the dreamer awakes.
  217.  
  218. Ifraja’s Protectors
  219. Blood-Apes, Demons of the First Circle: While in the tomb he calls home, Ifraja uses his summoning circle to call forth a group of Blood-Apes that can help protect him in combat. This group of demons uses the Battle Groups rules found on page 205 of the Exalted Third Edition core rulebook.
  220.  
  221. Size: 2; Drill: Average; Might: 2
  222. Essence: 2; Willpower: 5; Join Battle: 6 dice
  223. Personal Motes: 70
  224. Magnitude: -0/-1x3/-2x3/-4/Incap.
  225. Actions: Climbing and Brachiation: 7 dice; Feats of Strength: 10 dice (may attempt Strength 5 feats);Resist Poison/Illness: 8 dice; Senses: 6 dice; Stealth: 6 dice; Threaten: 7 dice; Tracking: 5 dice
  226. Appearance 3 (Hideous), Resolve 3, Guile 1
  227.  
  228. COMBAT
  229. Attack (Claw): 14 dice (Damage 19)
  230. Attack (Grapple): 12 dice (10 dice to control)
  231. Combat Movement: 7 dice
  232. Evasion 4, Parry 6
  233. Soak/Hardness: 9/0
  234.  
  235.                                                         ***********
  236.  
  237.    3. Cynis Borok - The Self-Involved Satrap
  238.  
  239. Background: Though the blood of Cynis runs thin in his veins, Borok holds lofty aspirations and is willing to go to any lengths to prove the capability of his branch of the family line — including bragging about his abilities to turn a disappointingly rural satrapy into a thriving hub of culture and commerce. He certainly has his work cut out for him now that he has been appointed, and rumors have begun to suggest that Borok’s selection was more an effort to prove his shortcomings rather than to highlight his strengths in leadership. Too poor to be of note and with too few exports to matter, the eastern satrapy Borok supervises was once a decent producer of lumber until resources and local morale depleted and its garrisons were withdrawn to the Blessed Isle with no intention of returning.
  240.  
  241. The situation he encountered during his first visit was even more dire than he was originally led to believe, a fact that Borok suspects was an intentional act meant to sabotage his efforts, and since this discovery he has committed to all manner of deception as a part of convincing others of his false success while imposing extreme taxes and generally establishing himself as an unforgiving tyrant. Borok hopes that his efforts will aid in making a name for himself and proving that he is capable of holding his own, even if this is proving to be a much more difficult task than he originally anticipated. Aside from encountering some difficulty in garnering support for his various projects, Borok also faces the trouble of fending off raiders with only an ill-armed local militia remaining to protect his new project. His growing frustration with the situation has made him quick to anger and eager to threaten those who are unwilling to lend their own resources toward making his taxpayers miserable.
  242.  
  243. Image: Cynis Borok is generally accepted as the last man that you would wish to choose for the job, and he exudes this with his very appearance: an almost sickly looking man, he does not show any outward sign of muscle or strength and his pale face does little to make any sort of impression on those who have the misfortune of carrying on a conversation at length with him. He keeps his long hair tied back in a neat ponytail and tries his best to dress in a manner befitting his post, but his efforts are generally lost next to the distraction of the sneer that seems to grace his lips on a constant basis.
  244.  
  245. Intimacies: Defining: “My authority demands respect.”; Major: Local Leaders (Disdain), His Sifu (Respect); Minor: “Protection is a privilege worth paying for,” His Successful Sister (Envy)
  246.  
  247. Secrets: Though he claims his loyalty to his family is beyond measure, Borok is currently distracted by an admiral from House Ragara who has promised him great power if he turns over sensitive information regarding one of the ports in a satrapy adjacent to his own. Equipment: Fine robes tied with a silk sash to be used for combat. Borok also enjoys adorning himself with signs of wealth and prosperity that will be noticed by others.
  248.  
  249. Roleplaying Hints: Borok will do anything to achieve his goals, and his number one priority is himself. A blow to his ego could be just as detrimental as a physical blow, and he will certainly retaliate tenfold using any and all available resources.
  250.  
  251. Aspect: Air
  252. Attributes: Strength 2, Dexterity 2, Stamina 3;
  253. Charisma 3, Manipulation 5, Appearance 4;
  254. Perception 4, Intelligence 3, Wits 4;
  255. Essence: 2
  256. Willpower: 6
  257. Join Battle: 5 dice
  258. Personal Motes: 13
  259. Peripheral Motes: 31
  260. Health Levels: -0/-1x2/-2x2/-4/Incap.
  261. Abilities: Athletics 2, Awareness 1, Bureaucracy 3, Dodge 3, Integrity 3, Linguistics 2, Martial Arts (Dreaming Pearl Courtesan) 4, Melee 2, Performance 2, Presence 3, Resistance 2, Ride 1, Socialize 4, War 1
  262. Merits: Artifact 2, Backing 2, Fast Reflexes 3, Martial Artist 4, Resources 2
  263. Specialties: Bureaucracy (Local Laws), Bureaucracy (Taxes), Linguistics (Propaganda), Performance (Public Speaking), Socialize (Court Functions), War (Gateway)
  264. Attack (Sash, Dreaming Pearl): 11 dice – Bashing, Martial Arts, Flexible, Grappling (damage 12)
  265. Combat: Soak 8 (Artifact Light Armor +5); Parry: 3 (Martial Arts); Evasion: 3;
  266. Rush 4 dice; Disengage: 5 dice
  267. Social: Resolve: 4; Guile: 5
  268.  
  269. Protectors: While in combat, Borok may assemble a battle group of Elite Bodyguards (Exalted, p. 497) with the following traits: Size 1, Elite Drill, Magnitude 7. This group is led by a skilled lieutenant who is proud of their position and fiercely loyal to the Realm in spite of their lack of confidence in Cynis Borok as a leader.
  270.  
  271. OFFENSIVE CHARMS
  272. Hammering Wave Technique (1m per +1 die; Supplemental; Instant): Add up to (Martial Arts + Specialty) bonus dice on an attack and deal lethal damage unarmed. Reroll 6s on the damage roll until they cease to appear.
  273.  
  274. Elegant Weapon Repertoire (3m; Supplemental; Instant; Dual): Add a withering attack’s Accuracy bonus to damage, or one die of decisive damage. Alternatively, ready an item as a mundane light weapon.
  275.  
  276. Dreaming Pearl Courtesan Form (8m; Simple; One scene): Borok can make Martial Arts attacks at short range. His Elegant Weapon Repertoire and Pearlescent Filigree Defense use the traits of artifact weapons and armor. On a successful disengage with 5+ successes, Borok can use this form reflexively.
  277.  
  278. DEFENSIVE CHARMS
  279. Threshold-Warding Stance (2m per success or +1 Evasion; Reflexive; Instant): Add up to ([Dodge + Specialty] / 2), rounded down, to Evasion, or in automatic successes on a Dodge roll. Ignore environmental penalties.
  280.  
  281. Demure Carp Feint (3m; Reflexive; Instant): Add +1 Evasion or one success on a disengage. If Borok’s Appearance beats his attacker’s Resolve or that of all characters he is disengaging from, he adds +2 Evasion or two successes instead. He gains 1 Initiative when he succeeds on a disengage against an enemy whose Resolve is lower than his Appearance.
  282.  
  283. Pearlescent Filigree Defense (1m; Reflexive; One scene): Treat clothing as light armor. When hit by an attack, Borok may spend up to (Appearance) motes and add that much to his armored soak against it.
  284.  
  285. SOCIAL CHARMS
  286. Loquacious Courtier Technique (2m per success or +1 Guile; Reflexive; Instant; Mute): Add up to ([Socialize + Specialty] / 2) to Guile or in bonus successes to a Socialize roll.
  287.  
  288. Smoothing-Over-The-Past Technique (3m, 1wp; Simple; Instant; Psyche): Roll instill with (Manipulation + Socialize) to make one character forget a past incident of misbehavior by Borok. Resisting this influence requires entering a Decision Point and calling at least a Major Tie.
  289.  
  290. Wind-Carried Words Technique (3m; Simple; Instant): Send a message of up to a few sentences to a character within (Essence) miles.
  291.  
  292. Voices on the Wind (5m; Supplemental; Instant): Add (Linguistics) dice on a Perception-based roll to eavesdrop. If Borok reads the intentions of a character he’s eavesdropping on, she takes -2 Guile for being unaware of him.
  293.  
  294.                                                         ***********
  295.  
  296.    3. Ragara Feria - Admiral of the Imperial Air Fleet
  297.  
  298. Background: One of the few outside of House Peleps who are trusted as leaders among their ranks, Fleet Admiral Ragara Feria is a decisive and focused leader who has earned the adoration of her crew both for her tactical know-how and her brilliant personality and wit — which both serve as contributing factors toward arousing terror in those who bring trouble to her waters. She prioritizes her career above all else, and has not made any effort to settle down and marry a man or woman as a result. Feria is committed to maintaining peaceful seas through aggressive tactics and ruthless politics, and does not shy away from pursuing reports of piracy or illicit trade even if she has only a fraction of the details. If she should hear whispers that there are plans for a strike on a local port she will do everything in her power to eliminate the problem before it has time to exist. Likewise, she has been well revered by her peers for her keen eye for stowaways and harsh punishments toward those looking to abuse fleet privileges.
  299.  
  300. She regularly receives dispatches on Anathema sought by the Wyld Hunt, and often enjoys tracking them down personally — an effort that has not gone unnoticed among her superiors. Though she understands the duties of her position and willingly answers to House Peleps regarding her work, Feria has been under pressure since the Empress disappeared to use her fleet for House Ragara’s own purposes — particularly to make sure that key shipments arrive intact and on time. Feria holds great respect for the ranks and rulings of the Navy and values peace between the houses, but has found that her loyalties are being tested as she considers what the implications could be for both herself and her position if she chooses to disrupt the balance that she has maintained for so long.
  301.  
  302. Image: Ragara Feria carries herself with the confidence of a leader and is rarely seen outside of her military uniform. Her terra-cotta complexion suggests that she hails from a region far from the frigid northern seas where her fleet sails, though her soft features are often obscured by a focused expression while she is engaged in her work. Raiders who dare set course through her waters often whisper warnings of the admiral who sets ships aflame with her very step as they recount the foreboding sight of her burning anima during a dark night at sea.
  303.  
  304. Intimacies: Defining: “Fear is a necessary weapon.”; Major: House Peleps (Respect), House Ragara (Obligation), Tanoa’s Kiss (Protection); Minor: “Peace is subjective,” Raiders (Loathing)
  305.  
  306. Secrets: Feria is quick to condemn piracy and works diligently to prevent raids and scavenging, but has personal reasons for wishing to see to certain things in person — she has been amassing a small collection of souvenirs from defeated foes, including objects that may be of interest to some particular devotees of the Immaculate Order.
  307.  
  308. Equipment: Naval Admiral’s uniform, Tanoa’s Kiss, spyglass. Feria is also typically armed with a number of small blades suitable for close combat, especially if she is preparing to board a ship or break up a raid firsthand. In addition to her uniform, Feria dons a buff jacket reinforced with black jade to prepare for difficult adversaries and raids.
  309.  
  310. Roleplaying Hints: Ragara Feria is aware of her own presence and influence, but does not believe she is superior to any members of her own fleet or her peers within the Imperial Navy. Though she is a skilled fighter, she prefers to attempt to intimidate her foes before striking them down.
  311.  
  312. Aspect: Fire
  313. Attributes: Strength 3, Dexterity 4, Stamina 3;
  314. Charisma 3, Manipulation 5, Appearance 4;
  315. Perception 4, Intelligence 3, Wits 4;
  316. Essence: 3
  317. Willpower: 8
  318. Join Battle: 7
  319. Personal Motes: 14
  320. Peripheral Motes: 35
  321. Health Levels: -0/-1x2/-2x2/-4/Incap.
  322. Abilities: Athletics 3, Awareness 3, Brawl 2, Bureaucracy 3, Dodge 3, Integrity 2, Investigation 2, Larceny 1, Linguistics 1, Lore 1, Melee 4, Presence 2, Resistance 2, Sail 5, Socialize 2, Thrown 1, War 3
  323. Merits: Backing (Air Fleet) 4, Command 3, Influence 4, Language (Low Realm) 1, Language (Skytongue) 1, Martial Artist 4, Manse 3, Resources 4, Strong Lungs 1
  324. Specialties: Athletics (Rigging), Athletics (Swimming), Lore (Northern Raiders), Melee (Sword), Sail (Boarding Actions), Sail (Fleet Tactics), Presence (Commanding)
  325. Attack (Tanoa’s Kiss): 12 dice – Lethal, Melee, Balanced; (damage 15; min. 4)
  326. Attack (Knife): 12 dice – Lethal, Melee, Thrown (Short); (damage 10; min. 1)
  327. Attack (Boarding Axe): 10 dice – Lethal, Melee, Chopping; (damage 12; min. 1)
  328. Combat: Soak 11 (Medium Armor +8); Parry: 5 (melee); Evasion: 3 (Medium Armor -1); Rush 7 dice; Disengage: 7 dice
  329. Social: Resolve: 3; Guile: 4
  330.  
  331. Crew: While in combat, Feria may call upon her crew to assemble a battle group of Battle-Ready Troops (Exalted, pp. 496-497) with the following traits: Size 2, Elite Drill, Magnitude 7
  332.  
  333. Tanoa’s Kiss
  334. (Red Jade Reaper Daiklaive, Artifact •••)
  335. A blade once wielded by an ancestor of Ragara Feria, the fleet admiral set out to recover it from thieves shortly after being promoted to her position. Stories of Ragara Tanoa and the blade that granted her a mastery of the elements around her helped inspire Feria to take to the sea, and she does not intend on letting the weapon be stolen from her family again.
  336.  
  337. EVOCATIONS OF TANOA’S KISS
  338. The wielder ignores all environmental penalties from fog, rainfall, and other watery environs.
  339.  
  340. VEILING MIST Cost: 5m, 2i; Mins: Essence 1; Type: Simple
  341. Keywords: Perilous, Resonant
  342. Duration: One scene
  343. Prerequisites: None
  344. To use this Evocation, Feria must be on a ship’s deck, under rainfall, or in similarly wet conditions, sweeping Tanoa’s Kiss to draw up moisture around her into hissing steam. She and all allies within short range of her may use Take Cover actions (Exalted, pp. 198- 199) within the mist as though it were light cover.
  345.  
  346. Resonant: The wielder treats the mist as heavy cover instead.
  347.  
  348. LEAPING FLAME CUT
  349. Cost: 5m, 1a, 1wp; Mins: Essence 2; Type: Simple
  350. Keywords: Decisive-only
  351. Duration: Instant
  352. Prerequisites: Veiling Mist
  353. Feria’s blade is consumed with burning heat as she strikes her target, revealing itself in leaping flames. To use this Evocation, she must be at Initiative 15+. She rolls a single decisive attack against two enemies, dividing her Initiative evenly between them, rounded down, to determine the damage rolled against them. One target must be in close range, but she may strike the second target from afar if he is within short range of the primary target.
  354.  
  355. Charms
  356. OFFENSIVE CHARMS
  357. Stoking Bonfire Style (1m per die; Supplemental; Instant; Uniform): Add up to (Melee + Specialty) bonus dice on an attack roll. If Feria uses this Charm to attack the same enemy over multiple consecutive rounds, its cost is reduced by one mote for each round (minimum 0). Attacking another enemy or going a turn without attacking resets the discount.
  358.  
  359. Smoldering Essence Attack (5m, 1a; Simple; Instant; Withering-only): Feria makes a withering attack that drains an additional Initiative for every 10 on the damage roll. She doesn’t gain this Initiative. The struck enemy loses the same amount of Initiative on his next (Essence) turns, or until he hits her with a withering attack.
  360.  
  361. DEFENSIVE CHARMS
  362. Blinding Spark Distracting (2m per +1 Parry; Reflexive; Instant): Add up to ([Melee + Specialty] / 2) to Parry. Successfully blocking a close range attack blinds the attacker (Exalted, p. 168) until the end of his next turn.
  363.  
  364. Portentous Comet Deflection (3m, 1wp; Reflexive; Instant; Clash, Decisive-only): Feria may reflexively clash an attack against her with a decisive attack. This counts as her attack for the round, and can’t be used if she’s already made her attack.
  365.  
  366. Mobility Charms
  367. Deck-Striding Prana (3m, 2i; Reflexive; Instant): Add (Sail) bonus dice on a movement roll. Feria can climb one range band up a ship’s rigging or similar surfaces with her reflexive move.
  368.  
  369. SOCIAL CHARMS
  370. Glowing Coal Radiance (2m per success; Supplemental; Instant): Add up to ([Presence + Specialty] / 2) successes on a Presence roll, and roll a non-Charm die for each 10 on the roll.
  371.  
  372. Moth to the Candle (2m, 1wp; Simple; One scene): Feria’s enemies must prioritize attacking her over any other character unless they pay 1wp to resist. They can still take non-attack actions, as long as they don’t harm her allies.
  373.  
  374. Bellowing Thunder Admiral (8m, 1wp; Simple; One scene): Feria adds (Essence / 2) successes on command actions targeting battle groups made up of mortal sailors, and they gain (Essence / 2) successes on rolls to resist rout. She and all sailors under her command gain +1 Resolve. If she wins Join Battle after boarding a ship in naval combat, she may use this Charm reflexively.
  375.  
  376. Passionate Soul Incitation (5m, 1a; Supplemental; Instant): When a target enters a Decision Point to resist a Presence or Socialize roll, he can only invoke an Intimacy based on passion to resist, unless he has none.
  377.  
  378.                                                         ***********
  379.  
  380.    4. Ku Nenaveya - Captain of the Blue Wolves, Wielder of the Frozen Heart
  381.  
  382. Background: A hardened Northern mercenary captain, Ku Nenaveya found lucrative work north of the White Sea in the Shining Path cult’s bloody factional wars. Though not a believer herself, her talents brought her to the attention of the cult’s spiritual leader, the Bishop of the Chalcedony Thurible, who made her his confidant and elevated her to high station within the Shining Path. But Nenaveya betrayed her master’s secrets when the cryptic Melkin Fool in Red, a deathknight in service to the Bishop’s rival, seduced her. Discovered, she anticipated the most dreadful punishments. Instead, the Bishop offered forgiveness. “This is your punishment and your blessing: to be made glorious by your hatred,” he told her, kindling her heart with a numinous black flame. Then he turned her over to his torturer-artisans; they drained her of all her tears, from which they forged for her a daiklave of ice.
  383.  
  384. Exiled from the Bishop’s lands for her crime, Nenaveya wanders the North in search of purpose at the head of her mercenary band, the Blue Wolves. As she embraces the Bishop’s blessing, the swath she leaves in her wake grows ever bloodier.
  385.  
  386. Image: Long years of mercenary work have marked Nenaveya’s skin with scars and her features with choler.  Though in her early forties, she remains lean and well-muscled,  with a wary, vigilant air. Her clothing and equipage are of vivid colors and visibly fine workmanship, proclaiming the Blue Wolves’ financial success.
  387.  
  388. Intimacies:  Defining: The  Bishop  of  the Chalcedony  Thurible (Worshipful  Hatred); Major:  “What’s  the point of having money and power if no one knows who you are?”; The Blue Wolves (Pride); Foes who’ve defeated her (Hateful Rivalry); Minor: Bandits and militia (Hateful Contempt); Peoples of the Black Shale Road (Loathing); The Exalted (Envy)
  389.  
  390. Secrets: Nenaveya keeps her power’s nature secret, lest someone use it against her. Though her knowledge of the Bishop’s plans is outdated, she nonetheless possesses useful information regarding his personal character and behavior, his intimates, the layout of his Hidden Tabernacle, and so forth. The Bishop, intrigued by the effects of his blessing upon her, observes her activities through ghostly agents.
  391.  
  392. Equipment: Frozen Heart (daiklave of ice), well-kept reinforced buff jacket
  393.  
  394. Roleplaying Hints: Characters can coax Nenaveya into alliance with offers of riches, respect, and power. But such alliances are tempestuous; she’s embraced the Bishop’s gift and forms new hate-based Intimacies whenever she views a character as a threat to her life, wealth, or position. She keeps her violent temper leashed unless skillfully goaded. She recognizes when she’s outmatched despite her hatred, and seeks allies and patrons who can protect her from Exalted might.
  395.  
  396. Attributes: Strength 3, Dexterity 4, Stamina 4;
  397. Charisma 3, Manipulation 2, Appearance 2;
  398. Perception 3, Intelligence 2, Wits 4
  399. Essence: 2
  400. Willpower: 7
  401. Join Battle: 7 dice
  402. Personal Motes: 20
  403. Health Levels: −0/−1x2/−2x6/−4x5/Incap.
  404. Abilities: Athletics 3, Awareness 3, Brawl 2, Bureaucracy (Military) 2, Dodge 3, Integrity 1, Larceny 1, Linguistics 1, Lore 1, Medicine (Injuries) 1, Melee (Frozen Heart) 4, Occult (The Undead) 1, Presence (Command) 3, Resistance 3, Ride 2, Socialize (Enemies) 1, Stealth 1, Survival 3, War 4
  405. Merits: Acrimony’s Seal (below), Artifact (Frozen Heart) 3, Command 3, Contacts 1, Exalted Healing, Followers 1, Influence 2, Language (Riverspeak, Shining Path Cant, Skytongue), Resources 2
  406. Attack (Frozen Heart/daiklave): 12 dice (Damage 15/5); Tags: Lethal, Melee; Attack (Unarmed): 11 dice (Damage 13); Tags: Bashing, Brawl, Grappling, Natural; Attack (Grapple): 6 dice (5 dice to control)
  407. Combat: Soak 9, Hardness 0 (Reinforced Buff Jacket: +5);
  408. Evasion 3, Parry 5 (Melee); Rush 7 dice; Disengage 7 dice
  409. Social: Resolve 3, Guile 2
  410.  
  411. Escort: The Blue Wolves form a Size 4 battle group of medium infantry (Exalted, p. 496) with average Drill. She always keeps a grizzled mercenary (Exalted, p. 497) bodyguard at her side.
  412.  
  413. New Supernatural Merit: Acrimony’s Seal. One of Nenaveya’s hate-based Defining Ties cannot be altered (other than to a different variety of hate) or eroded, and influence antithetical to that Tie is unacceptable. She may reassign this benefit to a different such Tie once
  414. per story. This Merit is unique to Nenaveya.
  415.  
  416. Frozen Heart (Unmelting Ice Daiklave, Artifact •••)
  417. An orichalcum hilt grips a blade of unmelting ice. Nenaveya is resonant with it, as are the Abyssal Exalted.
  418.  
  419. Evocations of Frozen Heart
  420. Passive: The wearer ignores all cold-related penalties, and negates one level of damage from cold-based environmental hazards.
  421.  
  422. Pain-Numbing Chill (2m, 2i; Reflexive; Until next turn; Perilous; Essence 2): Nenaveya ignores up to three points of penalties from wounds, poison, or disease on all actions. Prerequisites: None. Dissonant: The wielder only ignores one point of penalty.
  423.  
  424. Charms: Nenaveya’s rating in her highest-rated hate-based Tie toward the target of an action she creates or enhances with a Charm, or toward her attacker, is her Animus. If she’s impassioned with hatred (Exalted, p, 217), treat her as having a hate-based Major Tie toward all opponents. She can’t use Charms that refer to Animus against opponents for whom she lacks hate-based Ties.
  425.  
  426. OFFENSIVE CHARMS
  427. Antagonistic Awareness (1m+; Supplemental; Instant; Essence 1): Choose an opponent and add one die per mote spent to a Join Battle roll, up to (Animus) dice. If Nenaveya’s Join Battle roll beats the chosen opponent’s, she steals one Initiative from him.
  428.  
  429. Enmity-Driven Onslaught (1m+; Supplemental; Instant; Dual; Essence 2): Add one die per mote spent, up to (Animus) dice, to an attack roll. If it’s withering, also add that many dice to its post-soak damage; if it’s decisive, add half that many dice (rounded down) to its raw damage, or to the Initiative roll if it’s a gambit.
  430.  
  431. Triumphant Contempt Attitude (1wp; Reflexive; Instant; Essence 2): Upon incapacitating an opponent, gain (Animus) Initiative after resetting to base.
  432.  
  433. Vindictive Counterattack (3m; Reflexive; Instant; Counterattack, Decisive-only; Essence 2): When parrying an attack, make a decisive Melee counterattack that occurs after the opponent’s attack result (successful or not), but before damage is rolled, ignoring (Animus) Hardness. This doesn’t count as her combat action for the turn.
  434.  
  435. DEFENSIVE CHARMS
  436. Focused Loathing Deflection (2m+; Reflexive; Instant; Essence 1): Increase Parry by one per two motes spent, up to a bonus of (Animus/2, rounded up), and ignore that many points of onslaught penalty. On a successful block, steal one Initiative from the attacker.
  437.  
  438. MOBILITY CHARMS
  439. Belligerent Pursuit Style (1m+; Supplemental; Instant; Perilous; Essence 1): Add one die per mote spent, up to (Animus) dice, to a rush roll or a roll to contest a disengage action. If successful, perform a reflexive aim action against the target; Nenaveya may move and take this reflexive aim action in the same round.
  440.  
  441. SOCIAL CHARMS
  442. Searing Antipathy Attitude (4m, 1wp; Reflexive; Instant; Eclipse; Essence 2): In response to being targeted by social influence but before the influence action is rolled, Nenaveya burns with hatred as though impassioned (Exalted, p. 217), and gains +2 Resolve. If she’s already impassioned with hatred, waive the Willpower cost.
  443.  
  444.                                                         ***********
  445.  
  446.    5. Eska of the Seven Blades - Hunter of Heroes
  447.  
  448. Background: Born amid the far-Eastern Jaru tribes’ endemic warfare, Eska grew up surrounded by violence. She made it her tool, defeating peers in contests of might and skill, and leading raids against neighboring tribes to plunder and count coup. Through bravery and strength, she could accomplish anything. When a neighboring Jaru tribe butchered Eska’s people, the survivors scattered. Bereaved, humiliated, and enraged, Eska sought revenge, hunting those who killed her kin. In a running battle with enemy warriors, she Exalted.
  449.  
  450. Eventually a Lunar elder, Sublime Danger of the Thousand Daiklave Wings, took her in. Eska’s sworn herself to her mentor’s service, and often performs various errands — redirecting travelers, stealing artifacts, maiming or slaying perilous foes — occasionally accompanied by another of Sublime Danger’s students. But mostly, her time is her own. To ensure that she’s never vulnerable again, she seeks strength through constant conflict.
  451.  
  452. Image: A sharp-featured young woman, pale due to being sheltered from the sun by the forest canopy. Her expressive face is quick to exhibit glee, surprise, and rage. Her battle-form has six arms but appears otherwise human. Her totemic anima displays a violet-and-silver wolf spider whose legs terminate in blades.
  453.  
  454. Intimacies: Defining: “Battling mighty foes makes me stronger.”; Major: Sublime Danger (Reverence); Fellow student (Rivalry); Minor: “Battle isn’t a game.”; “My foes will yield to me in the end.”; Fellow student’s reborn Solar mate (Jealous Desire)
  455.  
  456. Secrets: Eska keeps tabs on heroes and champions betwixt the Scavenger Lands and the Dreaming Sea, tracking their movements and patterns so she can catch them alone. She’s privy to some, though not all, of her mentor’s schemes.
  457.  
  458. Equipment: Moonsilver short daiklaves (Eska’s Fangs, below), purple jewelry and leather vambraces matching her eyes.
  459.  
  460. Roleplaying Hints: Eska tests herself against anyone she sees as a rival (such as a player character who’s defeated her in battle or who also studies under Sublime Danger) or who she believes will give her a good fight. She employs disguises, lies, and stealth to catch an opponent alone long enough to defeat him. Eska flees if dealt a crippling wound or brought down to her −4 health levels, or if significant foes rally to defend her prey. Her interest wanes if a foe seems beneath her or a more enticing target appears. Those who slay Eska face the wrath of her mentor and fellow students.
  461.  
  462. Caste: Full Moon
  463. Tell: Slitted violet eyes
  464. Attributes: Strength 4, Dexterity 4, Stamina 4;
  465. Charisma 3, Manipulation 2, Appearance 2;
  466. Perception 3, Intelligence 2, Wits 4
  467. Essence: 2
  468. Willpower: 6
  469. Join Battle: 8 dice
  470. Personal Motes: 17
  471. Peripheral Motes: 37/42 (5m committed to Eska’s Fangs)
  472. Health Levels: −0/−1x2/−2x4/−4x7/Incap.
  473. Abilities: Athletics 4, Awareness 4, Brawl 3, Dodge 5, Melee 4, Integrity 1, Larceny 1, Lore 1, Occult 1, Presence 3, Resistance 3, Socialize 1, Stealth 1, Survival 3
  474. Merits: Ambidextrous 1, Artifact 3, Language (Forest-tongue, Riverspeak, Local Tongues), Mentor 3 (Sublime Danger of the Thousand Daiklave Wings)
  475. Attack (Eska’s Fangs/short daiklave): 13 dice (Damage 14/4); Tags: Lethal, Melee
  476. Attack (Eska’s Fangs/dagger): 12 dice (Damage 11); Tags: Lethal, Melee, Thrown (Short) (see Fang-Concealing Method)
  477. Attack (Unarmed): 11 dice (Damage 11); Tags: Bashing, Brawl, Grappling, Natural
  478. Attack (Grapple): 11 dice (7 dice to control)
  479.  
  480. Combat: Soak 4, Hardness 0;
  481. Parry 4 (Melee); Evasion 5; Rush 8 dice; Disengage 9 dice
  482. Social: Resolve 3, Guile 2
  483.  
  484. Eska’s Fangs (Moonsilver Short Daiklaves, Artifact •••)
  485. A recent gift from Sublime Danger after a Solar Exalt shattered Eska’s mundane blades, these six swords partake of Eska’s zeal and duplicity.
  486.  
  487. Evocations of Eska’s Fangs
  488. Passive: While wielding all six swords, Eska’s dual wielding bonus to clash attacks increases to +4.
  489.  
  490. Fang-Concealing Method (—; Reflexive; Indefinite): Diminish any number of Eska’s Fangs to the size and semblance of ordinary daggers.
  491.  
  492. Shapeshifting
  493. Eska pays four motes to assume any human or animal form she knows as a miscellaneous action. Returning to her natural human shape is free and reflexive. In animal form, she uses the animal’s dice pools; where this increases her dice pool, treat the extra dice as dice added
  494. by Charms.
  495.  
  496. Eska’s spirit shape is a wolf spider. She favors innocuous human forms, like a lost child or traveling merchant, to lure in an opponent or put him at ease. In battle, she immediately activates Deadly Beastman Transformation (see below). For travel and escape, she favors winged forms such as a raiton (Exalted, p. 570).
  497.  
  498. Charms
  499.  
  500. EXCELLENCIES
  501. Eska can add up to (Attribute) dice to a Dexterity, Stamina, Charisma, or Wits roll for one mote per die. She may increase this limit by adding a second Attribute, with an appropriate stunt. Additionally, she may increase her soak by up to (Stamina/2) points, or (Stamina + [Attribute]/2) with an appropriate stunt, for one mote per point.
  502.  
  503. OFFENSIVE CHARMS
  504. Octopus and Spider Barrage (8m, 1wp; Simple; Instant; Decisive-only): Make up to three decisive attacks against one or more enemies; these need not use the same weapon or Ability. Divide Initiative evenly among attacks, rounding up. Only reset to base Initiative if at least one attack hits, and only after all attacks are completed. Only lose Initiative for missed attacks if all attacks miss. In animal shapes with more than four limbs, each successful attack adds one cumulative die to subsequent attacks’ damage.
  505.  
  506. Sinuous Striking Grace (3m; Reflexive; Instant; Uniform): Add four to Initiative to determine when to act this round. If Eska uses her action to attack someone who hasn’t acted yet this round, convert one die on the attack roll to a non-Charm success.
  507.  
  508. DEFENSIVE CHARMS
  509. Coiled Serpent Strikes (2m, 2i; Reflexive; Instant; Counterattack, Decisive-only): Upon successfully defending against an attack, make a decisive counterattack; Eska may reflexively ready a weapon to attack with.
  510.  
  511. Gleaming Crescent Block (4m; Reflexive; Instant; Uniform): Up to two 1s on an attacker’s attack roll subtract successes from the roll. Waive the Initiative cost of counterattacking with Coiled Serpent Strikes if Eska’s parry succeeds.
  512.  
  513. MOBILITY CHARMS
  514. Instinct-Driven Beast Movement (3m; Supplemental; Instant): Add an automatic success to one movement action or one roll of a speed-based extended action. Upon succeeding at an opposed supplemented roll, gain one Initiative; in animal forms with a Speed Bonus, the opponent loses an Initiative also.
  515.  
  516. SOCIAL CHARMS
  517. Dream-Weaving Voice (3m; Simple; Instant): Eska’s words paint a vivid picture in a listener’s mind, allowing him to clearly visualize the tale. Double 9s on a single inspire roll.
  518.  
  519. MISCELLANEOUS CHARMS
  520. Deadly Beastman Transformation (1m, 1wp; Simple; One scene; Withering-only): While Hybrid Body Transformation is active, add four dice to withering damage rolls, feats of strength, and movement actions. Gain +4 natural soak. Eska can attempt Strength 5+ feats of strength. Suffer an unavoidable −1 Defense penalty. She may reflexively activate this Charm while activating Hybrid Body Transformation.
  521.  
  522. Hybrid Body Transformation (4m; Simple; Instant): Shift into a hybrid form with six arms and slit-pupiled eyes, gaining the Enhanced Sense (Vision) and Extra Limbs Merits. This doesn’t count as an animal form for Charm purposes.
  523.  
  524. Silken Grasp (1m; Reflexive; Instant): Unreeling a sticky silken thread from her palm, Eska pulls to her hand a small or light object within short range. This is only usable once per hand per round.
  525.  
  526.                                                         ***********
  527.  
  528.    6. Ashana Ikatu - Master of the Coiled Viper Dojo, First of the Night’s Talons
  529.  
  530. Background: Ashana Ikatu has gone by many names in her life. Her first, Tahari, came from peasant parents in a village on the Porcelain Coast. As a child, her parents gave her to an Immaculate monastery, where her postulant name was Sparrow and her monk name Daughter of Winds. Ambitious, unprincipled, and easily bored, she abandoned the Order in her twenties to seek her fortune. She wandered the Threshold as a charlatan and mountebank, claiming and discarding names as she pleased, thrilling in outwitting the clever and breaking the strong.
  531. Eventually she came to the Coiled Viper Dojo, an ancient and reputable school for the martial arts. There she challenged and defeated the old master, Ashana Ikatu, and took his name for her own — along with the sifu’s mystical blessing passed down from its serpent-god founder — in accordance with the dojo’s tradition. Now she’s sifu to a score of students, training them rigorously in martial techniques and her own brand of chicanery.
  532.  
  533. She only accepts students cunning and ruthless enough for her purposes, whether as legbreakers and grifters garnering wealth and weeding out competing criminals, or stalking marks alongside her as the Night’s Talons, a black-clad band of thieves and assassins. Like Ikatu, they crave challenge and victory as much as money. No other local rogues dare target Princes of the Earth — nor charge such astronomical fees.
  534.  
  535. Image: Though nearly 50 years old, Ikatu looks half that age, aided by healthy living and rigorous exercise. She’s frosty in her public persona as the dojo’s sifu, but quick to laugh or rage elsewhere.
  536.  
  537. Intimacies: Defining: “What is life without challenge?”; The Coiled Viper Dojo (Possessiveness); Major: “I enjoy defeating the proud.”; “My ambitions are fulfilled, yet I crave something greater.”; The Night’s Talons (Pride); Minor: My Students (Satisfaction); The Exalted (Jealousy)
  538.  
  539. Secrets: Ikatu keeps tabs on the wealthy and powerful nearby for future leverage. She caches away keepsakes from thefts and schemes, some immensely valuable, waiting for the right time to use them as bait. A few past victims still seek her, to retrieve such treasures or exact revenge; she keeps their names close to her chest, not wanting her students to get any ideas about betraying her for profit.
  540.  
  541. Equipment: custom-tailored silk martial arts uniform, hidden knives, vial of snake venom, lockpicks, pouch of dinars
  542.  
  543. Roleplaying Hints: Though Ikatu relishes her power and secrets, she’s grown restless from years ensconced in the Coiled Viper Dojo. Characters can sway her to join dangerous schemes that are sufficiently challenging or stimulating. This isn’t a death wish, however; she flees if brought to her −2 health levels. Her students seek revenge on anyone who would dare slay her.
  544.  
  545. Attributes:
  546. Strength 3, Dexterity 4, Stamina 5; Charisma 2, Manipulation 4, Appearance 2; Perception 3, Intelligence 3, Wits 4
  547. Essence: 1 Willpower: 9
  548. Join Battle: 9 dice
  549. Health Levels: −0/−1x2/−2x2/−4/Incap.
  550. Abilities: Athletics (Jumping) 4, Awareness 4, Brawl 1, Bureaucracy (Assess Value) 1, Dodge 4, Integrity (Conceal Identity) 3, Investigation 2, Larceny 3, Linguistics 2, Lore 2, Martial Arts (Ebon Shadow) 5, Martial Arts (Snake) 5, Medicine (Self-Treatment) 1, Occult 1, Presence (Intimidation) 3, Resistance 3, Socialize 3, Stealth 3, Thrown (Knives) 3
  551. Merits: Contacts (Local Criminals) 1, Fast Reflexes, Followers (Night’s Talons) 2, Influence 2, Language (Native: Low Realm; High Realm, Flametongue) 2, Martial Artist, Resources 2
  552. Attack (Unarmed): 13 dice (Damage 10); Tags: Bashing, Brawl, Grappling, Natural
  553. Attack (Knife): 13 dice (Damage 10 + poison: 2i/round [L in crash], 3 rounds, −3 penalty); Tags: Lethal, Melee, Thrown (Short)
  554. Attack (Grapple): 9 dice (8 to control)
  555. Combat: Soak 5, Hardness 0; Parry 5 (Martial Arts);
  556. Evasion 5; Rush 8 dice; Disengage 8 dice
  557. Social: Resolve 4, Guile 4
  558.  
  559. Students: Ikatu often travels with one or more students. Ordinary students have monk traits; Night’s Talons have assassin traits (Exalted, p. 499). She can muster the Talons as a Size 1 battle group with elite Drill, and the other students as a Size 2 battle group with average Drill.
  560.  
  561. SPECIAL ABILITY: SERPENT’S SOUL
  562. An ethereal, serpentine presence dwells within Ikatu’s soul. Spending one Willpower manifests it for a scene; while it’s active, her skin takes on a faint snakelike pattern. She gains Hardness 5 and Initiative +2 for determining turn order, and ignores one Defense point if her target has a Major or Defining Tie of fear toward her. Once active, another Willpower extends this effect to an individual who knows Snake Style and has a positive Intimacy toward her. She may also spend a Willpower to grant a battle group under her command Might 1. Only the Coiled Viper Dojo’s sifu possesses this ability.
  563.  
  564.                                                         ***********
  565.  
  566.    7. The Bloodthirsty - Scourge of Wavecrest
  567.  
  568. Background: Vicious and brutal, the pirate band called the Bloodthirsty haunts the waters southeast of the Wavecrest Archipelago, seizing merchant vessels and raiding coastal towns. Though they often hold wealthy travelers alive for ransom, they show no such mercy to Wavecresters, for whom their mistress holds a special hatred. Their depredations strike terror across the archipelago, but House V’neef sees them as pawns in its schemes. Their sigil — a skull whose jaws drip blood — and their spiked hulls hung with their victims’ remains are rightly feared throughout the Wavecrest region. Wavecrest’s attempts to eliminate them have proven ineffectual against their numbers and secret benefactors.
  569.  
  570. The Imperial Navy is reluctant to take the fight to the pirates’ home ground, lest they turn their attention from Wavecrest. Available Navy forces would doubtless crush the Bloodthirsty in time, but the resulting distraction and casualties would leave House Peleps’ Western operations vulnerable to V’neef maneuvering.
  571.  
  572. Members: The Bloodthirsty are reavers from the Seawalk Isles, an island chain southeast of Wavecrest containing Kyna Wehe, Jora Wehe, and several lesser isles. Traditionally, they limited themselves to raiding one another and unfriendly neighbors, or indulged in
  573. occasional coastal piracy. But the Exigent Captain Odara (see Odara, Chosen of Ash) has raised her bloody-skull banner among peoples already growing eager to test the limits of an unstable Realm’s defenses, gathering dozens of ships into a single marauding fleet.
  574.  
  575. The Bloodthirsty fleet evolved from refitted fishing boats into larger vessels with a tradition of deliberately haphazard-looking construction that’s deceptively swift and maneuverable. Their most notable quirk is the addition of great, curving spikes along the sides of their hulls, above the waterline. Meant to snag the sides of enemy ships during boarding actions, they also serve to intimidate, especially when the crews impale victims of successful raids upon them.
  576.  
  577. Odara of Ash, a volcano-god’s Exigent, leads the Bloodthirsty from her flagship, the Kalaho Ahn. Her captains theoretically stand as equals, though they jockey with one another for influence over Odara and for control of the fleet’s resources. These captains include the ruthless and opportunistic Nanahu, and the dreaded ghost-blood Two Shadows.
  578.  
  579. Secrets: Despite Odara’s victories and charisma, not all Bloodthirsty favor her command. Some consider her crusade against Wavecrest misguided, and would rather turn toward less perilous targets. Others still chafe under old rivalries with fellow Bloodthirsty captains who once raided their homes. Though the need to stand together against the Imperial Navy and other maritime forces keeps Odara’s rivals in line for now, the right opportunity could unleash strife within the fleet as captains nurse old grudges. While the Bloodthirsty remain personae non gratae in Wavecrest itself, some neighboring peoples and city states unofficially tolerate them for their lavish spending and bribes in port, and for weakening the Realm’s influence in the region. These quietly offer havens for Bloodthirsty ships to resupply, sell stolen cargoes, and provide leave for their crews.
  580.  
  581. House V’neef secretly backs the Bloodthirsty, funneling information on Imperial Navy movements and Wavecrest shipping to the pirate captains, and offering sanctuary and trade opportunities in their satrapial port of Nansha. The Merchant Fleet hopes to use the Bloodthirsty as a weapon against Peleps in their escalating conflict for control over the West. They’ve not yet offered Odara everything she desires — total license against the priesthoods and peoples of Wavecrest — but the time for scruples is ending.
  582.  
  583. Resources: The Bloodthirsty command a dozen ships of the line with blue-water merchant traits, a score of light corsairs with large yacht traits, and several dozen scouts with fast courier traits (Exalted, p. 246). Multiple scouts usually accompany a ship of the line or a pair of corsairs.Larger fleets assemble to take down well-defended convoys, intercept enemy naval forces, or protect pirate havens. Bloodthirsty pirates aboard a ship of the line or corsair with spikes affixed gain +1 to Threaten actions against other crews.
  584.  
  585. Crew members use Lintha reaver traits (Exalted, p. 497) with average or elite Drill depending on the captain’s skill at command. Scout and corsair crews are Size 1; a ship of the line’s crew is Size 3. Intimacies typically include “I’ll make my fortune through piracy” and Fellow Bloodthirsty (Loyalty) at Defining or Major. Ties toward Odara and/or their ship’s captains are common; their emotional tenor varies.
  586.  
  587. Individual Bloodthirsty come away with sizable shares of wealth after a successful fight, which they’re quick to spend in port. Captains stash away lockboxes of treasure for emergencies, and many have Resources 1-3 in non-maritime investments.
  588.  
  589. Roleplaying Hints: Bloodthirsty ships try to outnumber their opposition, swarming one target at a time and prioritizing boarding actions. In melee, they fight fiercely, showing no quarter unless an individual seems valuable — whether for ransom, useful skills, or carnal appeal. On shore leave, they tend toward bellicosity; they’re prone to brawling and bravado, as well as muggings and other petty crime.
  590.  
  591. NEW NAVAL STRATAGEM
  592. Jagged Impact (Wits + Sail + Maneuverability; Cost: 15 Momentum) — Bloodthirsty ships of the line and corsairs can undertake this boarding action (Exalted, p. 245). After the crew boards, the enemy battle group suffers −1 to rout checks and command actions. For each threshold success on this stratagem’s roll, the captain may inflict one level of Magnitude damage to the enemy as spikes scatter or impale them.
  593.  
  594. Ship’s Pilot
  595. While the captain gives orders and commands the ship as a whole, the pilot is responsible for navigation and steering. (On smaller ships, captain and pilot may be one and the same). She holds a great deal of authority, effectively acting as second-in-command. This also makes her a prime target during naval engagements, so a pilot must be skilled in her own defense.
  596.  
  597. As talented pilots are rare, pirates seize them from captured vessels and press them into service. Though carefully watched at first, most are nonetheless reliable; they know enemy navies will treat them as any other pirate despite their origins and intentions.
  598.  
  599. Intimacies: Defining: Her ship (Devotion); Major: “Nothing will deter my vessel from reaching its destination.”; Minor: Her captain (Loyalty)
  600. Essence: 1; Willpower: 6; Join Battle: 6 dice
  601. Health Levels: −0/−1x2/−2x2/−4/Incap.
  602. Actions: Climbing: 5 dice; Command: 5 dice; Navigation/ Sailing: 7 dice; Senses: 7 dice
  603. Appearance 2, Resolve 2, Guile 2
  604.  
  605. COMBAT
  606. Attack (Short sword): 9 dice (Damage 9/2)
  607. Attack (Knife): 8 dice (Damage 9)
  608. Attack (Unarmed): 7 dice (Damage 9)
  609. Combat Movement: 5 dice
  610. Evasion 2, Parry 3
  611. Soak/Hardness: 5/0 (Breastplate)
  612.  
  613. Arms Master
  614. The arms master’s responsibilities include drilling the crew in combat techniques and commanding them in battle. She’s often the most skilled fighter onboard, and leads from the front to repel boarders or seize enemy ships. Commercial vessels’ arms masters also lock up
  615. weapons between engagements to avoid fights and mutiny, but pirates rarely enforce such rules.
  616.  
  617. Intimacies: Defining: “Victory at all costs.”; Major: “Discipline is paramount.”; Her captain (Loyalty); Fellow crew (Respect)
  618. Essence: 1; Willpower: 5; Join Battle: 7 dice
  619. Health Levels: −0/−1x2/−2x2/−4/Incap.
  620. Actions: Athletics: 6 dice; Navigation/Sailing: 5 dice; Read Intentions: 4 dice; Senses: 5 dice; Siege Weapons: 7 dice; Social Influence: 5 dice; Threaten: 7 dice; Warfare: 7 dice
  621. Appearance 3, Resolve 3, Guile 2
  622.  
  623. COMBAT
  624. Attack (Chopping sword): 9 dice (Damage 12)
  625. Attack (Longbow): 9 dice at short range (Damage 12)
  626. Attack (Knife): 10 dice (Damage 10)
  627. Attack (Unarmed): 9 dice (Damage 10)
  628. Combat Movement: 6 dice
  629. Evasion 2, Parry 4
  630. Soak/Hardness: 8/0 (Reinforced buff jacket)
  631.  
  632. Nanahu, Captain of the Wa Wakahi
  633. Born in a Kyna Wehe fishing village, Nanahu turned first to sailing and then to piracy, where his fierce demeanor and violent temperament stood him in good stead. When the Wa Wakahi’s previous captain died in battle, he roused the crew to his support and seized the captaincy.  While Nanahu approves of Odara’s personal strength and tactical acumen, he fears her vendetta against Wavecrest may embroil the Bloodthirsty in an unwinnable, unprofitable war with the Imperial Navy; or worse, that they’ll become tools of the Merchant Fleet.
  634.  
  635. Nanahu is squat and powerfully built, with blue-green hair and beard. An encounter with a fire projector turned the left side of his face into a mass of burn scars, making his expression all the more ferocious.
  636.  
  637. Intimacies: Defining: “Violence and bluster get me what I want.”; Major: Odara (Respect); His crew (Loyalty); Minor: The Wa Wakahi (Pride)
  638. Essence: 1; Willpower: 7; Join Battle: 7 dice
  639. Health Levels: −0/−1x2/−2x2/−4/Incap.
  640. Actions: Assess Wealth: 6 dice; Athletics: 6 dice; Navigation/Sailing: 7 dice; Read Intentions: 4 dice; Senses: 5 dice; Social Influence: 6 dice; Threaten: 7 dice; Warfare: 7 dice
  641. Appearance 4 (Hideous), Resolve 3, Guile 2
  642.  
  643. COMBAT
  644. Attack (Great axe): 8 dice (Damage 15)
  645. Attack (Firewand): 9 dice at short range (Damage 15)
  646. Attack (Unarmed): 11 dice (Damage 11)
  647. Combat Movement: 5 dice
  648. Evasion 2, Parry 3
  649. Soak/Hardness: 9/0 (Reinforced buff jacket)
  650.  
  651. Olo the Scorpion, Wary Fence
  652. The hard-goods dealer Olo spends any given day picking through new goods in Port Ahisa’s bazaar. She moves slowly; a wooden stump replaces her missing left leg, and her once-muscular frame now runs to fat. Her neighbors would be astonished to see her on moonless nights, nimbly descending cliffside paths to the hidden cove where she purchases pirated cargoes. She maintains a walled, guarded warehouse complex at the edge of town. When not out on business, she rarely stirs herself from the office where she cooks her books. She keeps a crossbow by her desk, and her clothing bristles with hidden knives; she trusts no one, not even her own staff.
  653.  
  654. Once a pirate herself in the now-defunct Cracked Skull Sisterhood of Jora Wehe until its destruction by Kyna Wehe fleets 20 years ago, Olo retains many contacts amid the Bloodthirsty beyond her mercantile relationships. She knows much regarding their activities and plans.
  655.  
  656. Intimacies: Defining: “Unlike people, money will never betray you.”; Major: Survivors of the Cracked Skull Sisterhood (Loyalty); Kyna Wehe’s chieftains (Hatred); Minor: “Better to kill than to be killed.”; The Bloodthirsty (Loyalty)
  657. Essence: 1; Willpower: 5; Join Battle: 6 dice
  658. Health Levels: −0/−1x2/−2x2/−4/Incap.
  659. Actions: Assess Value: 7 dice; Bargain: 7 dice; Commerce: 7 dice; Read Intentions: 6 dice; Senses: 5 dice; Social Influence: 5 dice
  660. Appearance 3, Resolve 3, Guile 3
  661.  
  662. Escort: Olo’s clerks, porters, and guards are retired pirates (use grizzled mercenary traits, Exalted, p. 497). At least one escorts her at all times, and she can easily assemble a Size 1 battle group with average Drill.
  663.  
  664. COMBAT
  665. Attack (Knife): 8 dice (Damage 10)
  666. Attack (Crossbow): 8 dice at short range
  667. (Damage 12)
  668. Attack (Unarmed): 8 dice (Damage 10)
  669. Combat Movement: 3 dice
  670. Evasion 1, Parry 3
  671. Soak/Hardness: 6/0 (Chain shirt)
  672.  
  673. Two Shadows, Captain of the Nightmare
  674. After perishing in a storm, a fisherman returned home as a ghost to visit his wife one last time. Nine months later, Two Shadows was born. Drawn to the sea, she became a sailor and a pirate. Eventually caught by Wavecrest’s navy, she was slated for execution in Abalone before a serendipitous Bloodthirsty raid freed her.
  675.  
  676. In her 30s, Two Shadows is tall, lean, and pale, with a white streak through her green-black hair. Though Two Shadows’ crew fear the deathly magic of her birthright, they admire her cold, calculated brutality. But Odara’s fiery presence has warmed something within her for the first time, turning her aside from pure profit to serve the pirate queen’s crusade.
  677.  
  678. Intimacies: Defining: Odara (Infatuation); Major: “I am fascinated by death.”; “I love the freedom of the sea.”; The Nightmare (Pride); Minor: “Human lives mean nothing to me.”; Her crew (Ownership)
  679. Essence: 1; Willpower: 7; Join Battle: 8 dice
  680. Personal Motes: 10 (5 committed)
  681. Health Levels: −0/−1x2/−2x4/−4/Incap.
  682. Actions: Athletics: 6 dice; Navigation/Sailing: 6 dice; Read Intentions: 5 dice; Senses: 6 dice; Social Influence: 7 dice; Threaten: 8 dice; Warfare: 7 dice
  683. Appearance 3, Resolve 3, Guile 2
  684.  
  685. COMBAT
  686. Attack (Paired axes): 10 dice (Damage 13)
  687. Attack (Unarmed): 10 dice (Damage 10)
  688. Combat Movement: 6 dice
  689. Evasion 3, Parry 5
  690. Soak/Hardness: 12/7 (Kraken’s Shroud)
  691.  
  692. Special Ability: Deathwalker
  693. Two Shadows can perceive and physically interact with ghosts and other immaterial undead, who can likewise interact with her even without materializing. These effects don’t apply to other immaterial spirits.
  694.  
  695. Kraken’s Shroud (Black Jade Reinforced Buff Jacket, Artifact •••)
  696. Two Shadows seized this gray sharkskin and black jade coat from an outcaste warrior-priest of Siakal.
  697.  
  698. EVOCATIONS OF KRAKEN’S SHROUD
  699. Passive: Kraken’s Shroud has the Buoyant tag. Against wounded opponents, add one die to rush actions or to contest disengage actions.
  700.  
  701. OFFENSIVE CHARMS
  702. Life-Drinking Blade (3m, 1i; Supplemental; Instant; Dual; Essence 1): Gain +2 to an attack roll. Gain +1 to post-soak withering damage or to raw decisive damage.
  703.  
  704. DEFENSIVE CHARMS
  705. Clarity-of-Death Defense (2m; Reflexive; Instant; Essence 1): Ignore one point of onslaught penalty.
  706.  
  707.                                                         ***********
  708.  
  709.    8. Iron Siaka - Champion Of Serenity
  710.  
  711. Background: Little Mackerel grew up in Auspicious Haven, one of the Blessed Isle’s prominent western harbors. She was sixth of two dozen children in a fishers’ family, and should have cast nets alongside them. Instead, she spent all her time at the docks waiting for Dynastic ships to come in. She pestered harbormasters, brothel owners, and gamblers for information on the visiting Dynasts, earning quite a few beatings in additions to a growing knowledge of the Great Houses. Exalted by Venus, the Sidereal is now an ironwrought shark, rather than a little mackerel. She remembers what it’s like to be overlooked and unimportant, though, and earnestly protects Creation’s small folk. Sometimes that means adjudicating disputes and advocating for compromise. Most times, it means bludgeoning threats with her mace-like chuí. Iron Siaka takes primal pleasure in combat, though she tells herself she would happily hang up her weapon if peace and harmony reigned. She fervently believes the Dynasty is the best defense mortals have against raksha, demons, rogue gods, and the mad Anathema.
  712.  
  713. Image: Tall and muscled from a life of physical labor, Iron Siaka cuts an imposing figure. Her tousled hair and crooked smile make the heart of many a lady beat faster. Dark skin, sun-bleached tallow hair, and a thick accent reveal her lowly origins. Her iconic anima manifests as a fierce siaka, maw open, against a backdrop of blue waves.
  714.  
  715. Intimacies: Defining: “Guard the people of Creation.”; Major: Circlemates (Friendship); Shepherd of the North Star (Drinking Buddy); Current Lovers (Love); Minor: “Protect the Scarlet Dynasty.”; Bronze Faction (Loyalty); Auspicious Haven (Home)
  716.  
  717. Secrets: Lovers share secrets with Iron Siaka, and she dutifully keeps them all. Her own secret is her one failed mission; she journeyed on the Bronze Faction’s behalf to kill an Anathema near Auspicious Haven. Ready for combat, she instead found the Anathema a terrified child, a fisherman’s daughter. Memories of home weakened her resolve. She imprisoned the child in a locked tower on a deserted island. Using resplendent destinies, Iron Siaka asks peasants and kings alike for advice with veiled tales asking, “can a monster learn not to be one?” She wants to ask her Circlemate, Shepherd of the North Star, for his opinion; fear he’ll deduce the truth holds her back.
  718.  
  719. Equipment: Iron Siaka wears a deep blue cloak and lamellar armor over a cerulean tunic. Dulcet Consolator, her starmetal goremaul, accompanies her everywhere. She carries tokens from favorite lovers: a wooden locket containing a strand of red hair, a blue scarf, a dried flower wreath, a silver locket containing a nude portrait, and a letter bearing a kiss. She keeps others in her Yu-Shan apartment.
  720.  
  721. Roleplaying Hints: Iron Siaka is confident and quick to laugh. She has numerous girlfriends at any given time, and loves them all. Fascinated by the Dynasty to this day, she occasionally sidetracks missions to stage encounters with famous magistrates. However, “friendly” is not “soft.” Iron Siaka allows enemies to write final letters to their spouses, or offers to return mundane possessions to their families, but performs her duties to the letter; if death is what the Maidens require to secure harmony, so be it. She is unrelenting in combat. She’s not above lying if she’s losing, feigning either injury or surrender, and stays alert for
  722. foes trying the same.
  723.  
  724. Caste: Serenity
  725. Attributes: Strength 4, Dexterity 4, Stamina 5; Charisma 4, Manipulation 2, Appearance 3; Perception 4, Intelligence 3, Wits 5
  726. Essence: 3
  727. Willpower: 7
  728. Join Battle: 8 dice
  729. Personal Motes: 15
  730. Peripheral Motes: 38/43 (5 committed)
  731. Health Levels: −0x4/−1x4/−2x2/−4/Incap.
  732. Abilities: Athletics 4, Awareness 3, Brawl (Rowdy Fights) 4, Dodge 4, Integrity 4, Investigation 1, Linguistics (Love Letters) 5, Lore (The Realm) 3, Melee (Maces) 5, Presence (Intimidation) 3, Resistance 2, Ride 1, Socialize (Discerning Intimacies) 5
  733. Merits: Allies (Shepherd of the North Star) 5, Artifact (Dulcet Consolator) 3, Contacts (Realm Dockworkers) 5, Language (Native: Low Realm; High Realm, Old Realm, Riverspeak, Seatongue) 4, Resources 2, Strong Lungs
  734. Attack (Dulcet Consolator): 13 dice (Damage 16/4); Tags: Bashing, Melee, Smashing
  735. Attack (Unarmed): 12 dice (Damage 11); Tags: Bashing, Brawl, Grappling, Natural
  736. Combat: Soak 10, Hardness 0 (lamellar: +5); Parry 6 (Melee); Evasion 3 (lamellar: −1); Rush 8 dice; Disengage 8 dice
  737. Social: Resolve 5, Guile 4
  738.  
  739. Dulcet Consolator
  740. (Starmetal Goremaul, Artifact •••)
  741. Late in the war for Creation, at the cusp of their loss, the enemies of the gods coaxed the Western waters into a tidal wave to swallow the world. Sophar and Taftin, twin Chosen of the Maidens, perished coaxing a massive meteor from the sky to disrupt the wave. Dulcet Consolator was forged from black jade and the shattered remains of that fallen star.
  742. Evocations of Dulcet Consolator
  743.  
  744. Passive: When Iron Siaka protects someone with the defend other action and the attacker doesn’t overcome her Parry, she gains one Initiative.
  745.  
  746. Truth in Consequences (1m; Supplemental; Instant; Decisive-only; Essence 1): Upon dealing any damage with a decisive attack, the wielder learns the supernatural nature of her opponent and pierces any mundane disguises he wears.
  747.  
  748. Twin Destinies Aegis (1m, 1wp; Reflexive; Instant; Uniform; Essence 2): After an enemy’s attack roll overcomes the wielder’s Parry while she protects a character with a defend other action, she determines whether the attack is applied against her or the original target, not
  749. the attacker.
  750.  
  751. Charms
  752. EXCELLENCIES
  753. Add up to (Essence) dice to an Athletics, Brawl, Craft, Dodge, Integrity, Linguistics, Melee, Performance, Presence, or Socialize roll at a cost of one mote per die. Reduce the target number of such a roll to 6 for one mote; may reduce target number for a Linguistics,
  754. Melee, or Socialize roll to 5 for two motes or 4 for three motes and one Willpower. Raise static values by up to (Essence), for two motes per point of increase.
  755.  
  756. OFFENSIVE CHARMS
  757. Smiling at the Damned (1m, 1i; Supplemental; Instant; Aggravated, Decisive-only): Double 10s on a decisive Melee damage roll and deal aggravated damage.
  758. Unobstructed Blow (5m, 1wp; Simple; Instant; Withering-only): Make a withering Brawl attack that is unblockable and ignores soak from armor.
  759.  
  760. DEFENSIVE CHARMS
  761. Serenity in Blood (5m, 1i; Reflexive; Instant; Decisive-only, Perilous): Iron Siaka’s weapon slices ill-favored fate. She may parry unblockable attacks, and raises the target number of decisive damage rolls against her by one.
  762.  
  763. MOBILITY CHARMS
  764. Inexorable Advance (5m, 2i; Supplemental; Instant): Ignore wound and mobility penalties on a rush. Success lets Iron Siaka instantly move one range band toward her target, instead of waiting for him to move. He suffers a −1 to Defense if Iron Siaka attacks him that turn.
  765.  
  766. SOCIAL CHARMS
  767. Favorable Inflection Procedure (5m; Simple; Instant; Psyche): Speaking her target’s true name, Iron Siaka rolls (Charisma + Linguistics) to instill him with a Tie of affection toward her or erode a negative Tie toward her, gaining +3 to her Appearance to determine how many bonus dice it adds (Exalted, p. 218).
  768.  
  769. Heroic Essence Replenishment (Permanent): Once per scene, when Iron Siaka successfully threatens an enemy in combat to support one of her Intimacies, she gains (Intimacy + 2) motes.
  770.  
  771.                                                         ***********
  772.  
  773.    9. Fivefold Masks and Lies - Servant of Chaos
  774. Background: Khuruga, the Esteemed Minister of Social Unrest, is a busy god, especially in this day and age. He has no time to see to his purview’s promotion, but his ambition demands continued advancement. Fortunately, he has children. Fivefold Masks and Lies is the latest of the chaotic god’s progeny, by way of a mortal supplicant, and they are a willing and eager servant of their divine father. Khuruga prefers to provide broad instructions: directions to a location, and an imperative to cause trouble. With a few whispered words, Masks might transform a reveling crowd into a vengeful mob on a festival day, talk a wealthy groom into abandoning his beloved at their public wedding, or turn a petty feud into an all-out war between rival merchants that disrupts trade across an entire nation. The miracles of heavenly transportation mean Masks has been active as far north as Diamond Hearth, and as far south as Gem. These days, they’re often on the Blessed Isle, hounding one Great House after another as the Dynasts’ fortunes rise and fall.
  775.  
  776. Despite strict instructions to keep their actions subtle and their presence unnoticed, Masks has a habit of choosing rivals from among the Exalted for whom to show off. Causing chaos in secret is much less entertaining than at least giving someone a few hints to liven things up with people trying to stop the trickster’s schemes. The Exalted are so grand, their actions so dramatic, it’s hard to resist playing with the things they love.
  777. Khuruga helps them out of trouble when they get in over their head, but his patience wears thin, and Fivefold Masks and Lies may soon find themselves on their own.
  778.  
  779. Image: Without their mask, Fivefold Masks and Lies is an attractive, androgynous young individual. They don’t show any obvious signs of divine parentage, but the details of their eyes, hair, and clothing have a habit of changing whenever no one’s looking. Their features are youthful and open, disarmingly sincere when they smile or laugh.
  780.  
  781. Intimacies: Defining: “Chaos is its own reward.”, Khuruga (Loyalty); Major: “Give a losing opponent a helping hand.”, The Exalted (Delighted Rivalry); Minor: “Whatever you do, look good doing it.”
  782.  
  783. Secrets: Masks spends a great deal of time watching for opportunities, and they know plenty of juicy tidbits about the Great Houses and their scions: who’s sleeping with whom, who’s lying about their motives or exploits, and who has hopes and dreams their parents might prefer they didn’t.
  784.  
  785. Equipment: Masks’ eponymous artifact, the Mask of Lies, is a smooth, featureless face. They wear it at all times, either as intended or on top of their head like a hat, at a jaunty angle. An elegant leather scabbard hangs at their waist with an ornate rapier inside, unless they’ve forgotten or lost it somewhere again. Their bag contains the tools of their trade: a book of notes, blackmail evidence, and local coin for bribery.
  786.  
  787. Light Weapon — Rapier
  788. a rapier is a long, thin blade with a sharply pointed tip and a protective hilt often forged into ornamental designs. The wealthy favor them as a fashionable means of self-defense, lightweight and decorative when worn.
  789. Cost: •••
  790. Tags: lethal, Melee, disarming, Piercing
  791.  
  792. Roleplaying Hints: Above all, Masks is a trickster. They’re surprised when an opponent comes to truly hate them, since they tend to see adversaries as friendly rivals. Masks prefers not to fight their own battles, and would rather talk someone else into doing so, or if cornered, make a deal to avoid a physical altercation. They have a strong sense of fair play — though untempered by morals or choosing sides — and a habit of leaving hints or suggestions for rivals who seem to be struggling. Killing Masks draws their esteemed father’s attention, and Khuruga has connections among the celestial gods and the Sidereal host.
  793.  
  794. Attributes: Strength 2, Dexterity 3, Stamina 2; Charisma 3, Manipulation 5, Appearance 4; Perception 4, Intelligence 3, Wits 3
  795. Essence: 3
  796. Willpower: 7
  797. Join Battle: 6 dice
  798. Personal Motes: 28/30 (2 committed)
  799. Health Levels: −0/−1x2/−2x2/−4/Incap.
  800. Abilities: Athletics 1, Awareness 3, Bureaucracy
  801. (Sowing Chaos) 3, Integrity (While Disguised) 3, Investigation 3, Larceny 4, Linguistics 3, Lore 2, Melee 3, Performance 2, Presence (Strangers) 5, Socialize 4, Stealth 3
  802. Merits: Artifact (Mask of Lies) 4, Backing (the Celestial Bureaucracy) 3, Fleet of Foot, Language (Native: Old Realm; Guild Cant, High Realm, Riverspeak) 3
  803. Attack (Rapier): 10 dice (Damage 9); Tags: Lethal,
  804. Melee, Disarming, Piercing
  805. Combat: Soak 2, Hardness 0; Parry 3 (Melee);
  806. Evasion 2; Rush 4 dice; Disengage 3 dice
  807. Social: Resolve 3 (4 while disguised), Guile 5
  808.  
  809. Mask of Lies
  810. (Starmetal Mask, Artifact ••••)
  811. Khuruga forged the Mask of Lies as a tool for his children. Its smooth facial features are utterly nondescript.
  812.  
  813. Evocations of the Mask of Lies
  814. Passive: While attuned for two motes, the mask is completely invisible to mortal sight, unless its wielder wishes otherwise.
  815.  
  816. Mirrored Mask (5m, 1wp; Simple; Indefinite; Mute; Essence 1): The Mask of Lies transforms the wearer into a completely different person. Each new disguise creates a cover identity that is appropriate and unremarkable for the area in which they activate this Evocation, but the details are completely out of their control. If they say or do anything that seems out of character for the cover identity, others may roll (Perception + Awareness) against the wielder’s (Guile + Essence) to pierce the disguise; those without supernaturally enhanced senses take a penalty of (wielder’s Essence). The wielder doesn’t automatically know what kind of cover identity the Mask has created; they must figure it out through context clues or look into a mirror and recognize cultural cues.
  817.  
  818. Lying Mirror (5m, 1wp; Reflexive; Instant; Essence 2): The wielder gains +(Essence) Guile to defend against a read intentions action, as long as Mirrored Mask is active. If successful, their opponent believes he succeeded instead, reading an Intimacy or motive appropriate to Mirrored Mask’s disguise. If not, the wielder may spend one Willpower to conceal their intentions anyway; if they do, at the end of the scene their opponent realizes they’ve supernaturally deceived him.
  819. Charms
  820.  
  821. SOCIAL CHARMS
  822. Whispered Unrest (8m, 1wp; Simple; One scene; Eclipse; Essence 3): Masks begins a riot with only a few words. They make a (Manipulation + Presence) inspire roll to produce either fear or anger against a single target. If successful, the impassioned victim spreads her emotional state to anyone with whom she speaks for at least a few minutes without the need for further rolls for the rest of the scene. Additional targets may still spend Willpower to reject the influence, but most Storyteller characters don’t without sufficient impetus (such as a player character convincing them with successful social influence to stay calm).
  823.  
  824. Wield the Crowd (5m; Supplemental; Instant; Essence 2): When making an influence roll against an impassioned target that takes advantage of their inflamed passion, Masks gains +3 dice and doubles 9s.
  825.  
  826.                                                         ***********
  827.  
  828.    10. Adeimantus - Custodian of Utopia
  829.  
  830. Background: Through the mine-streets of Gahana, dust-painted horsewomen ride down glittering serpents with hunting picks. In Fang, wind-scarred urchins swing across the spire’s enamel, carrying parcels on frayed wires. Sewer-farmers hack mushrooms from the lower labyrinth of Black Migao, racing to finish work before tiderise. All dream of something more. Something better.This is how it starts.
  831.  
  832. Architects, revolutionaries, children — Adeimantus approaches such visionaries in dreams. The muse-king bestows the insight these  fantasists need, and all he asks in return is a shrine. Their ambition grows, infecting streets like a beautiful disease, and the shrine swells with it. It becomes a temple, a forum, a palace. It becomes the foundation for Beimeni-Ta.  O Beimeni-Ta, jewel of a bygone age! Seat of philosophy for the Shogunate! Harmonious home to beauty and thought, where anarchy sat chained in the dungeons! Such virtues were nothing before the Wyld, which swallowed the perfect city whole.
  833.  
  834. Lost beyond even the grip of the scavenger lords, the Wyld preserves Beimeni-Ta like a corpse in brine, ruled by Adeimantus, the raksha king, and his devil’s senate. The people are puppets, Wyld figments who indulge in illusory pleasures. The culture is Madness, a melange of koans and trends stewed over centuries. The towers are dust, held together by the mortar of memory.  Once he establishes his foothold in Creation, Adeimantus works to spread utopia. His surroundings adopt aspects of Beimeni-Ta — simplicity — and his city shimmers like a congealing mirage over Wyld-slick rooftops. King and courtiers cannot venture far beyond its limits, but these grow with every mortal enthralled and slum purged. In time, the host city becomes Beimeni-Ta in truth. What beast would oppose the return of perfection? Adeimantus elevates idealists to ambassadors, and his city creeps street by street into Creation, replacing structures and citizens like a cuckoo hurling ugly siblings from the nest.
  835.  
  836. Image: a short and delicate lordling with soft, hairless features, clad in loose midnight robes, a silvery sash, and simple white stone ornaments. Adeimantus has short crimson horns, trimmed claws, and chalk-blue skin tattooed with Beimeni-Ta’s history in scrolling red letters.
  837.  
  838. Intimacies: Defining: Beimeni-Ta (Devotion); Major: Artists & Scholars (Covetousness); Minor: “Compassion is no substitute for civility.”; “Violence is beneath me.”
  839.  
  840. Secrets: Beimeni-Ta was real, once. Its city father, Broad Cypress, fled the Wyld, and foreswore greater dreams to become the kindly patron of a fishing village. He is a per-fect anchor for the perfect city. Permanently banishing Beimeni-Ta would be a mystical act on the order of an Ambition 1 Solar working or other equivalent feat, with Broad Cypress’ sacrifice as an  irreplaceable component.
  841.  
  842. Equipment: Adeimantus bears a red-gold diadem of false sunlight, a scepter studded with the jewels of Beimeni- Ta’s desires, and a black-emerald kris which hangs from his sash, forged from the dream-city’s absent sorrows.
  843.  
  844. Roleplaying Hints: Adeimantus is a condescending sophisticate who only wants the best for Beimeni-Ta, and regards other civilizations as mere echoes. Creation’s inhabitants are all citizens-in-waiting, and he delights in meeting those of refinement — such arts are jewels for Beimeni-Ta’s crown, so he obsessively courts sages, courtesans, and martial artists.  
  845.  
  846. Adeimantus does not lower himself to fighting unless he must, appealing to reason when defied and expressing pity for those he considers blind to the virtue of his cause. His death would banish Beimeni-Ta for a time — but his heir, chosen by quarreling raksha senators, would be free to claim it for themselves. Beimeni-Ta was dangerous enough when it aspired to perfection; what form might the parasitic dollhouse take when remade in a new devil’s image?
  847.  
  848. Attributes: Strength 4, Dexterity 5, Stamina 4; Cha-risma 7, Manipulation 6, Appearance 6; Perception 5, Intelligence 6, Wits 5
  849. Essence: 5
  850. Willpower: 8
  851. Join Battle: 9 dice
  852. Personal Motes: 50
  853. Health Levels: −0x2/−1x2/−2x4/−4x1/Incap.
  854. Abilities: Athletics 4, Awareness 4, Bureaucracy (Civic Leadership) 5, Craft (Artwork) 4, Dodge 4, Integrity (Condescension) 5,
  855. Investigation 3, Linguistics 5, Lore 5, Martial Arts (Dreaming Pearl Courtesan) 2, Medicine 3, Occult 3, Performance 5, Presence (Philosophical Justification) 5, Resistance 3, Socialize (Polite Dismissal) 5, War 3
  856. Merits: Cult 0-5 (see “Wyldcraft”), Fae Nature (Exalted, p. 535), Retainers 4 (see “Escort”), Martial Artist, Unlettered Bane (below)
  857. Attack (Unarmed): 11 dice (Damage 11); Tags: Bashing, Brawl, Grappling, Natural
  858. Attack (Grapple): 7 dice (6 to control)
  859. Attack (Invocation): (Cult + 8) dice (Damage 15/2); see Prescient Nightmare Invocation
  860. Combat: Soak 9, Hardness 4 (Midnight Robe: +5/4); Parry 4 (Martial Arts); Evasion 5; Rush 9 dice; Disengage 9 dice
  861. Social: Resolve 5 (6 while condescending), Guile 6
  862. Escort: Raksha senators equivalent to cataphracts and lorelei (Exalted, pp.  534-535) dwell within Beimeni-Ta. They visit Wyld- tainted Creation as Adeimantus’ Retainers. Mortals who make up his Cult use monk/warrior priest traits (Exalted, p. 499).
  863.  
  864. New Merit: Unlettered Bane
  865. Unlike those fae who suffer iron’s bite, Adeimantus is vulnerable to enemies who neglect the history drawn upon his skin. Attackers
  866. with Linguistics 0 deal aggravated damage to him.
  867.  
  868. Wyldcraft
  869. Once per story, Adeimantus can use raksha witchcraft to mimic Silent Words of Dreams and Nightmares (Exalted, p. 475). Each Wyld dream grants the recipient (Adeimantus’ Cult + 2) banked non-Charm successes, which she can add one or multiple at a time to actions that work toward bringing Beimeni-Ta to reality; any left unused fade at the end of the story. If no player character is involved, Storyteller characters who receive these dreams simply achieve their works more quickly and extravagantly than they  otherwise would.
  870.  
  871. Adeimantus needs no link to his target. Instead, she must possess some symbolic link to Beimeni-Ta, such as an ornament, a song, or an ancestor. The Immaculate Order demolishes tainted buildings and purges poets wherever they banish Adeimantus, in an attempt to prevent his return.
  872.  
  873. Once his dreamers have completed his shrine, the village, small town, or neighborhood surrounding it becomes Wyld bordermarches — Beimeni-Ta’s foothold in Creation. Its mortal population becomes Adeimantus’ Cult. Only mortals with an Intimacy opposing Beimeni- Ta can live within the foothold without reinforcing the parasite reality. Cultists act to spread Adeimantus’ gospel and pieces of Beimeni-Ta’s culture to provide new links for him to expand his foothold with new shrines elsewhere; his Cult rating reflects the total population of all tainted places, adjacent or not. If another new foothold is established after he achieves Cult 5, all foot holds manifest as middlemarches. Left unchecked, these eventually transplant the actual city from its place in the deepmarches into Creation.
  874.  
  875. Beimeni-Ta blesses tainted areas with magical conveniences beyond compare — fountains of healing water, street-cleaning automata, weather divided by district — which grow in potency and wondrousness as Adeimantus’ Cult increases.
  876.  
  877. OFFENSIVE CHARMS
  878. Footprints in Rhapsody (3m, 1i; Reflexive; Instant; Perilous, Psyche; Essence 2): The philosopher-king leads victims down distant, idealized paths. Adeimantus activates this Charm at the end of his turn, choosing a single character he successfully disen-gaged from or hit that turn. That character moves to close range with Adeimantus, which doesn’t count as her move action, and suffers a  −1 to her Resolve and Guile until the end of Adeimantus’ next turn. She treats this Charm as unacceptable influence if the movement would be obviously fatal.
  879.  
  880. Prescient Nightmare Invocation (2m or 7m, 3i, 1wp; Simple; Instant; Withering-only; Essence 1): Adeimantus speaks to conjure half solid visions, warnings of the sorrows facing Creation without Beimeni-Ta. For two motes, he makes a withering in-vocation attack at close or short range. The enemy’s maximum applicable soak against this attack is equal to her Resolve, if it’s lower, modified by applicable Intimacies. Though Adeimantus prefers not to fight himself, his dire warnings galvanize his followers; he can instead pay the increased cost to apply this attack to all enemies in contact with an allied battle group adding its (Size + Might) to his attack and damage rolls. He gains no Initiative from this attack. Instead, the battle group regains Magnitude equal to half the Initiative the enemies collectively lost, up to its maximum.
  881.  
  882. Shun the Murk-Blind Host (10m, 1wp; Simple; Instant; Decisive-only; Essence 2): Weeping, Adei-mantus shatters his emerald kris. The shards make one decisive attack against each character within close range with 9 dice, which ignores Hardness and divides his Initiative evenly among all targets. Each shard carries a poison (Damage 1wp/day, Duration 7 days, penalty −3), resisted with (Wits + Integrity). While suffering the poison’s effects, victims are con-sidered Hideous (Exalted, p. 162) by anyone with Linguistics 1+.
  883.  
  884. Wyld-Gospel Gathering (10m; Simple; One scene; Essence 2): Once per scene, Adeimantus may rally citizens real and unreal, creating a battle group with Size equal to his Cult, Might 1 when within Beimeni-Ta or its foothold in Creation, average Drill, and the traits of battle-ready troops (Exalted, p. 496). Enemies with Linguistics 0 treat the battle group as having Defense 0, and may move through its space without paying Initiative. The group disperses when the Charm ends.
  885.  
  886. DEFENSIVE CHARMS
  887. Infinity Mirror Bedevilment (4m, 2i; Reflexive; Instant; Perilous; Essence 2): Adeimantus may only use this Charm on his turn. Briefly trapping foes in a web of endless rumination, he reflexively reads the in-tentions of every character at close range, rerolling 5s and 6s until they fail to appear. If he beats the Guile of every opponent, he may immediately disengage.
  888.  
  889. Municipal Perfection Decree (8m, 1wp; Simple; One scene; Eclipse; Essence 3): The perfect city flows into forms both aesthetic and defensible with a tap of its lord’s scepter. Adeimantus can reflexively take cover (Exalted, p. 198) on his turn, making dream city features briefly real, and reduces the Defense bonus of all cover by one against his own attacks. He can use a miscellaneous action to alter or create one urban feature at close range, such as carving a gateway or forming a beautiful bridge to escape; doing so to harm or inconvenience an opponent requires a gambit with difficulty (6 − Cult). These changes revert when the round ends. An Eclipse who learns this Charm can only use it within a city where she holds some position of authority; her gambit difficulty is (6 − higher of Cult or Essence), minimum 1.
  890.  
  891. Steel-to-Silk Deferral (3m, 1i; Reflexive; Instant; Perilous, Uniform): Adeimantus politely drifts away from bloodshed, movements veiled by illusory sy-cophants. He gains +1 Evasion against one attack, which does not increase his onslaught penalty. If his attacker has an Intimacy that supports Beimeni-Ta, the Evasion bonus matches its intensity instead.
  892.  
  893. Vaunted Paradise Defense (4m, 1wp; Reflex-ive; Instant; Clash, Decisive-only, Psyche; Essence 2): Adeimantus demands justification for violence with a reflexive (Charisma + Socialize) clash attack against an incoming decisive attack. Instead of inflicting damage, the clash acts as an instill action, weakening any Intimacies which oppose Beimeni-Ta. Adeimantus can use this Charm once per scene, unless it’s reset by a significant enemy’s surrender.
  894.  
  895. SOCIAL CHARMS
  896. False Enlightenment Crucible (4m; Supplemen-tal; Instant; Essence 2): Enlightened reason prevails over absurd attachments. Adeimantus rerolls 1s until 1s fail to appear on an inspire action. On success, he suppresses one Intimacy that opposed his influence; characters with Linguistics 1+ who failed to resist con-sider the Intimacy a childish, petty concern, which cannot modify their Resolve for the rest of the scene.
  897.  
  898. Wishful Temptation Appeal (3m; Simple or Reflexive; Instant; Eclipse; Essence 3): Illusory tapestries display ills that utopia might avert. Adeimantus uses Performance to persuade listeners to act on Beimeni-Ta’s behalf, ignoring the penalty for influencing multiple characters. Choose a specific person or place; listeners with a Tie toward it treat it as a Tie toward Beimeni-Ta, and treat its intensity as one step higher for purposes of modifying Resolve. Adeimantus can use this Charm reflexively upon crashing a significant enemy with Prescient Nightmare Invocation, but must choose a Tie that modified his victim’s Resolve against the attack.
  899.  
  900. MISCELLANEOUS CHARMS
  901. Dream-Wrought Ascendancy (2m; Supple-mental; Instant; Stackable; Essence 4): Adeimantus adds one success to any roll that supports an Intimacy gained through Unborn Echo Ripple (below). He can use this Charm once per roll for each supporting Inti-macy, adding up to (Cult) successes.
  902.  
  903. Smoke-and-Mirror Retreat (20m, 1wp; Simple; Instant; Essence 4): Adeimantus declares this land an unsuitable foundation for perfection and fades away on his next turn, returning to the true Beimeni-Ta in the Wyld. As a shaping effect, the most tainted structures are spirited away with him on the turn after that, as are any inhabitants with a positive Major or Defining Intimacy for the city who fail a (Wits + Integrity) roll with a difficulty equal to Adeimantus’ Cult.
  904.  
  905. Unborn Echo Ripple (1wp; Reflexive; Instant; Essence 5): Adeimantus opens the vault of dreams, choosing one character present who must introduce a fact (Exalted, p. 237) about Beimeni-Ta that sup-ports one of her Intimacies, without a roll. The fact becomes true, an Adeimantus gains an appropriate Minor Principle. For example, Ku Nenaveya’s con-tempt for bandits might turn Beimeni-Ta into a fortress against crime, giving Adeimantus a Minor Principle of justice. These changes have a visible impact on the city, but inhabitants retroactively accept them as if they were always present.
  906.  
  907.                                                         ***********
  908.  
  909.    11. Odara, Chosen of Ash - Captain of the Kalaho Ahn
  910.  
  911. Background: A petty criminal en route to the prisons of Wavecrest, Odara found herself shipwrecked on the tiny volcanic island of Ma’o. Passing herself off as a pilgrim, she ingratiated herself with the island’s volcano-god, Ash on the Wind. But she fell in love with the god, who loved her in return. Ash on the Wind’s chief priestess, Liliha, discovered Odara’s history — and her liaison with the god. Enraged, Liliha sent Odara to the Black Temple of Abalone, to be sacrificed to great Hamoji. Seeing no other means to save his lover, Ash on the Wind called upon the Unconquered Sun for deliverance. His volcano erupted, shattering Ma’o, as Odara Exalted in a blaze of volcanic fire.
  912.  
  913. Fleeing the Black Temple, Odara united the pirate band called the Bloodthirsty (see The Bloodthirsty, Scourge of Wavecrest) under her banner to avenge herself on those who tore her from her god-lover. Seizing ships and raiding ports, she gathers the Western treasures that might otherwise enrich Wavecrest’s temples. Fire and terror linger in her wake.
  914.  
  915. Image: Tall and well-built, with bronze skin and long, wavy red hair, Odara carries herself with arrogant pride. Her expressive face shows every emotion — she’s occasionally pensive, but more often cheerful, excited, or bloodthirsty. Her iconic anima depicts an erupting volcano.
  916.  
  917. Intimacies: Defining: “I’ll avenge Ash on the Wind.”; Major: “I enjoy violence.”; Yalon (Friendship); The Bloodthirsty (Camaraderie); Minor: “I love treasure.”; Priests (Hatred); The Kalaho Ahn (Pride)
  918.  
  919. Secrets: Liliha lives, concealing slick burn scars behind a perfumed veil. She seeks aid from dark powers to destroy Odara, covertly offering wealth and priestly influence. She’ll deal with any being, from the dead to the Anathema, and has already forged a bargain with a mysterious spirit that calls itself Shade.
  920.  
  921. Equipment: rich clothing, ostentatious jewelry, Caldera (red jade lamellar), Roaring Impact (white jade goremaul), Nephthai (black jade devil caster)
  922.  
  923. Roleplaying Hints: In battle, Odara weakens enemy morale with gruesome promises of violence, then leaps into battle with the Bloodthirsty close behind. She favors smashing attacks to knock foes overboard, and uses Mast-Shattering Strike(below) to disable or hole enemy vessels.
  924. Odara focuses on plundering Wavecrest vessels and ports, but characters can redirect her to particularly juicy alternative targets if the reward outweighs the risk. Schemes to tear down Wavecrest society and religion get her attention. Slaying Odara triggers a power struggle within the Bloodthirsty; soon a new leader emerges, directing the pirates toward different goals.
  925.  
  926. Attributes: Strength 4, Dexterity 4, Stamina 4; Charisma 3, Manipulation 2, Appearance 3; Perception 3, Intelligence 3, Wits 3
  927. Essence: 2
  928. Willpower: 7
  929. Join Battle: 7 dice
  930. Personal Motes: 14
  931. Peripheral Motes: 18/33 (15 committed)
  932. Health Levels: −0/−1x3/−2x3/−4/Incap.
  933. Abilities: Archery 3, Athletics 3, Awareness 4, Brawl 2, Bureaucracy (Stolen Goods) 1, Dodge 2, Integrity 2, Larceny (Conceal Evidence) 2, Linguistics 1, Lore (Western Religions) 2, Melee 4, Occult (Gods) 1, Performance 2, Presence (Intimidation) 3, Resistance 2, Sail 4, Stealth 2
  934. Merits: Allies (Yalon) 1, Ambidextrous 1, Artifact (Caldera) 3, Artifact (Nephthai) 3, Artifact (Roaring Impact) 3, Command (the Bloodthirsty) 2, Contacts (Fences) 3, Influence 2, Language (Native: Seatongue; Old Realm) 1, Resources 2
  935. Attack (Roaring Impact): 11 dice (Damage 16/4); Tags: Bashing, Melee, Smashing
  936. Attack (Nephthai): 12 dice at short range (Damage 16/4); Tags: Lethal, Archery (Short), Flame, Mounted, One-Handed, Slow
  937. Attack (Unarmed): 10 dice (Damage 11); Tags: Bashing, Brawl, Grappling, Natural
  938. Combat: Soak 12, Hardness 7 (Caldera: +8/7);
  939. Parry 5 (Melee); Evasion 2 (armor penalty −1);
  940. Rush 6 dice; Disengage 5 dice
  941. Social: Resolve 3, Guile 1
  942.  
  943. ARMS MASTER YALON
  944. A Wavecrest naval officer who quit his post when his daughter was sacrificed to Hamoji after a petty crime, Yalon is Odara’s only real friend and confidant. The crew respects this stern but caring man despite his origins. Yalon uses champion traits — Exalted, p. 497 — with Command: 7 dice and Sail: 6 dice.
  945.  
  946. THE KALAHO AHN
  947. Odara’s flagship has blue-water merchant traits (Exalted, p. 246). Its siege weapons include a fire cannon at the bow, and a fire projector flanked by two ballistae at the stern. Her crew forms a Size 2 battle group with elite Drill, under Yalon’s direction.
  948.  
  949. Caldera (Red Jade Lamellar Armor, Artifact •••)
  950. Odara stripped this armor from an outcaste captain’s corpse, whose dead lips offered no whisper of its provenance. Even its name is Odara’s invention.
  951. Evocations of Caldera
  952. Passive: At the beginning of combat, Odara may inspire (Exalted, p. 217) herself with an inflamed passion of joy. If so, she also gains one Initiative.
  953.  
  954. Nephthai (Black Jade Devil Caster, Artifact •••)
  955. The pirate Lintha Sennong Sikala wielded this artifact flame piece as his signature weapon until his death at Odara’s hands. His family seeks Odara’s death and Nephthai’s return.
  956.  
  957. Evocations of Nephthai
  958. Passive: Nephthai can be fired underwater or into water without penalty.
  959.  
  960. Clinging Flame (4m; Supplemental; One turn; Decisive Only; Essence 1): If a supplemented decisive attack deals damage, clinging flames generate an instantaneous environmental hazard (Exalted, p. 230) with damage (wielder’s Essence)L and difficulty 5, at the beginning of the target’s next turn.
  961.  
  962. Roaring Impact (White Jade Goremaul, Artifact •••)
  963. An outcaste smith forged this hammer to Odara’s specifications.
  964. Evocations of Roaring Impact
  965. Passive: Reduce the Initiative cost of smashing attacks by one.
  966.  
  967. Mast-Shattering Strike (5m, 1wp; Supplemental; One feat; Essence 1): Add (Essence) to Strength for one feat of demolition, including to determine whether the feat is possible. Resonant: Convert dice gained from this bonus Strength to automatic successes.
  968.  
  969. Charms
  970. Many of Odara’s Charms wax or wane in power with her anima, which has the following values: dim 0, glowing 1, burning 2, bonfire/iconic 3.
  971.  
  972. EXCELLENCIES
  973. Supplement a Dexterity, Stamina, Charisma, or Wits roll for one mote per die. When stunting an action in a dynamic, aggressive way, add up to (Attribute + anima) dice. When stunting an action in a passive, defensive way, instead add up to (Attribute + [3 – anima]) dice. Raising static values works similarly, dividing by two and rounding down.
  974.  
  975. OFFENSIVE CHARMS
  976. Searing Steel Eruption (1m, 3a, 1wp; Simple; Instant; Decisive-only): Gain three Initiative, then roll a single decisive attack against up to three opponents within close range, dividing Initiative evenly among them (rounded up). Reset to base only after the final attack resolves.
  977.  
  978. DEFENSIVE CHARMS
  979. Lava Fills the Fault (1m, 1a; Reflexive; Instant): Heal one −0 health level of non-aggravated damage; usable once per three rounds.
  980.  
  981. Skin of Rhyolite (3m; Reflexive; Instant; Dual): Gain (5 − anima) natural soak against a withering attack or (5 − anima) Hardness against a decisive attack.
  982.  
  983. Whirling Ash Evasion (4m, 1wp; Simple; One scene; Perilous): Ignore up to (anima) points of penalty to Evasion.
  984.  
  985. MOBILITY CHARMS
  986. Boiling Cauldron Dance (2m; Reflexive; Until next turn): Walk or run across water. This creates a veil of steam that imposes a −1 visual penalty on opponents’ attacks.
  987.  
  988. Wind-Whipped Cinder Swiftness (3m; Supplemental; Instant): Add (anima + 2) bonus dice to a combat movement roll, or a roll to contest combat movement. If this roll beats all opponents, gain one Initiative.
  989.  
  990. SOCIAL CHARMS
  991. Smoldering Mountain Terror (4m; Supplemental; Instant): Add (anima) dice to a threaten action, ignoring any penalty for multiple targets.
  992.  
  993.                                                         ***********
  994.  
  995.    12. Meimuna Kyree - Necharan Matchmaker
  996.  
  997. Background:
  998. My lady Cholan of the House of Red Birds,
  999.  
  1000. After weeks of travel and investigation, it seems my efforts may finally bear fruit. Here, in the eighth locale on my itinerary, I’ve caught the trail of a band of travelers whose heroic deeds and artifact blades bespeak some supernatural bloodline. Rumor hasn’t sufficed to untangle the specifics of their lineage, but no matter. My bearers and I are on their heels, and once I meet them in person, I’ll ply them with gifts and promises until they relent and return with us to Nechara. Surely one of them will make your daughter a fine groom, or your son a strong bride.
  1001.  
  1002. Your faithful servant, Meimuna Kyree
  1003.  
  1004. Image: Meimuna Kyree’s rich robes and headdress befit her elevated status as a Necharan matchmaker, fit to treat with spirits and outcastes. Red and gold gardas painted on her brown skin bespeak devotion to her patrons in the House of Red Birds. Bells woven into her long black hair bring luck. She seems graceful and dignified; only if her composure cracks under pressure do her youth and limited experience become obvious.
  1005.  
  1006. Intimacies: Defining: Lady Cholan (Devotion); Major: “A true matchmaker shows each client the utmost discretion.”; “Gossip is my lifeblood.”; House of Red Birds (Loyalty); Potential Suitors (Gallantry); Minor: Nechara (Homesickness)
  1007.  
  1008. Secrets: Kyree knows much regarding the habits, likes, and dislikes of numerous Eastern spirits, god-blooded, and outcastes, including their web of relationships with one another. She’s also privy to gossip regarding Nechara’s noble houses and grandees.
  1009.  
  1010. Equipment: fine clothing; golden bells; tanpura with mother-of-pearl inlay; baggage train laden with gifts of clothing, liquor, perfume, etc.; maiden tea
  1011.  
  1012. Roleplaying Hints: Kyree has yet to develop an elder matchmaker’s subtlety. She gleefully corners potential divine consorts for her patron’s family, expounding on the House of Red Birds’ wealth and on the luxury and status that accompanies begetting a god-blooded heir as spouse or consort. Though carefully guarding her patrons’ and clients’ secrets, she gladly gossips about other subjects. Should she catch a potential spouse’s trail — and she assumes that covert Solar or Lunar characters are god-blooded heroes — she’s equally direct, inquiring widely as to their whereabouts and activities. Others who might wish to use or harm the characters need only follow in her wake.
  1013.  
  1014. She offers small gifts to attract a potential suitor’s attention, and larger ones to sway the undecided. If tricked into giving away rich treasures to someone who never intended to go to Nechara, she spreads dreadful rumors about that character for the rest of her trip. Characters can dissuade Kyree by pointing her to more obliging potential suitors, or revealing that her target is totally unsuitable — though she’d be publicly horrified to learn he’s Anathema. Antagonizing, ruining, or slaying her results in negative attention from nobles, bankers, merchants, and spirits who wish to remain on good terms with Nechara’s aristocrats — and retain access to Necharan business and largesse.
  1015.  
  1016. Attributes: Strength 2, Dexterity 2, Stamina 2; Charisma 3, Manipulation 2, Appearance 4; Perception 4, Intelligence 3, Wits 2
  1017. Essence: 1
  1018. Willpower: 5
  1019. Join Battle: 4 dice
  1020. Health Levels: −0/−1x2/−2x2/−4/Incap.
  1021. Abilities: Awareness 2, Bureaucracy (Assess Wealth) 2, Craft (Tailoring) 2, Dodge 1, Integrity (Loyal Service) 3, Investigation 2, Linguistics (Invitations) 3, Lore (Eastern History) 1, Martial Arts (Dreaming Pearl Courtesan) 2, Occult (Spirits) 2, Performance
  1022. (Singing, Stringed Instruments) 3, Presence (Matchmaking) 3, Ride 1, Socialize (Assess Interest) 3
  1023. Merits: Backing (House of Red Birds) 2, Influence 1, Language (Native: Forest-tongue; Riverspeak, Flametongue, Old Realm) 3, Martial Artist, Mentor (Lady Cholan) 1, Resources 2, Retainers 2
  1024. Attack (Unarmed): 8 dice (Damage 9); Tags: Bashing, Brawl, Grappling, Natural
  1025. Combat: Soak 2, Hardness 0; Parry 2 (Martial Arts); Evasion 2; Rush 2 dice; Disengage 3 dice
  1026. Social: Resolve 3, Guile 3
  1027.  
  1028. Escort: A dozen assorted chefs, musicians, and dancers accompany Kyree’s travels, delegated by the House of Red Birds to help sway a potential spouse into returning to Nechara to taste that city’s splendors. They’re escorted by porters, drovers, pack animals
  1029. laden with supplies and gifts, and a dozen guards (a Size 1, average Drill battle group of medium infantry — Exalted, p. 496). Her taciturn uncle Meimuna Mayan serves as her bodyguard; he uses grizzled veteran traits (Exalted, p. 497).
  1030.  
  1031. TRAVELING TO NECHARA
  1032. Should well-bred characters accompany Kyree, the city-state of Nechara offers many intrigues. Other noble houses wish to woo the characters away from the House of Red Birds — or to outright sabotage relations with that family. Meanwhile, Necharan genealogists pry into their backgrounds, potentially uncovering damaging secrets.
  1033.  
  1034.                                                         ***********
  1035.  
  1036.    13. Peremuz - Rogue Homunculus
  1037.  
  1038. Background: After her retirement from the legions, the outcaste sorcerer Lofty Raiton retired to the countryside to pursue her research. One of her creations was a tiny homunculus hatched from a geode filled with her own blood. She named the creature Peremuz, after the diminutive hero of a century-old romance novel. Quick-witted and clever, with a sharp tongue, Peremuz served his creator for several years as a laboratory assistant, conversationalist, messenger, and spy. But when Lofty Raiton died, her progeny bickered over ownership of Peremuz as though he were a pet or a tool rather than a person. Shouldering a pouch full of coin, he departed to make his own destiny. After moving from one city to the next every few years, Peremuz currently earns his keep in Pangu’s underworld, where he freelances for myriad employers. Most simply know him as a peculiar local figure, riding about on his terrier or drinking wine from thimbles. In fact, his minuscule size makes him an ideal spy, thief, or even assassin.
  1039.  
  1040. Image: A grotesque manikin with huge batlike ears, Peremuz stands just one handspan tall. He dresses in clothing custom- made for the occasion, whether that’s peacock finery, rugged traveling leathers, or mottled grays for camouflage. He seems ageless, though his gray hair is receding. The chip on his shoulder is apparent in his stance and lofty grimace when dealing with larger folk. He usually travels mounted on his terrier, Black Wolf. For long trips, his husky Storm carries a pack or sled.
  1041.  
  1042. Intimacies: Defining: “I will take advantage of a world that overlooks me.”; Major: “Big folk can’t be trusted.”; “Scruples are for those without the will to survive.”; Lofty Raiton’s memory (Filial Respect); His handler in the All-Seeing Eye (Loyalty); Minor: Lofty Raiton’s children (Bitterness); Mortals (Scorn); the Exalted (Wariness)
  1043.  
  1044. Secrets: Peremuz is a repository of secrets; he’s spied on crime lords, visiting Guild merchant princes, patrician matriarchs, and Dynastic grandees. In addition, he’s secretly an agent of the All-Seeing Eye. Everything he reports to his other patrons, he also reports to his Eye handler.
  1045.  
  1046. Equipment: Tiny garments, toothpick-sized sword, fishhook- grapnel on six feet of silken line, backpack full of lockpicks, doll-sized journal covered in handwriting too tiny to read
  1047.  
  1048. Roleplaying Hints: Peremuz is sarcastic and snarky, channeling his bitterness toward a world that doesn’t accommodate his scale. He’s wary of kindness, as many attempt to manipulate him under the guise of concern and understanding, but characters can woo him with equitable treatment. Though loyal to his All-Seeing Eye handler, he values his skin above the needs of any particular assignment; he’d rather flee than fight, and freely sells out most employers if necessary to survive. If Peremuz dies, the All-Seeing Eye loses its best source of information on Pangu’s underworld, and the various bosses resort to less subtle and efficacious methods of observing and interfering with their rivals’ activities, resulting in increased bloodshed.
  1049.  
  1050. Attributes: Strength 1, Dexterity 4, Stamina 3; Charisma 2, Manipulation 3, Appearance 1; Perception 4, Intelligence 3, Wits 4
  1051. Essence: 1
  1052. Willpower: 6
  1053. Join Battle: 8 dice (9 vs. tiny creatures)
  1054. Health Levels: −0/−1/−2/−4/Incap.
  1055.  
  1056. Abilities: Athletics (Climbing) 2, Awareness (Tiny Creatures) 4, Brawl 2, Bureaucracy (Evaluating Goods) 1, Craft (Alchemy) 1, Dodge (Guard Dogs, Humans) 4, Integrity 2, Investigation 3, Larceny 2, Linguistics 2, Lore 2, Melee 3, Occult (Sorcery) 1, Presence 1, Resistance 3, Socialize (Guile, Spying) 1, Stealth 4, Survival (Animal Training) 2
  1057. Merits: Backing (All-Seeing Eye) 2, Contacts (Pangu Underworld) 1, Enhanced Sense (Hearing), Familiar (Black Wolf) 1, Familiar (Storm) 1, Hideous, Influence 1, Language (Native: High Realm; Low Realm, Old Realm, Riverspeak, Guild Cant) 4, Tiny Creature (below)
  1058. Attack (Tiny sword): 9 dice (Damage 4, or 10 against enemies his size or smaller); Tags: Lethal,
  1059. Melee
  1060. Attack (Unarmed): 6 dice (Damage 4, or 8 against enemies his size or smaller; can’t inflict decisive damage against human-sized or larger opponents);
  1061. Tags: Bashing, Brawling, Grappling, Natural Attack (Grapple): 6 dice (3 to control; can only grapple enemies his size or smaller)
  1062. Combat: Soak 5, Hardness 0 (tiny feathersteel chain shirt: +2); Parry 4 (Melee); Evasion 4 (6 against larger foes, or 7 against guard dogs/humans); Rush 6 dice; Disengage 8 dice Social: Guile 3, Resolve 3
  1063.  
  1064. Familiars: For dog traits, see Exalted, p. 562. Both dogs know the Hold at Bay and Snarling Guardian Attack special attacks, and have the Loyal Guardian Merit. Black Wolf also has the Discerning Scent (human scents) and Wary Watchdog Vigilance
  1065.  
  1066. Merits.
  1067. Tiny Creature: Gain +2 Evasion against larger foes, and subtract two successes from Awareness-based rolls to notice him.
  1068.  
  1069.                                                         ***********
  1070.  
  1071.    14. Afondha - the Lady of the Well
  1072.  
  1073. Background: The well’s aquifer runs for miles underground, spanning rivers and cisterns to bring life to the land. Generations of farmers coaxed the water above ground, and rice and grains that grow nowhere else in the East paid for gilded thrones. Three principalities once waged war over Afondha’s Well, dark blood seeping through earth to mingle with the water. Now they have reached an equilibrium through treaties and marriage, so each may prosper. Afondha is a regional fertility goddess. She has scores of god-blooded children, begotten with men and women from all three princedoms, whom she views as extensions of herself. They fill her retinue as guards, servants, spies, and — for those born of prestigious mortal lineages — ambassadors. She has no patience for rebellion or laziness, and swiftly disowns any children who refuse to play their parts. Any who actively betray her, or even speak badly about her in public, can look forward to unfriendly visits from hireling slavers, assassins, or in some cases their own siblings.
  1074.  
  1075. The temple-manse at the heart of Afondha’s Well draws supplicants bringing offerings. They beg for fertile lands and wombs, or the more nebulous blessing of fruitful endeavors. Others worship Afondha at more distant cisterns, and her coffers fill with riches and bounties. No gold or cornucopia compares to the value of life, however, and she resents the three principalities for reaching a peaceful arrangement. She would prefer just enough bloodshed to salt the waters a touch.
  1076.  
  1077. Image: Afondha is all luscious curves and dark bronze skin. She never wears her raven hair the same way twice. Her cheeks appear flushed, and her eyes are the blue-grey of deep water. Often pregnant, her belly shows from the first month. Her clothes and jewelry are resplendent and ever-changing, taken from the riches sacrificed to her wells.
  1078.  
  1079. Intimacies: Defining: “Life flows from me alone.”; Major: “Protect my well at all costs,'' My Cult (Ownership), “Blood sacrifice means more than riches.”; Minor: Agu Zhano-a Tatosu, daughter by Prince Agu Zhan (Expectant Pride)
  1080.  
  1081. Secrets: Afondha hears everything supplicants whisper to any well that taps into the aquifer stretching out from her temple-manse, from spouses and heirs wishing for rulers’ deaths to farmers asking her to poison their neighbors’ land, and she’s not above holding it over their heads for leverage. She harbors plans to destabilize the principalities, acting through discreet saboteurs lest she offend local war gods. She offers potential agents a myriad of rewards, including talismans and the hand of her favorite (and unaware) daughter, Tatosu.
  1082.  
  1083. Equipment: Collar of Dawn’s Cleansing Light (Exalted, p. 601); flowing robes (Silken Armor, Exalted, p. 600); white jade headdress (Hearthstone Amulet, Exalted, p. 601) bearing three identical opaque green-blue stones, one of which is a Harvest Gem (Exalted, p. 609)
  1084.  
  1085. Roleplaying Hints: Afondha carries herself with self-aggrandizing confidence, but also with charm and beauty. She is an excellent hostess to those she deems worthy of her attention — especially young Exalted she can call upon once they’ve grown in power — and icy cold to anyone she deems beneath her. She changes her attire and manse’s interior design on a whim, to keep guests entertained and, not coincidentally, off-balance. She never strikes a deal unless she believes she’ll come out ahead.
  1086.  
  1087. Attributes: Strength 3, Dexterity 3, Stamina 4; Charisma 4, Manipulation 5, Appearance 5; Perception 3, Intelligence 4, Wits 2
  1088. Essence: 4
  1089. Willpower: 7
  1090. Join Battle: 6 dice
  1091. Personal Motes: 84/90 (6 committed)
  1092. Health Levels: −0/−1x4/−2x4/−4/Incap.
  1093. Abilities: Awareness 4, Brawl 1, Bureaucracy (Offerings) 4, Dodge 4, Integrity (Persuasion) 5, Linguistics 4, Lore 4, Occult 4, Performance 4, Presence (Bargaining, Charm) 5, Resistance 2, Socialize (Read Intentions) 4
  1094.  
  1095. Merits: Artifact (Hearthstone Amulet) 2, Artifact (Collar of Dawn’s Cleansing Light) 2, Artifact (Silken Armor) 4, Cult 4, Exalted Healing, Followers 2, Language (Native: Old Realm; High Realm, Riverspeak) 2, Manse 5, Retainers (God-Blooded Bodyguard) 4, Resources 4, Selective Conception
  1096. Attack (Unarmed): 8 dice (Damage 10); Tags: Bashing, Brawl, Grappling, Natural
  1097. Attack (Grapple): 4 dice (4 to control)
  1098. Combat: Soak 9, Hardness 4 (Silken Armor: +5); Parry 2 (Brawl); Evasion 4; Rush 3 dice; Disengage 7 dice Social: Guile 5, Resolve 4
  1099. Escort: Afondha cultivates an entourage of fawning servants, god-blooded guards, and juggling bears. The temple-manse’s guards use traits for battle-ready troops (Exalted, p. 496) and form a Size 2, Might 1 battle group with average Drill. Two elite bodyguards (Exalted, p. 497) accompany Afondha everywhere, tongueless and unflinchingly loyal.
  1100.  
  1101. OFFENSIVE CHARMS
  1102. Geyser’s Distant Caress (6m, 1wp; Simple; One scene; Eclipse; Essence 2): Afondha may perform gambits against targets at up to medium range using Manipulation + Brawl with bonus dice equal to her Cult (10 total dice), as long as she’s within short range of at least a gallon of open water. Successful grapples performed with this Charm immediately pull the target to close range.
  1103.  
  1104. DEFENSIVE CHARMS
  1105. Still Waters Run Deep (5m, 2i; Reflexive; Instant; Withering-only; Essence 1): Afondha gains bonus soak equal to the number of dice that show failures in the attack roll, or double that amount if she is partially or fully submerged in her aquifer’s water. Activate this Charm before the attacker rolls.
  1106.  
  1107. MOBILITY CHARMS
  1108. Aqueous Rebirth (5m, 1i; Reflexive; Instant; Essence 1): Afondha briefly dissolves into water. She may automatically succeed on a disengage attempt. Alternatively, she may roll Dexterity + Cult (7 dice) while being grappled to reduce the opponent’s turns of control by the number of successes she rolls. If this reduces the turns of control to zero, she gains two Initiative.
  1109.  
  1110. SOCIAL CHARMS
  1111. Thirst-Quenching Goddess Regalia (8m, 1wp; Reflexive; Instant; Eclipse; Essence 3): Whenever Afondha succeeds at a bargain action or chooses not to apply her Resolve against one, she may activate this Charm to automatically instill a minor Intimacy for herself in that character with a positive context chosen by the opponent’s player, such as awe, respect, or trust. If the character already has a positive Intimacy for her, it increases in intensity by one instead. If the character already has a negative Intimacy for her, it decreases in intensity by one instead.
  1112.  
  1113. MISCELLANEOUS CHARMS
  1114. Fertile Benediction (15m; Simple; Instant; Eclipse; Essence 3): Afondha blesses the supplicant with fertility, ensuring conception with their next informed and willing partner regardless of whether they could normally conceive a child with that partner, as long as at least one of them has a womb.
  1115.  
  1116. Hurry Home (10m, 1wp; Simple; Instant; Essence 1): Afondha dissolves into water on her next turn, returning to her manse’s hearthroom.
  1117.  
  1118. Materialize (45m, 1wp; Simple; Instant; Essence 1): Afondha solidifies from water.
  1119.  
  1120. Measure the Wind (5m; Simple; Instant; Essence 1): Afondha can read anyone who willingly asks for her blessing.
  1121.  
  1122. Vine-Ripened Labor (15m, 1wp; Simple; Instant; Essence 3): Afondha grants fruitful progress on one specific task, such as attracting a suitor’s attention or winning a negotiation with a rival. The supplicant receives four banked bonus dice, which they can add to any one roll pertaining to the task before the lunar month ends; if that roll succeeds, the supplicant tithes one Willpower to Afondha.
  1123.  
  1124.                                                         ***********
  1125.  
  1126.    15. Ninegala - Forge-Goddess of Makelo
  1127.  
  1128. Background: Ninegala once labored at the forge of one of the world’s makers. When the Exalted cast those ancients down, she exiled herself to Creation, raising a sanctum on the Western isle of Sinti. Eventually, an enterprising mortal hero persuaded her to forge him a weapon in exchange for a year of service; others trickled in over the centuries. During the Contagion, she opened her doors to a tribe of survivors. In gratitude, when they founded the city Makelo (Exalted, p. 105), they took her as their sovereign god.
  1129.  
  1130. Image: Ninegala has charcoal-black skin, ash-gray hair, and fiery eyes that blaze when her passions are aroused. She wears little in the forge’s heat, but when traveling abroad, she arrays herself in arms and armor of her own devising as she takes up her flying bronze chariot’s reins.
  1131.  
  1132. Intimacies: Defining: “I wish only to craft wonders in peace.”; Major: “I enjoy testing my art’s limits.”; Makeloans (Affection); Minor: The Fair Folk (Loathing)
  1133.  
  1134. Secrets: An ancient goddess, Ninegala holds faded memories of the Time Before — specifically, the divinity she served and his workshop in Heaven — though she’s forgotten more than most living gods recall. She retains a few relics from that era in her vaults, hidden in plain sight where none but she might recognize them.
  1135.  
  1136. Equipment: forge-mother’s hammer, ur-golem armor, quiver of boundless javelins, aerial chariot
  1137.  
  1138. Roleplaying Hints: Those seeking Ninegala’s impossible marvels must perform long, weird, and perilous quests — both to obtain rare crafting materials, and to discourage future petitioners. Characters might persuade her to lend her services without such quests if the desired artifact is sufficiently exotic and intriguing, or to ward off a potential threat to her or Makelo’s people. Should the characters destroy her — to loot her armory, perhaps, or claim Makelo and its forges for themselves — powerful beings across the West descend on her vaults. Some assume the characters have already claimed the cream of Ninegala’s arsenal and track them down. In addition, Ninegala retains a few connections in the spirit courts, such as the dragon Fakharu (Exalted, pp. 521- 523); these may aid her in retrieving stolen goods, or avenge her if she’s destroyed.
  1139.  
  1140. Attributes: Strength 7, Dexterity 5, Stamina 7; Charisma 4, Manipulation 2, Appearance 4; Perception 6, Intelligence 5, Wits 5
  1141. Essence: 5
  1142. Willpower: 8
  1143. Join Battle: 9 dice
  1144. Personal Motes: 100
  1145. Health Levels: −0/−1x7/−2x7/−4/Incap.
  1146. Abilities: Athletics 3, Awareness 4, Brawl 3, Bureaucracy 3, Craft (Armorsmithing) 7, Craft (Artifacts) 7, Craft (Weaponsmithing) 7, Dodge 3, Integrity 4, Linguistics (Old Realm) 3, Lore (Geology, Metallurgy) 4, Melee 5, Medicine (Treating Burns) 2, Occult (Fire Spirits) 3, Presence 3, Resistance (Heat and Flame) 6, Ride (Automata) 4, Socialize (Makeloans) 1, Thrown 5
  1147. Merits: Artifact (Boundless Javelin Quiver) 3, Artifact (Flying Bronze Chariot) 4, Artifact (Forge-Mother’s Hammer) 3, Artifact (Ur-Golem Armor) 3, Cult 4, Five-Thousand-Year Panoply (below), Language (Native: Old Realm; Seatongue) 1, Legendary Artisan (below), Scripture of the Forge (below)
  1148.  
  1149. Attack (Forge-mother’s hammer): 13 dice (Damage 19/4); Tags: Bashing. Melee, Smashing
  1150. Attack (Javelin): 13 dice at short range (Damage 16); Tags: Lethal, Melee, Piercing, Thrown (Short)
  1151. Combat: Soak 18, Hardness 10 (ur-golem armor: +11/10); Parry 6 (Melee); Evasion 2 (ur-golem armor −2); Rush 6 dice; Disengage 6 dice
  1152. Social: Resolve 5, Guile 2
  1153. Guardians: Numerous golems (Exalted, p. 500) protect Ninegala’s vaults, alongside various other automata and traps.
  1154.  
  1155. NEW MERITS
  1156. Five-Thousand-Year Panoply: Ninegala may find any simple, straightforward two- or three-dot artifact within her vaults. Once per story, if she requires an artifact with specific, esoteric powers, roll (Essence) dice against the artifact’s rating. Success reveals it in her vaults; failure reveals an artifact of similar function whose rating only equals her successes on the roll.
  1157.  
  1158. Legendary Artisan: Ninegala doesn’t track or gain crafting experience — if she must pay a crafting experience cost, she’s always able to meet it. She has ten major project slots and five superior project slots.
  1159.  
  1160. Scripture of the Forge: Students learning Craft from Ninegala halve training times. They gain +2 soak and Hardness against fire-based attacks and immunity to minor burns, extending afterward for a duration equal to the training time. Students who spend years training under Ninegala obtain fiery eyes and charcoal- dark skin, marking them as masters of the forge.
  1161.  
  1162. OFFENSIVE CHARMS
  1163. Smoldering Metal Offensive (10m, 1wp; Simple; One scene; Uniform; Essence 3): Superheat a weapon Ninegala wields, adding +4 to withering and decisive damage. A mundane weapon burns to ashes or melts to slag after this Charm ends.
  1164.  
  1165. DEFENSIVE CHARMS
  1166. Fire Knows the Forger (5m; Reflexive; Instant; Essence 3): Add (Essence) successes to resist a fire or heat-based environmental hazard and subtract that many dice from its damage. Against attacks from sources such as firewands or fiery dragonbreath, this Charm instead halves their damage.
  1167.  
  1168. Steel Knows the Shaper (5m, 2i; Reflexive; Until next turn; Essence 3): Gain +1 Defense against weapon- based attacks. If a character attacks Ninegala and misses, he’s automatically disarmed — the weapon flies from his hand lest it strike the forge-goddess. Unarmed attacks and improvised weapons are unaffected.
  1169.  
  1170. MISCELLANEOUS CHARMS
  1171. Forge-Mother’s Grace (1m+; Reflexive; Instant; Essence 4): Using an item she made herself, Ninegala adds bonus dice as with a Solar Excellency (Exalted, p. 255). Her maximum is based on the level of project used to create the item — Basic: +2, Major: +4, Superior: +6, Legendary: +8.
  1172.  
  1173. BOUNDLESS JAVELIN QUIVER (ARTIFACT •••)
  1174. An oblong case of teak and darkened bronze, inlaid with the First Age word “Plenty” in orichalcum and moonsilver, contains a dozen iron javelins.
  1175.  
  1176. EVOCATIONS OF THE BOUNDLESS JAVELIN QUIVER
  1177. Passive: The attuned quiver never runs out of javelins; new ones appear to replace the old.
  1178.  
  1179. Distant-Striking Dart (1m [+1wp]; Supplemental; Instant; Uniform; Essence 1): Attack a target at up to long range, using the same dice pool as shortranged javelin attacks. Spend one Willpower to attack at long range without an aim action.
  1180.  
  1181. Hammer-and-Anvil Genesis (25m, 1wp; Simple; One project; Stackable; Essence 5): Automatically succeed on the roll to complete a basic or major project. Superior and legendary projects instead double 7s, double extra successes received at each interval, and add five rolls to the terminus. This Charm can stack to benefit multiple projects.
  1182.  
  1183. Hurry Home (10m, 1wp; Simple; Instant; Essence 1): Ninegala fades away and vanishes on her next turn, returning to her sanctum.
  1184.  
  1185. Materialize (50m, 1wp; Simple; Instant; Essence 1): Ninegala appears in a wreath of flame.
  1186.  
  1187. Measure the Wind (5m; Simple; Instant; Essence 1): Ninegala can discern the nature of anyone handling her workmanship.
  1188.  
  1189. Spark of Inspiration (10m, 1wp; Simple; Instant; Eclipse; Essence 3): Target receives 10 silver craft points and 3 gold craft points. A character can only benefit from this Charm once per story.
  1190.  
  1191.                                                         ***********
  1192.  
  1193.    16. Isabet Maken - the Master of Cauldron Valley
  1194.  
  1195. Background: Born to a life of muck and toil among nomadic horse breeders, Isabet left a trail of human misery on her path to the Guild’s highest echelons. She apprenticed with some of the greatest merchant princes of the age: Alhomzira, the Indigo Queen; Lindyana Calaho, master of the qat trade; Nine Stars in Song, whose smuggling fleet they say outsails the Realm’s own biremes.
  1196.  
  1197. Despite her prestigious education, Isabet found herself stonewalled as a lesser Guild factor, disdainful of and unsuited to the empty pleasantries of politics. Only discovering Cauldron Valley, a lush jungle-demesne on the fringe of the River Province, and her own thaumaturgic talents saved her from a life of mediocrity. Nearing 60, Isabet has reforged herself into a master geomancer, using the Valley’s powers to produce unique slaves. Instead of earning a place on the Directorate, Isabet helped found a secret cabal (see The Gouged Eye Society, Conspiracy of Savants) to further her mastery of geomantic lore. Beyond this, her only concern is for her sons, Imri and Sabet; she would move the Imperial Mountain itself to secure their futures.
  1198.  
  1199. Image: Isabet is a handsome woman, broad and strongly built. Her graying hair is neatly managed; her coats are luxurious ermine, with room at the arms to swing an axe; her boots are elegant, but sturdy. She is vain, but never lets vanity overwhelm practicality.
  1200.  
  1201. Intimacies: Defining: My Sons (Love), The Gouged Eye Society (Stewardship); Major: Cauldron Valley (Ownership), Guild Directorate (Bitterness), “A good price is worth more than a bruised ego.”; Minor: “I cannot abide intrigue or flattery.”, “I don’t renege on my bargains.”
  1202.  
  1203. Secrets: Isabet — and her demesne — attract attention from power brokers to whom word of her geomantic trump card leaks, including fellow merchant princes, a raksha songstress, and an outcaste interested in studying the Valley as a sacred site from apocrypha and legend.
  1204.  
  1205. Equipment: Isabet wears quilted padding beneath her clothes. While rarely armed, she carries a variety of strange geomantic tools, a purse of silver dinars, and her personal Guild signet.
  1206.  
  1207. Roleplaying Hints: Isabet is single-minded, ruthless, and even cruel, but neither sadistic nor irrational. At heart, she is a businesswoman, always looking to come out ahead in any interaction. She endures taunting and even open insults, if the price is right — but with a stony face and a long memory. While she is a Guild slaver, she has no love for the Guild’s Directorate, and characters may convince her to act against them for the right offer. She prioritizes securing good marriages for her sons, and entertains almost any promising offer.
  1208.  
  1209. Attributes: Strength 2, Dexterity 3, Stamina 4; Charisma 4, Manipulation 2, Appearance 4; Perception 4, Intelligence 5, Wits 2
  1210. Essence: 1
  1211. Willpower: 8
  1212. Join Battle: 5 dice
  1213. Health Levels: −0x1/−1x2/−2x2/−4x1/Incap.
  1214. Abilities: Archery 2, Awareness 3, Bureaucracy 4, Integrity 5, Investigation 2, Larceny (Smuggling) 2, Linguistics 2, Lore 3, Melee 3, Occult (Geomancy) 4, Presence (Bargaining) 3, Resistance 2, Ride 3, Socialize (Spotting Trouble) 3, Survival 3
  1215. Merits: Backing (Guild) 3, Contacts (Smugglers and Slavers) 2, Demesne (Cauldron Valley) 4, Followers 2, Languages (Native: Riverspeak; Foresttongue, Guild Cant, Skytongue) 3, Resources 4, Thaumaturgist
  1216. Attack (Axe): 8 dice (Damage 11L); Tags: Lethal, Melee, Thrown (Short), Chopping
  1217. Attack (Unarmed): 7 dice (Damage 9B); Tags: Bashing, Brawl, Grappling, Natural
  1218. Attack (Grapple): 6 dice (5 to control)
  1219. Combat: Soak 7, Hardness 0 (quilted armor: +3); Parry 4 (Melee); Evasion 2; Rush 3 dice; Disengage 3 dice
  1220. Social: Guile 3, Resolve 4
  1221.  
  1222. Cauldron Valley
  1223. It normally takes weeks of exposure to Cauldron Valley’s mutagenic Essence to suffer permanent mutation: a thick layer of slimy mucus coating the skin, granting +1 Evasion but −1 Parry, and a need to soak in water regularly to avoid desiccation and illness. The demesne’s raw energy pools in vibrant wellsprings that dot the landscape, though, and anyone who falls into one without ritual preparation takes one level of bashing damage and emerges with random, often freakish and nonsensical amphibian features of the Storyteller’s choice. These mutations are gruesome but incomplete, fading at the end of the story.
  1224.  
  1225. New Thaumaturgic Ritual:
  1226. Quicken the Cauldron (••)
  1227. Isabet uses an array of silver rods to direct the Valley’s geomantic flows, forcing its energies to overflow. After eight hours of work, she may pay one Willpower and make a difficulty 2 (Perception + Occult) roll to complete the rite. Anyone partially or fully submerged in a metamorphic pool at the ritual’s culmination gains a number of dots’ worth of permanent amphibian mutations (Storyteller’s choice) equal to successes on this roll, and may reassign up to four of their Physical Attribute dots in any combination as long as no Attribute falls below 1 or exceeds the character’s natural maximum. A botch inflicts a Major Derangement and two levels of aggravated damage on the subject instead. The ritual’s difficulty increases cumulatively by one for each additional time it is invoked in a season, and a given character can only ever gain mutations this way once. Similar rituals exist to quicken other unstable demesnes.
  1228.  
  1229. Imri and Sabet, the Brothers Maken
  1230. Isabet’s sons are spoiled dandies in their late 20s, apathetic — or oblivious — to their mother’s ruthlessness; charming and gallant, but depthless and unmotivated. Both are handsome, trained in dueling, music, and manners by fine tutors. The pair often serve their mother as her envoys and honor guard.
  1231.  
  1232. Essence: 1; Willpower: 5; Join Battle: 6 dice
  1233. Health Levels: −0x1/−1x2/−2x2/−4x1/Incap.
  1234. Actions: Carousing: 10 dice; Feats of Strength: 5 dice; Musical Performance: 7 dice; Senses: 4 dice; Social Influence: 5 dice
  1235. Appearance 5, Guile 1, Resolve 3
  1236.  
  1237. Combat
  1238. Attack (Dueling saber): 9 dice (Damage 12);
  1239. Tags: Lethal, Melee, Balanced
  1240. Attack (Flame piece): 9 dice at close range (Damage 13); Tags: Lethal, Archery (Short), Flame, Mounted, One-Handed, Slow
  1241. Attack (Unarmed): 7 dice (Damage 10)
  1242. Attack (Grapple): 7 dice (6 to control)
  1243. Combat Movement: 6 dice
  1244. Evasion 2, Parry 4 (5 when defending family)
  1245. Soak/Hardness: 3/0
  1246.  
  1247. Paddagons
  1248. Hulking, rubbery creatures with rainbow-mottled skin and amphibian features, the paddagons are Isabet’s prize creations — strong, healthy, and uncommonly submissive. The mutation process binds together groups of paddagons in a codependent collective. They are popular with slaver caravans, and accompany Isabet as valets and bodyguards.
  1249.  
  1250. Battle groups of paddagons have Might 1.
  1251.  
  1252. Essence: 1; Willpower: 3; Join Battle: 4 dice
  1253. Health Levels: −0x1/−1x4/−2x4/−4x1/Incap.
  1254. Actions: Feats of Strength: 8 dice; Hard Labor: 9 dice; Leaping: 5 dice; Resist Disease/Poison: 11 dice; Senses: 3 dice; Swimming: 8 dice
  1255. Appearance 1, Resolve 1, Guile 1
  1256.  
  1257. Combat
  1258. Attack (Unarmed): 6 dice (Damage 15)
  1259. Attack (Grapple): 6 dice (8 to control)
  1260. Combat Movement: 5 dice
  1261. Evasion 2, Parry 1
  1262. Soak/Hardness: 7/0
  1263.  
  1264. MERITS
  1265. Amphibious: Paddagons breathe water and air equally well, and suffer no penalties underwater.
  1266.  
  1267. Eager to Obey: Paddagon battle groups have elite Drill for purposes of command rolls (but not Defense).
  1268.  
  1269.                                                         ***********
  1270.  
  1271.    17. Bosocu - Prodigal Son of the Swamps
  1272.  
  1273. Background: The Saints of Thuvaraiyam had high hopes for Bosocu. His birth drew cold-blooded guardians to his crib, the eldest Ghara Hags treated him like a son, and rumors claimed he was destined to end the Quagheads’ long exile. It was an unpleasant surprise to discover he’d run off one day with a minor chapter full of rabble.
  1274.  
  1275. Yet Bosocu is famed as a young folk hero across the wetlands, a true believer who wholeheartedly lives up to the gallantry the Crocodile Host proclaims, credited with an unseemly number of admirers for his age. To simply drag the boy back would alienate him and his tight-knit Blue Leg Chapter, so the Saints scramble for bribes and plots to herd him home. See The Quaghead Tribe of Thuvaraiyam for more information.
  1276.  
  1277. Image: A bright-eyed, barefoot teen, his wide grin missing several teeth. Grubby with swamp dirt but rich in confidence and boisterously handsome, Bosocu sweeps his dark hair back into a greased mound. Beast-tooth jewelry dangles from his neck and ears, matching the bite scars that crisscross his tattooed skin.
  1278.  
  1279. Intimacies: Defining: Chopper (Best Friend); Major: “The Quagheads are proud heroes of the wetlands!”; Minor: Thuvaraiyam (Grudging Fascination)
  1280.  
  1281. Equipment: An open-chested crocodile-skin jacket, a hooked machete that serves as weapon and nail file, and a small sack stuffed with wriggling swamp animals and tokens of affection from well-wishers at his last port of call.
  1282.  
  1283. Roleplaying Hints: Bosocu is brash, inquisitive, and eager to show off. He picks fights and apologizes for them with equal alacrity. He loves launching an ambush with a wild battle cry, but he’s not bloodthirsty; he always spares enemies who’ve done no harm to his family. Deep down, he worries his chapter made a mistake in following him, letting his rumored destiny overshadow his inexperience. He covers his worries with grins and boasts.
  1284.  
  1285. Attributes: Strength 2, Dexterity 4, Stamina 3; Charisma 4, Manipulation 1, Appearance 3; Perception 3, Intelligence 1, Wits 5
  1286. Essence: 1
  1287. Willpower: 6
  1288. Join Battle: 8 dice
  1289. Health Levels: −0x1/−1x2/−2x2/−4x1/ Incap.
  1290. Abilities: Athletics (Swimming) 3, Awareness 3, Brawl 2, Craft (Wood Carving) 1, Dodge 3, Integrity 2, Larceny 1, Melee (Mounted) 2, Occult 2, Performance 1, Presence 2, Resistance (Disease) 3, Ride (Chopper) 4, Sail (Shallows) 2, Stealth 3, Survival (Swamps, Animal Husbandry) 4, Thrown (Improvised) 2, War (Blue Leg Chapter) 1
  1291. Merits: Familiar (Chopper) 3, Followers (Blue Leg Chapter) 1, Legacy of Thuvaraiyam (below), Strong Lungs, Thaumaturgist (Snake Charmer’s Shabti 1, below; Unquenchable Flame, Exalted, p. 491)
  1292. Attack (Hooked machete): 8 dice, or 9 while mounted (Damage 11); Tags: Lethal, Melee, Chopping
  1293. Attack (Thrown Snake): 7 dice (difficulty 1 gambit); Tags: Lethal, Thrown (Short), Improvised. On success, the victim suffers a dose of snake venom (damage 2i/round, duration 3 rounds, −3 penalty).
  1294. Attack (Unarmed): 10 dice (Damage 9); Tags: Bashing, Brawl, Grappling, Natural
  1295. Attack (Grapple): 6 dice (4 to control)
  1296. Combat: Soak 6, Hardness 0 (crocodile hide jacket: +3); Evasion 4; Parry 3 (4 while mounted) (Melee); Rush 7 dice (8 while swimming); Disengage: 7 dice
  1297. Social: Guile 1, Resolve 4
  1298. Escort: Bosocu leads the Blue Leg Chapter of the Crocodile Host. As a battle group, they use traits for brigands (Exalted, p. 496) and have Size 1 and average Drill.
  1299.  
  1300. Familiar: Chopper is a river dragon (Exalted, p. 571) named for the old iron axehead lodged in his skull. In combat, he acts as a mount with a +1 Speed Bonus (+3 in the water) and his own Initiative. Chopper knows several latent abilities: Hold at Bay, Loyal Guardian, and Snarling Guardian Attack (Exalted, p. 562). Bosocu can attack enemies Chopper has grappled without a reaching weapon.
  1301.  
  1302. New Merit:
  1303. Legacy of Thuvaraiyam: Once per scene, when he successfully orders his chapter to attack, Bosocu gains 5 Initiative. If he orders them to rush an opponent, he may move with them when they reflexively follow that opponent.
  1304.  
  1305. New Thaumaturgic Ritual:
  1306. Snake Charmer’s Shabti (• or ••)
  1307. The sage sculpts or carves an animal shape, surrounding it with food offerings and spending one Willpower. If a mundane wild beast of this type is within five miles, her chanted prayers draw it to the totem. The scope of the rite encompasses animal types as broad as “tiger” or “snake,” or as specific as a particular species of that type. While the ritualist continues her mantra, the animal does not attack or leave unless provoked, and the difficulty to train it lowers by two, to a minimum of 1. Only one animal responds even if multiple eligible specimens are nearby.
  1308.  
  1309. With one dot, the ritualist must choose one animal type when she learns the ritual, and can only charm that type. The two-dot version allows her to choose a different type each time she uses the ritual.
  1310.  
  1311.                                                         ***********
  1312.  
  1313.    18. Quaghead Tribe - Saints of Thuvaraiyam
  1314.  
  1315. Background: Tattooed thugs and honor-bound heroes, shiftless anarchists and romantic wanderers — the Crocodile Knights are called many things across the wetlands up and down the Grey River, and “Quagheads” is among the more polite. They rove between villages on crocodile-drawn watercraft, unload illegal cargo and intriguing boasts at every stop, and adhere to an opaque charter of strict taboos. When the Empire’s jade counters call them smugglers, the Quagheads brag about the vital supplies and little luxuries they towed from dangerous ports. When the River Province decries their toll-keeping, the Crocodile Knights take care to escort fisher-rafts through treacherous waters. And when the wars of pious princes flood the Scavenger Lands with refugees, the Saints of Thuvaraiyam welcome them in with smiling jaws.
  1316.  
  1317. Each chapter of Quagheads wears this rugged mystique like armor, bound together by a secret history whose details are laid bare only to their inner circle. They are no mere vagabonds, they claim, but heirs to an ancient and noble legacy: Thuvaraiyam, the Land Lost to Law. Most Quagheads consider Thuvaraiyam a mythical ideal of their chivalric charter, passed down through rumors and drunken arguments, but it is quite real. An ancient dominion with a legal code so refined it carved itself on the face of nature, Thuvaraiyam ejected its own populace centuries ago, condemning them as criminals one and all. These banished children are the Saints of Thuvaraiyam, barred from their promised land by a canon lost to time. Now, the dominion’s sole living inhabitants are the Ghara Hags, a sorcerous coven who guide its descendants according to legalistic revelations. They puzzle over moss-strewn mosaics to glean secrets of old, and demand that aspiring chapter masters answer 54 questions of sacred jurisprudence. The Knights observe a motley reconstruction of a numinous charter, and respect no lesser law laid down by god or mortal.
  1318.  
  1319. Members: The Crocodile Knights divide into chapters, each with its own garish heraldry and winding, riverbound territory, answering to a regional Great Chapter led by a Saint. Entrusted with secluded bayou-shrines and the right to interpret Thuvarai law, the Saints lead yearly pilgrimages to the jungle temple where the Knights share business and rumor. This journey requires ritual precision, for the slightest misstep could violate an obscure convention and rouse the land’s elemental enforcers. Only the Ghara Hag shamans can soothe them, and those strange sorcerers seldom venture beyond the holy courthouse where they quiz and anoint each new Saint, except to dredge shattered crystal tablets from Thuvaraiyam’s sodden, haunted archives. Their large, sunken eyes are golden with black sclera, a trait the Knights’ oldest families commonly share.
  1320.  
  1321. The Knights recruit from runaways and renegades around the near East, but every chapter plasters its boats and bodies with bright heraldry, taking pride in intricate tattoos, styled hair, and articles of crocodile teeth or hide. It’s customary for Knights to trade swaggering stories of how they valiantly won these trophies — and some are even true. Quagheads ride flat-bottomed vessels shared by two or three boaters, who decorate hulls with painted grins and scales or gator-god figureheads. Boxy keelboats with fluttering pennants carry heavier cargo, and are recycled into lumber at journey’s end. Trained crocodiles can be spotted among these armadas, wearing collars and sunning on rafts, or drawing small canoes with distressing speed. Skilled Knights even harness and ride large crocodiles, amphibious terrors in weed-choked waters. For an example Quaghead adversary, see Bosocu, Prodigal Son of the Swamps. Seasoned Quagheads use the traits of grizzled brigands (Exalted, p. 497) with the Strong Lungs and Iron Stomach Merits.
  1322.  
  1323. Crocodiles are river dragons (Exalted, p. 571) with halved soak and Hardness, −4 damage (and minimum damage) on their bite attack, and no Legendary Size Merit. In the South, six-legged sand swimmers lurk beneath the dunes. They trade Night Vision for Earthsight (Exalted, p. 521), and use their Swimming pool and Merits to burrow instead. A crocodile large enough to ride only offers mounted combat benefits while swimming. Its Speed Bonus is +0 on land, +1 in water. A crocodile-drawn boat gains +1 Speed. When ramming, the crocodiles add one to the extra Hull damage inflicted by the Naval Maneuver total, devouring sailors who would normally clamber back aboard. A crocodile-vessel without a ram does not suffer this extra damage.
  1324.  
  1325. Secrets: Unbeknownst to the Knights’ northernmost chapter, one of the runaways they recruited recently is a Dynast who smuggled herself off the Blessed Isle to escape assassins and legal trouble. Those things are following her, though, even into the swampy wilderness, and soon anyone in the chapter’s orbit will be dragged into a petty Dynastic conflict.
  1326.  
  1327. Resources: Billhooks and chains are Quaghead signatures, the former for hacking through mangrove and uncooperative rivergoers, the latter for securing and boarding boats. Each chapter has its specialties — the Snakefangs use blowguns to silently claim bounties, and the southerly Sand Swimmer chapter buys support from chapter masters with frewands and waterproofed powder-pouches, prestige symbols that prove especially deadly in areas ripe with swamp gas. The Knights run smuggling rings, collect protection money, and provide violence-for-hire — all completely legal, according to their charter — but their most profitable resource is a grapevine of rumors that runs from one end of their territory to another. Chapters mingle for contests, festivals, and trade, spreading gossip like a rash. If it happened, chances are a crocodile-riding bandit can be found who’ll boast she did it herself.
  1328.  
  1329. New Gambit: Detonate (Difficulty 4)
  1330. A detonate gambit requires an attack with a firewand, burning arrow, or other fiery weapon against a volatile target like a gas pocket or firedust barrel. Success detonates it, creating a one-time environmental hazard out to short range (damage 4L/instant, difficulty 5).
  1331.  
  1332. Roleplaying Hints: Quagheads are boisterous and unruly, quick to sound off their chapter’s virtues; they’re the dread of conscientious peacekeepers throughout the East. Every stop is a chance to impress pretty people, offload dangerous junk, and generally take advantage of the fact that they’ll be gone tomorrow — why waste time with local niceties? The charter is all they need! For most, it’s all they have. Knights typically meet individual insults with thick skinned bluster, but repay those who besmirch chapter or charter with retribution that is disproportionate, enthusiastic, and (if the Knights have their way) legendary. A teahouse owner can toss an unruly Quaghead onto the street without incident, but one who bars the chapter may find his business demolished overnight. When bitten, the Crocodile Knights bite back harder. Successful chapter masters cultivate abettors in their regular haunts through bribery or intimidation, juggling respect, fear, and disdain with Knightly showmanship. A chapter that sparks a riot might turn it into an impromptu carnival, while one accused of foul crimes sweeps the swamps and returns with the true culprit — or an acceptable scapegoat.
  1333.  
  1334. The Thuvaraiyam charter’s shared clauses lay out exchange rates for repayment, rivergoing rights-of-way, and proper treatment of crocodiles. Chapter-specific clauses are more idiosyncratic but equally sacrosanct, which causes occasional friction. Disputes over one interpretation or another can be cause for a leadership challenge or turf war. River trials are a common outlet for these rivalries, for victory in a good clean (relatively, anyway) race is a reliable way to earn a chapter’s respect. The Bloody Regatta of Descending Wood is a sight to behold, sponsored and policed by the Fourfold Malison chapter. Vessels of all kinds race toward Great Forks down the Grey River, employing merciless tactics in pursuit of the grand prize.
  1335.  
  1336. Example Chapter: the Ruby Jaw Riders
  1337. Saint Saflonu, whose maimed lower face and crimson fang-pennants are known across the Hundred Kingdoms, leads the ruby Jaw riders, a great Chapter that roams into the evensong Line whenever Lookshy’s patrols relax. Lips painted with red amaranth, hair styled into crimson spikes, the Jaws traffic in narcotics and exotic entertainment, playing competing interests against each other to avoid outright war with the guild. its most notable bylaws are:
  1338. • eat no flesh from a hooved beast
  1339. • Kill no one who has yet to speak
  1340. • dancers shall receive full hospitality and conveyance
  1341.  
  1342. Zabbala, the Sentinel Fern
  1343. Found in long-forgotten swamplands and dank sewers, the wood elemental known as the zabbala grows anywhere warm, wet, and devoid of too many prying eyes. It looks like an enormous tree fern twice a human’s size, dangling heavy fronds lined with waxy, mud-brown leaves over its massive, hoary face to hide it until called upon to show itself. It can move, pulling up slimy root-legs from the muck, but prefers to plant itself in place and stand sentinel over some precious resource, whether it’s as mundane as clean water or as mystical as a lost demesne. Travelers earn access to its territory by performing tasks it sets that prove they possess an understanding of its age-old wetland wisdom and a healthy respect for nature.
  1344.  
  1345. The many zabbala that grow in and around Thuvaraiyam made ancient pacts with the original Ghara shamans there, swearing to stand guard and enforce the complex web of laws until the land itself perished in fre or famine. Not even the Hags know all those laws now, so dealing with the zabbala is a dicey prospect; but those who appease them gain access to Thuvarai secrets and tidbits of a lost history.
  1346.  
  1347. Essence: 4; Willpower: 6; Join Battle: 6 dice
  1348. Personal Motes: 90
  1349. Health Levels: −0x10/−1x2/−2x2/−4/Incap.
  1350. Actions: Ancient Lore: 6 dice; Feats of Strength: 5 dice; Pontificate: 7 dice; Read Intentions: 7 dice; Resist Disease/Poison: 10 dice; Senses: 6 dice; Thuvarai Law: 8 dice
  1351. Appearance 2, Resolve 5, Guile 2
  1352.  
  1353. COMBAT
  1354. Attack (Fronds): 9 dice (Damage 10)
  1355. Attack (Grapple): 9 dice (8 to control)
  1356. Combat Movement: 4 dice (Oppose Disengage: 10 dice)
  1357. Evasion 2, Parry 5
  1358. Soak/Hardness: 10/0
  1359.  
  1360. MERITS
  1361. Swamp Camouflage: The zabbala doubles 9s on Stealth rolls. While unmoving and hiding its face with its fronds, it doubles 7s and may hide in plain sight without penalty, pretending to be a simple plant.
  1362.  
  1363. Hide of Fronds: The zabbala’s −0 health levels represent the heavy fronds that shield its core bulk, and grant it equal soak. It heals these health levels (and regains lost soak) at a rate of one every minute as the fronds grow back, if it has sufficient water and at least a little sunlight.
  1364.  
  1365. OFFENSIVE CHARMS
  1366. Sentinel’s Frond Dance (5m, 2i; Simple; One scene; Essence 2): Whipping its heavy fronds out from its bulk, the zabbala may force any opponent at close or short range to successfully disengage before moving further away, and reduces the Initiative cost of any gambit that would prevent an opponent from reaching a destination within long range of it by one, to a minimum of one. This Charm ends if its last −0 health level fills with damage. Warden of the Lost Law (10m; Reflexive; Decisive-only; Instant; Essence 3): When rolling Join Battle against any enemy whose Intimacies or motives it has successfully learned via Read Intentions in the current scene, it may reflexively perform a disarm or grapple gambit against an enemy within close range who’s unaware of its presence before any character acts,waiving the gambit’s Initiative cost. This counts as its attack for the first round of combat.
  1367.  
  1368. DEFENSIVE CHARMS
  1369. Unbroken Root Endurance (4m, 1i; Reflexive; Until uprooted; Essence 2): The zabbala digs its roots into the terrain, gaining +5 soak. It cannot be thrown or dragged in a grapple, but can’t take movement actions without ending this Charm. If hit with an attack or effect that would forcibly move it, it may negate the movement for two Initiative per range band; if it doesn’t negate all the forced movement, it’s uprooted and this Charm ends.
  1370.  
  1371. MISCELLANEOUS CHARMS
  1372. Fern-Seed Blessing (6m, 1wp; Simple; Eclipse; Indefinite; Essence 3): Ordinary ferns don’t have seeds, but the zabbala can compress its Essence to spit out a seed that blesses anyone who possesses it with invisibility and magical protection as long as they’re within its territory; as soon as they leave, the seed loses its power and this Charm ends. The blessed gains double 7s on Stealth rolls when the opposition would use sight to detect them, and +2 to Defense, as long as they remain within the area the zabbala guards. They also gain double 7s to mundane Awareness, Investigation, or Survival rolls to navigate the area or find a particular resource, such as water, food, or treasure.
  1373.  
  1374.                                                         ***********
  1375.  
  1376.    19. Ixier - Who Dreams for the Dead
  1377.  
  1378. Background: Three years ago, on the edges of a ragged Wyld patch, a gluttonous raksha feasted upon the dreams of an entire village. By the time a band of Exalts arrived to put a stop to it, the people were already empty husks. To their deep sorrow, the champions put the villagers out of their misery. The Exalts turned their grief and rage on the Fair One and killed it, with its belly still full of its victims’ dreams.
  1379.  
  1380. Those dreams’ remnants leaked out along with the raksha’s blood, seeping into the soil of the village square. The heroes burned the creature’s body, buried the villagers, and departed for other adventures. Left alone at the center of the shadowland born from the villagers’ deaths, with the Wyld’s fingers creeping in like an infection, the alien blood and stolen dreams coalesced into something new. The entity that rose from the shadowland named itself Ixier, and declared its domain the dreams of the dying. It wanders the bordermarches, driven and haunted by the lost hopes of its victims and seeking to fulfill the wishes of those whose dead dreams gave it life.
  1381.  
  1382. Image: Ixier mimics the shapes of dreamers it’s fed upon. One moment it may be tall and hulking, the next, wispy and childlike. Only its eyes remain unchanged: black as oil slicks. Between forms, its victims’ faces and features surface and recede in a constant churn.
  1383.  
  1384. Intimacies: Defining: “The dreams of the dead live on in me.”; Major: “I will finish that which was left undone.”; Minor: The Raksha’s Murderers (Hatred)
  1385.  
  1386. Secrets: When pursuing one of its victims’ dreams or goals, Ixier sometimes forgets it’s not human. It adopts the victim’s form and mannerisms, seeking out people and places from the deceased’s past to fulfill her wishes or exact vengeance. Ixier has consumed several Exalts’ dreams. These give it insight into all kinds of secrets — such as the location of a forgotten manse, the password to enter a secret salon in the Imperial City, or the place where a lovelorn Sidereal hid her heart.
  1387.  
  1388. Equipment: Ixier bears weapons and armor it collects from its victims. These vary from the villagers’ common bows and hunting knives to the splendid regalia of a Prince of the Earth who died in Ixier’s domain.
  1389.  
  1390. Roleplaying Hints: To survive, Ixier has become like the raksha whose death created it, feeding on the dreams of the dying. Easterners view it as an unwelcome psychopomp. It seeks out battlefields and places where illness runs rampant — where the feasts are. In leaner times, it slips into smaller villages and settlements to sit beside the deathbeds of the infrm. Ixier is protective of the shadowland it hails from, tending to the houses and occasionally attempting to grow crops on the land — some of the villagers had simple dreams of home and prosperity, which it values as strongly as the dreams of a champion bent on adventure and glory. Characters who are gravely wounded (at −4 or Incapacitated, or suffering other injuries at the Storyteller’s discretion) attract Ixier’s attention. The creature responds favorably to offers to help it complete the tasks its victims never could.
  1391.  
  1392. The longer Ixier is left unchecked, the more formidable it becomes. To increase its threat, determine how many additional health levels it’s gained using Consume Dreams (below) in the current story so far, and what associated Ties it possesses, when it encounters the characters.
  1393.  
  1394. Attributes: Strength 3, Dexterity 3, Stamina 4; Charisma 2, Manipulation 4, Appearance 2; Perception 3, Intelligence 2, Wits 3
  1395. Essence: 3
  1396. Willpower: 8
  1397. Join Battle: 7 dice
  1398. Personal Motes: 30
  1399. Health Levels: −0x3/−1x4/−2x6/−4x2/Incap.
  1400.  
  1401. Abilities: Archery 2, Awareness (Sense Injury) 4, Brawl 4, Dodge 3, Integrity 2, Lore (Local) 3, Melee 2, Occult 2, Presence (Intimidation) 3, Resistance 2, Socialize 1, Stealth 3, Survival 1
  1402.  
  1403. Merits: Danger Sense, Direction Sense, Fleet of Foot, Malleable Shape (below)
  1404.  
  1405. Attack (Self bow): 9 dice at short range (Damage 10); Tags: Lethal, Archery (Long), Mounted
  1406. Attack (Spear): 7 dice (Damage 12); Tags: Lethal, Melee, Piercing, Reaching
  1407. Attack (Unarmed): 7 dice (Damage 10); Tags: Bashing, Brawl, Grappling, Natural
  1408. Attack (Grapple): 7 dice (7 to control)
  1409. Combat: Soak 4, Hardness 0; Parry 3 + weapon defense (Melee) or 4 (Brawl); Evasion 3; Rush 2 dice; Disengage 5 dice
  1410. Social: Guile 3, Resolve 3
  1411.  
  1412. An Eclectic Panopoly
  1413. Ixier collects its victims’ weapons and armor, and uses whichever best matches its current goals. storytellers may assign it other equipment that fits the story, and adjust combat traits accordingly. Ixier may even wield artifact weapons it’s claimed from exalted victims, and use their evocations.
  1414.  
  1415. New Merit: Malleable Shape
  1416. Ixier changes its shape at will, taking on the appearance of anyone whose dreams it has eaten.
  1417.  
  1418. DEFENSIVE CHARMS
  1419. Nightmare Torrent (10m; Reflexive; Instant; Essence 2): Ixier unleashes the horrors of the shadowland and its victims’ worst fears on its opponent. The target rolls a die and loses points of Initiative equal to the value it shows, which Ixier gains. If this crashes the target, she reflexively flees one range band from Ixier and forfeits her next reflexive move action.
  1420.  
  1421. MOBILITY CHARMS
  1422. Impending Death Scent (5m or 10m; Simple; Until Ixier reaches its destination; Eclipse; Essence 2): Ixier senses death approaching, and travels to meet it. It’s drawn unerringly to anyone within 50 miles who is soon to die, such as those in their final hours of an illness or old age, or bleeding out from wounds. It especially loves fresh battlefields, sick houses, and other such places. For the duration, Ixier travels at double its normal rate of speed to reach this location. For 10 motes, if mounted, it may double its mount’s speed instead.
  1423.  
  1424. MISCELLANEOUS CHARMS
  1425. Banquet of Daydreams (8m, 1wp; Supplemental; Instant; Essence 2): On a successful attack, Ixier feasts on its target’s dreams. A target with an Essence pool loses five motes (personal fest, for Exalts). Ixier gains a Minor Tie to the subject of any one of the target’s Ties (player’s choice). The victim loses the Tie until Ixier dies, or she convinces it to return the dream, which it can do as a miscellaneous action. Ixier gains a −2 health level for each Tie it collects this way. Once Ixier takes damage to one of these health levels or gives back the dream that provided it, that level vanishes permanently. Once such a health level vanishes, the dream is gone and cannot be returned. At the end of the current story, Ixier fully digests and absorbs any dreams it still holds, losing all but one of the health levels and Ties this Charm bestowed.
  1426.  
  1427. Hurry Home (10m, 1wp; Simple; Instant; Essence 2): Ixier fades away on its next turn, returning to the shadowland where it was born.
  1428.  
  1429.                                                         ***********
  1430.  
  1431.    20. Unrelenting Aton - the Last Mountain
  1432.  
  1433. Background: Millennia ago, Aton served the subterranean Siderite Court and brought stability to the western coast of the Dreaming Sea. He was happy, balancing Essence to prevent earthquakes. Then came the Usurpation. All around him, chaos erupted. Warring Exalted killed Aton’s many brothers, their bodies crumbling to dust and mud. Aton believed the world was about to end. He still does. Unrelenting Aton is stronger now, no longer the Siderite Court’s servant but a towering force in his own right. To the ancient elemental, the Solars’ defeat was just the first in a series of unending disasters that blend together; he doesn’t parse time the way humans do, and views the entire Second Age as a single apocalypse. Civil wars, decaying artifice, the hungry Fair Folk: Creation must be doomed. The Lawgivers’ reemergence has only increased his terror. But Aton is a survivor, and he intends to outlast the end of the world.
  1434.  
  1435. Driven by his elemental nature, Aton sated his paranoia by building a vast, fortified underground city: the Last Bastion (see Pillars of the Last Bastion, Cult of Aton). He filled it with thousands of mortal worshipers, believing their lives and prayers will sustain him through the apocalypse. Seeing death around every corner, he’ll stop at nothing to keep himself safe. The region’s security, his followers’ lives, Creation’s stability — it’s all meaningless compared to Aton’s survival. Aton has fewer enemies than he imagines. The Siderite Court wants him brought back into the fold unharmed. His above-ground servants carefully avoid attention, and even the deep gods whom the Last Bastion displaced remember the younger, more stable Aton who protected their homes millennia ago. The ancient elemental’s trauma makes him keep friends at arm’s length, refusing their assistance and their pity.
  1436.  
  1437. Image: Human-shaped — albeit jagged around the edges — Aton is made of rough, red stone, shot through with veins of metals and minerals. He’s easy to mistake for a pile of rocks if he lies still and closes his eyes, which open to glow the orange-red of molten iron. He’s over 60 feet tall at his full height, but it’s been centuries since he last stood up and stretched.
  1438.  
  1439. Intimacies: Defining: “I will survive at any cost.”; Major: The Exalted (Fear), “Stability staves off disaster.”; Minor: The Last Bastion (Protectiveness)
  1440.  
  1441. Secrets: Aton keeps meticulous records of every person, creature, and magic he believes could end the world. His personal library includes such secrets as the whereabouts of legendary artifacts and maps of the southeastern Fair Folk courts.
  1442.  
  1443. Roleplaying Hints: Aton always assumes the worst of others, and makes copious contingency plans assuming they’ll eventually betray him. He cannot remain allies for long with characters he can’t completely control, and would rather turn on them first than give them the chance to stab him in the back. He’ll sacrifice his own worshipers to keep himself safe, and he knows that sometimes the best defense is crushing people before they become his enemies.
  1444.  
  1445. Attributes: Strength 8, Dexterity 4, Stamina 6; Charisma 2, Manipulation 3, Appearance 3; Perception 4, Intelligence 4, Wits 3
  1446. Essence: 4
  1447. Willpower: 7
  1448. Join Battle: 8 dice
  1449. Personal Motes: 90
  1450. Health Levels: −0x4/−1x4/−2x5/−4x7/Incap.
  1451. Abilities: Athletics 3, Awareness 4, Brawl (In Enclosed Spaces) 5, Bureaucracy (Cults) 3, Integrity 4, Lore (Disasters) 4, Occult (Powerful Spirits) 3, Presence 3, Resistance 5, War (Cultists) 4
  1452. Merits: Cult 3, Legendary Size, Sturdy as Stone, Tremendous Reach
  1453. Attack (unarmed): 14 dice (15 in enclosed spaces) (Damage 20); Tags: Natural, Brawl, Smashing
  1454. Combat: Soak 18, Hardness 10 (natural); Parry 5 (Brawl); Evasion 2; Rush 7 dice; Disengage 4 dice
  1455.  
  1456. New Merit: Tremendous Reach Aton may make unarmed attacks at short range, and negates the advantages of mounted combatants unless their mounts possess Legendary Size.
  1457.  
  1458. OFFENSIVE CHARMS
  1459. Living Mountain Barrage (10m; Simple; Instant; Perilous, Withering-only; Essence 4): While touching the ground, Aton makes a withering attack against all opponents within short range, rolling once. Aton gains full Initiative only from the target who takes the most damage, +1 per additional damaged foe. Foes this attack crashes treat all earthen surfaces as difficult terrain until they’re no longer crashed.
  1460.  
  1461. Walking Earth Entombment (5m, 3i; Supplemental; Instant; Decisive-only; Essence 3): A successful grapple gambit against a single target encases the opponent’s limbs in stone or embeds them in the ground. The grapple continues without active maintenance; Aton takes no penalties, the grapple doesn’t end if he’s crashed, and attacking him doesn’t decrease rounds of control. Aton may use his turns to apply grapple effects of his choice, or take other actions while the stone automatically performs restrain actions.
  1462.  
  1463. DEFENSIVE CHARMS
  1464. Embrace of Earth Defense (5m, 2i; Reflexive; Instant; Perilous; Essence 3): Aton encases himself in earth and stone, doubling his Parry against an oncoming attack. The shell persists after the Charm’s effects end, leaving walls that act as cover. Aton must be in contact with the ground to use this Charm.
  1465.  
  1466. MISCELLANEOUS CHARMS
  1467. Blessing of Aton (20m; Simple; Instant; Eclipse; Essence 4): Aton blesses a willing supplicant with slow petrifaction. The recipient doubles her effective Strength and natural soak ratings as a Charm bonus. She gains the Exalted Healing Merit (Exalted, p. 165), but becomes resistant to treatment: Medicine pools targeting her can’t exceed the healer’s highest relevant stone-based Craft Ability, and healing Charms targeting her double their costs unless they have an earthen elemental nature. Each subsequent year, the recipient gains one −0 health level (maximum +10 levels).
  1468.  
  1469. Older recipients sleep, unmoving, for days on end. After 20 years, they turn entirely to stone, achieving an unsettling immortality: these statues still live, minds and souls permanently suspended. Powerful sorcery, another ancient elemental’s work, or potent Exalted magic could conceivably awaken one briefly — or even reverse the process.
  1470.  
  1471. Doomcryer’s Decree (15m; Simple; Instant; Decisive-only, Eclipse; Essence 3): Aton examines the portents surrounding his target and wields them like weapons. He may pull meteors or lightning from the sky, call up a great keening from the land, or other omens appropriate to the target. Roll 15 dice for a decisive attack on a target at up to long range. The attack has raw damage of (10 + extra successes), and imposes a −3 penalty on movement actions until the end of the round.
  1472.  
  1473.                                                         ***********
  1474.  
  1475.    20. Pillars of the Last Bastion - Cult of Aton
  1476.  
  1477. Background: Over the centuries, the Last Mountain (see Unrelenting Aton, the Last Mountain) has gathered a city of worshipers in his subterranean fortress. Those who share Aton’s belief that the end of days approaches live out their lives in the Last Bastion as Aton’s Pillars, devoting themselves to his survival and their lasting legacy.
  1478.  
  1479. To prepare their best defenses, the Pillars need artifacts, magic, surface resources, and all the information they can amass about the coming cataclysm. A select conclave of volunteers ventures to the surface every few months, armed with a purpose that ranges from general recruitment to the acquisition of some particular resource or secret. The cult has no desire to make itself widely known, but a scroll posted on the walls of a Prasadi city or a missionary speaking on a street corner in Palanquin rarely attracts attention. The people of the Dreaming Sea believe the Pillars of the Last Bastion to be just one of many tiny cults, unaware of the legion that lurks below the earth. A conclave aiming to steal, assassinate, or subvert first acts as preachers raving about the coming apocalypse, gathering information, and biding their time. A handful of mortal cultists, dismissed and ignored as foolish or delusional by the authorities, can advance all sorts of plans: bribing a farmer to redirect a share of fresh crops, locating and stealing a magical resource, or seducing or kidnapping a trained artisan to serve the city below.
  1480.  
  1481. Those caught simply play the part of the lone zealot, and take the secret of Aton’s true might to their grave. When a conclave encounters insurmountable opposition, they send for Aton’s Fists. Aton does not grant power lightly, but he arms and blesses a select few of his most devoted followers to serve as enforcers, battering rams, and occasional distractions. Each Fist expects to die young in service to his cause and to his friends and family below, and carries no marks of affiliation.
  1482.  
  1483. Members: The Pillars of the Last Bastion recruit throughout the Dreaming Sea, and as far north as Ember and Nexus. They target the weary, the wounded, and the dispossessed: those inclined to believe the cult’s apocalyptic message. Recruiters also haunt places of learning, promising community and a cause to bright young minds in search of purpose. More rarely, they target a powerful individual whom Aton deems worth a risk. Recruiters prefer to work slowly, allowing potentials to draw themselves into the cult’s web, but Aton hardly cares whether his followers have free will. When the Last Bastion’s numbers dwindle, he sends conclaves to acquire new worshipers at any cost, and forces loyalty with blackmail, threats, and torture. Though the imminent end of the world prompts few Pillars to start a family, a small number of cultists are born each year in the Last Bastion. Aton trusts such natives deeply, often tutoring them himself as personal servants, as those indoctrinated from birth are the least likely to pine for a life outside.
  1484.  
  1485. The Last Bastion has only a limited official hierarchy, composed of a few dozen officials who oversee food production and other resource management. The ambitious are more likely to seek power and prestige through the conclaves than through city service. The cult applauds Pillars who return from the surface with magic, contacts, or new recruits, celebrating them as holy heroes. Those who survive many conclaves, repeatedly risking death or capture for their prizes, become unofficial priests. Cultists believe their devotion and success grants them great spiritual wisdom. Since successful conclaves are often long-term affairs, taking months or years to complete, most of Aton’s priests are also the community’s elders.
  1486.  
  1487. Equally revered are Aton’s Fists, whom the Last Mountain elevates with his blessings. Turning slowly and inevitably into immovable stone, the Fists live like princes for the duration of their shortened lives, rewarded for their service with the finest surface-world luxuries money can buy. In exchange, Aton expects perfect loyalty, and a willingness to die for the Pillars without hesitation.
  1488.  
  1489. Secrets: Some heretics among the Pillars think the world can still be saved. Aton crushes such hopes wherever his Fists and other devotees find them, killing those he cannot convince. Still, he has never been able to completely destroy the idea that the Last Bastion and its resources might be better put toward staving off the end, rather than merely surviving it. Rumor holds that the hopeful include over a dozen members of successful conclaves, and at least three Fists. Aton would do much to learn the identities of his city’s apostates. In turn, they fervently wish someone would come along who can convince their god to abandon his nihilism and turn his power toward changing the world — or maybe even saving it.
  1490.  
  1491. Resources: The Last Bastion is a settlement of over 10,000 people, the majority of whom work tirelessly for the cause. The city is a mile underground, accessible through a handful of hidden, guarded tunnels that surface far from major settlements between Y’danna and Palanquin. Scavenged First Age devices keep the tunnels lit and provide for subsistence farming and manufacturing, supplemented by whatever the conclaves can send back. New recruits, who donate their life’s savings in exchange for Aton’s protection, pay for additional supplements and specialized goods to be purchased in secret from the surface. City guards carry quality weapons and armor, and every grown citizen can be armed and drafted into the Last Bastion’s army in times of emergency.
  1492.  
  1493. It is considered pious for citizens to own only the most basic and necessary personal belongings; Aton and his Fists are the only denizens of the city who own other property. Surrounding Aton’s inner sanctum is a tremendous library, full of not just books and scrolls but also rare reagents and carefully cataloged magical objects. A handful of scholar-cultists and thaumaturges assist him in studying these prizes, predicting exactly how and when the world will end, and what more they can do to survive it. Aton’s apocalypse library contains surprisingly detailed information on the Fair Folk, the horrors of the First Age, the rumored Abyssal Exalted, and myriad other strange threats. Roleplaying Hints: Conclaves are full of ambitious people, the city’s best and brightest. Most firmly adhere to Aton’s nihilistic views, but expect their actions will ensure either their survival or some lasting legacy. Others are simply eager for a chance to gain respect and power over others — their greed fuels their fervor. Fists tend to be fanatical; having sacrificed most of their lifespan to serve their god, most find it difficult to contemplate whether Aton’s dire predictions might be wrong. In the city itself, and sometimes among conclaves who spend years away from the Last Bastion, people are less certain. Aton has been proclaiming the end of days for centuries now, yet Creation survives. Heretical cultists seek to influence their god or steal his secrets, while priests fight over material power in their would-be dying city. Many citizens are simply frightened, desperate to live another day.
  1494.  
  1495. To all his followers, Aton is not a mere elemental, but a mighty god with no equal, worthy of fear and respect. They are disinclined to believe the Last Mountain could ever be bested or destroyed, even by other powerful beings, and are wary of outsiders promising hope and change.
  1496.  
  1497. Example Active Conclaves
  1498. A Dragon-Blooded warrior in Prasad has lost everything: her family, her lover, her honor. She would make a fine addition to the Last Bastion, if the Pillars can convince her to join. Two recruiters now work in the palace: one as a maid who whispers in the Exalt’s ear, the other as a messenger who controls what letters she receives. Outside the walled city, a handful of Aton’s Fists work to ensure her life continues on its downward spiral. Palanquin’s gateway intrigues Aton. He envies the heavenly gods safely hidden on the other side, away from the Fair Folk and Exalted. He sends a conclave of scholars to study it, and perhaps find a way to bring their patron to Yu-Shan, oblivious to the fact that the ancient realm of Zen-Mu lies beyond instead. One among their number is not as loyal to Aton as he claims to be.
  1499.  
  1500. Aton once extracted a promise from Tenepeshu, who lurks beneath the bay of Champoor: 1,000 mortals sent over 100 years to serve Tenepeshu in darkness beneath the waves, in exchange for an extraordinary First Age daiklaive. The final year approaches, and the conclave at Champoor seeks its last 10 victims and a safe means of transporting their patron’s prize back to the Last Bastion.
  1501.  
  1502. Marru Charrin
  1503. The eldest of Aton’s still-moving Fists, Marru is in her mid-50s, with stone skin pocked from battle. She received the Blessing of Aton long ago and has been a loyal Fist ever since, but rumor holds that her only daughter, now missing, is a heretic. Aton would usually kill a Fist over such allegations, but Marru is useful, popular, and old for one with his blessing. He hopes she will soon find her end in battle or petrify fully rather than having to die at his hands.
  1504.  
  1505. Essence: 1; Willpower: 8; Join Battle: 8 dice
  1506. Health Levels: −0x14/−1x4/−2x4/−4x2/Incap.
  1507. Note: Medicine pools targeting her can’t exceed the healer’s highest relevant stone-based Craft Ability, and healing Charms targeting her double their costs unless they have an earthen elemental nature.
  1508.  
  1509. Actions: Command: 7 dice; Feats of Strength: 12 dice (may attempt Strength 5 feats); Read Intentions: 6 dice; Resist Disease/Poison: 10 dice; Senses: 5 dice; Threaten: 8 dice
  1510. Appearance 3, Resolve 4, Guile 3
  1511.  
  1512. COMBAT
  1513. Attack (Stone Fists): 12 dice (Damage 12)
  1514. Attack (Sling): 8 dice at close range (Damage 11)
  1515. Combat Movement: 8 dice
  1516. Evasion 0, Parry 5
  1517. Soak/Hardness: 13/3
  1518.  
  1519. Merits
  1520. Exalted Healing (Exalted, p. 165)
  1521.  
  1522. Koru Mahktran
  1523. The mineral court has sent dozens of emissaries to Aton over the centuries, though none have yet convinced him to return home. The newest envoy, the young, non-binary vaktri Koru Mahktran, has earned a tentative place in the Last Mountain’s city by embracing some of his paranoia. They now walk a fine line between two masters, assisting Aton’s priests while assuring the mineral court they’re making progress in calming the rogue elemental.
  1524.  
  1525. Essence: 2; Willpower: 8; Join Battle: 6 dice
  1526. Personal Motes: 70
  1527. Health Levels: −0/−1x3/−2x5/−4/Incap.
  1528.  
  1529. Actions: Feats of Strength: 9 dice (may attempt Strength 5 feats); Navigate Underground: 6 dice; Read Intentions: 7 dice; Social Influence: 8 dice; Senses: 7 dice
  1530. Appearance 4, Resolve 4, Guile 6
  1531.  
  1532. Koru is an average vaktri in most other respects (Exalted, p. 520). They serve both Aton and an Essence 6 lesser elemental dragon for the purposes of Faceless Envoy Proclamation, depending on the situation. To better survive in their position, Koru learned to suppress their instinctual activation of Many-Faceted Radiance for a cost of 1 Willpower.
  1533.  
  1534.                                                         ***********
  1535.  
  1536.    21. The Prince Resplendent in the Ruin of Ages
  1537.  
  1538. Background: The oil lamp flickered, sending shadows racing across the dusty burial chamber. The Prince Resplendent frowned and dipped his brush into the inkstone. He wrote: “As cherry blossoms fall upon the river / And are swept downstream to the sea / So do all relics of ancient days / Flow to the vaults of fallen Thorns / Seek ye there the treasures of your past.” The Prince smiled. A shame he wouldn’t be here to see their faces, but better to begone with the tomb’s orichalcum panoply before its rightful owners arrived.
  1539.  
  1540. Image: Thin, sallow, and balding, the Prince Resplendent can’t quite shed the air of the shopkeep and scavenger he once was. In public, he favors wealthy garb or artifact armor complete with mask or helm, and affects a cultured tone — though surprise causes him to slip back into the lower-class accent of his youth. In private, he favors well-worn, practical garments.
  1541.  
  1542. Intimacies: Defining: “I’ll turn a profit on every task.”; Major: “I take pleasure in mocking my adversaries.”; “None shall witness my fears.”; The Mask of Winters (Fearful Admiration); Minor: Salt Star (Approval)
  1543.  
  1544. Secrets: The Prince Resplendent hoards silver, jade, and artifacts, secretly withholding from his patrons a fraction of every haul. He maintains trapped, undead-guarded caches across the River Province, and he’ll come after anyone who dares loot one.
  1545.  
  1546. Equipment: Soulsteel articulated plate set with a hearthstone, soulsteel storm hatchets, ciphered journal, map of a First Age ruin.
  1547.  
  1548. Roleplaying Hints: Having dwelt in penury before becoming a scavenger lord, the Prince Resplendent places inordinate value on wealth. He raids tombs and steals artifacts — whether to serve his mentor the Mask of Winters, or hired by other patrons such as the Walker in Darkness, Nexus’ Council of Entities, or House Ragara. He circumvents combat via bluster and bribery; failing that, he flees to sites full of traps and minions. Cornered, he offers up treasure caches or his master’s secrets. Slaying him draws the Mask’s wrath.
  1549.  
  1550. Caste: Daybreak
  1551. Attributes: Strength 2, Dexterity 4, Stamina 3; Charisma 2, Manipulation 4, Appearance 2; Perception 4, Intelligence 3, Wits 4
  1552. Essence: 2
  1553. Willpower: 6
  1554. Join Battle: 8 dice
  1555. Personal Motes: 16
  1556. Peripheral Motes: 20/31 (5 committed to Bonesplit and Bloodspill, 6 committed to Atarat)
  1557. Health Levels: −0/−1x3/−2x4/−4/Incap.
  1558. Abilities: Athletics 2, Awareness 4, Bureaucracy 3, Craft (Traps) 4, Dodge (Traps) 4, Investigation 4, Larceny (Lockpicking) 2, Linguistics 2, Lore (Ancient Ruins) 4, Melee 3, Occult (Undead) 4, Resistance 2, Ride 1, Socialize (Business) 2, Stealth 3, Survival 2, Thrown 2
  1559. Merits: Artifact (Bonesplit/Bloodspill) 3, Artifact (Atarat) 3, Backing (Thorns) 4, Contacts (Scavenger Lords) 3, Hearthstone (Stone of the Vanisher) 2, Language (Native: Riverspeak; Old Realm, Guild Cant, various Scavenger Lands local tongues) 3, Mentor (Mask of Winters) 3, Resources 3, Retainers (Salt Star) 4
  1560. Attack (Bonesplit and Bloodspill): 12 dice (Damage 12/3); Tags: Lethal, Melee, Thrown (Short), Chopping
  1561. Combat: Soak 14, Hardness 10 (Atarat, +11); Parry 3 (Melee); Evasion 2 (armor penalty −2); Rush 6 dice; Disengage 8 dice
  1562. Social: Resolve 3, Guile 3
  1563.  
  1564. Escort: The Prince Resplendent is usually accompanied by his obsequious nemissary apprentice, Salt Star; use honored ancestor traits from Exalted, p. 504, and add the Nemissary’s Ride Charm on p. 508. The Prince also leads a Size 1 battle group of zombies (Exalted, p. 502) with poor Drill and Might 1.
  1565.  
  1566. Bonesplit and Bloodspill, Soulsteel Storm Hatchets (Artifact •••)
  1567. These newly forged artifact hatchets are young and hungry, their greater powers yet to be unlocked.
  1568. Evocations of Bonesplit and Bloodspill
  1569. Passive: +1 to decisive attack rolls against living creatures who have suffered damage to their –2 health levels.
  1570.  
  1571. Atarat, the Necromancer’s Bastion,
  1572. Soulsteel Articulated Plate (Artifact •••)
  1573. This massive suit of armor, inlaid with apotropaic First Age glyphs of black jade, dates back to the Rotting Lotus Rebellion.
  1574. Evocations of Atarat
  1575. Passive: Attacks from dematerialized spirits that would bypass the Prince’s armored soak or Hardness cost an additional three motes each, even if they ordinarily have no cost.
  1576.  
  1577. Hearthstone: Stone of the Vanisher
  1578. Keywords: None
  1579. On any roll to investigate, track, or contest the Prince’s efforts to go to ground, change the value of the highest successful non-10 die to a 1.
  1580.  
  1581. OFFENSIVE CHARMS
  1582. Corpus-Rending Blow (1m; Supplemental; Instant; Uniform): Allows an attack using any Ability to strike an immaterial spirit.
  1583.  
  1584. Savage Shade Style (2m; Supplemental; Instant; Dual): Against a crashed opponent, double threshold successes on a withering attack or double 10s on a decisive damage roll.
  1585.  
  1586. DEFENSIVE CHARMS
  1587. Elegant Flowing Deflection (2m; Reflexive; Instant): Negate all Parry penalties against a single attack. Successful defense reduces attacker’s Initiative by one.
  1588.  
  1589. MOBILITY CHARMS
  1590. Spider Pounce Technique (2m; Supplemental; Instant): Leap one range band horizontally or vertically; counts as the turn’s movement action. Reduce cost to 1m if used on previous turn.
  1591.  
  1592. MISCELLANEOUS CHARMS
  1593. Contraption of Bone and Sinew (5m; Simple; Instant): Any corpse can be fashioned into a trap (Exalted, p. 232) — a snare made from viscera, a ribcage bear-trap, a femur sharpened into a scything blade. Once per scene, the Prince may reveal that an enemy has fallen prey to one he’s previously set. This creates a one-time environmental hazard, difficulty 3. An injurious trap deals 3L damage; escaping a snare requires a Strength 3+, difficulty 4 feat of strength. This Charm resets when an opponent botches a roll on any physical action.
  1594.  
  1595. Cunning Scrutiny Style (5m; Simple; Instant): Complete a case scene action in a few seconds, adding (Essence) automatic successes and doubling 9s.
  1596.  
  1597. Fivefold Sensory Exercise (5m; Reflexive; One scene): Double 9s on Awareness rolls. Spirit-Detecting Glance (3m; Reflexive; One scene): See immaterial spirits.
  1598.  
  1599. Necromancy
  1600. Shaping Ritual: When the Prince begins a scene in a place marked by death — the Underworld, a shadowland, a graveyard or battlefeld, the site of a recent murder — he gains three sorcerous motes that last until end of scene.
  1601.  
  1602. SPELLS
  1603. The Face of Bone (5sm, 1wp; One scene): See, hear, and speak at any distance through a prepared skull of at least human size, which glows with cold blue glyphs and hovers in midair, turning as desired. Influence and perception through the skull can’t use Charms. Can’t sense or take actions with own body while spell remains active. Taking damage or destroying the skull ends the spell.
  1604.  
  1605. Raise the Rotting Horde (Control) (15sm, 1wp; Indefinite): Animate corpses as zombies, up to a size 2 battle group with poor Drill and Might 1. Zombies remain animated indefinitely unless exposed to sunlight for a full scene. As a control effect, the battle group has average Drill instead, or elite Drill by spending a Willpower while casting.
  1606.  
  1607. Summon the Shadow-Eaten (Ritual, 2wp; Instant): Summon an Essence 1-3 mortwight (Exalted, p. 505) or other monstrous ghost in a night-long ritual, rolling (Intelligence + Occult) against its Resolve to bind it for a year and a night. If this fails, roll (Wits + Occult) against its Willpower to banish it.
  1608.  
  1609.                                                         ***********
  1610.  
  1611.    21. Gleaming Gneiss - Ambitious Sorcerer
  1612.  
  1613. Background: Young Gleaming Gneiss dreamed of ancient wonders far beneath her snowy home in the city-state of Eaves. For years, the dreams taunted her; what felt so real as she slept dissolved on waking. Feathersteel mine tunnels resembled those of her dreamscapes, but never led to the ruins she was certain hid within. Finally, when yet another search failed after years of frustrated exploration, Gneiss gave in to her rage and despair. Stone crumbled as she struck the walls in thoughtless fury; the power of Pasiap burst from her like a landslide. When the dust cleared, the wreckage revealed a timeworn passageway. At tunnel’s end lay a forgotten settlement’s ruins, just as they’d appeared in her dreams. She found Glacier’s Edge — a machine made in humanity’s image and brought to life by sorcerous power — partially buried in the rubble. To Gneiss’ shock, it whirred to life and spoke, offering her a deal: It would teach her sorcery, and she’d repair it and set it free.
  1614.  
  1615. Upon returning home, Gneiss dreamed herself claiming a seat among Eaves’ ruling Ministers as first among not-quite-equals. Since then, she’s set her sights on making it come true. Her proposed plans outstrip the current ministers’ in urban progress and expanding mining into ruins farther afield, garnering her a small but devoted following among Eaves’ treasure hunters and merchants — and enemies among its politicians.
  1616.  
  1617. Image: Gleaming Gneiss is a solid, imposing woman in her early 20s. Layers of thick fur insulate her against her homeland’s biting cold. Indoors, she prefers sturdy wool and leather work clothes. Auburn and blonde streaks run through her dark hair, reminiscent of the stone after which she’s named; calculating curiosity often lights her bright blue eyes.
  1618.  
  1619. Intimacies: Defning: “Power is knowledge.”; Major: The Ministers of Eaves (Contempt), Sorcery (Obsession), Glacier’s Edge (Curiosity); Minor: Eaves (Affection)
  1620.  
  1621. Secrets: Completely restoring Glacier’s Edge to its original functionality requires hard-to-procure materials and knowledge beyond Gneiss’ current ken. She visits her mentor-machine in the ruins often to learn from it and study its composition. She pays handsomely for occult tomes and bespoke parts whose use she refuses to reveal, then secrets them away in the ruins, whose entrance she hides from mortal eyes.
  1622.  
  1623. Gneiss’ determination to follow her prophetic dreams enticed the god Owl from Out of the East, who watches over ambitious people chasing their desires. Her sudden surge of concentrated ambition upon returning home intrigues him. The ruins contain many more ancient wonders than one sorcerous machine, and splitting her time between political maneuvering, studying sorcery, and hunting down supplies and lore means Gneiss hasn’t had time to fully investigate or inventory most of it yet.
  1624.  
  1625. Equipment: Gleaming Gneiss is rarely without her thick leathers, furs, a steel breastplate, mining tools, and a wrackstaff. She carries arcane devices, strange gemstones, rare metals, and other materials that might help her repair Glacier’s Edge.
  1626.  
  1627. Roleplaying Hints: Gleaming Gneiss speaks directly, without flair. She’s ambitious, boldly pursuing opportunities to advance her plans for Eaves’ future. Gneiss considers every angle when dealing with others. She bargains most willingly with those who are up front about what they want and why.
  1628.  
  1629. Aspect: Earth
  1630. Attributes: Strength 3, Dexterity 3, Stamina 4; Charisma 1, Manipulation 3, Appearance 4; Perception 2, Intelligence 5, Wits 2
  1631. Essence: 2
  1632. Willpower: 6
  1633. Join Battle: 7 dice
  1634. Personal Motes: 13
  1635. Peripheral Motes: 31
  1636. Health Levels: –0/–1x2/–2x2/–4x4/Incap.
  1637. Abilities: Athletics 2, Awareness 5, Brawl 3, Craft (Artifacts, Metalsmithing) 4, Integrity 4, Linguistics (Translation) 2, Lore (Northern Ruins, Sorcerous Workings) 5, Melee 3, Occult 5, Presence (Threaten) 3, Resistance (Cold) 2, Socialize 3
  1638. Merits: Boundless Endurance, Language (Native: Skytongue; Local Tongues (Northern tribes), Old Realm, Riverspeak) 3, Resources 1
  1639. Attack (Unarmed): 6 dice (Damage 6)
  1640. Attack (Wrackstaff): 9 dice (Damage 15); Tags: Bashing, Melee, Reaching
  1641. Combat: Soak 9 (medium armor +5); Hardness 0; Parry 2 (Melee); Evasion 1; Rush 4 dice; Disengage 4 dice
  1642. Social: Guile 2, Resolve 3
  1643.  
  1644. OFFENSIVE CHARMS
  1645. Crimson Fang Bite (3m, 1wp; Supplemental; Instant; Fire, Dual): +3 damage to a withering Melee attack, or double three 10s on a decisive Melee damage roll.
  1646.  
  1647. DEFENSIVE CHARMS
  1648. Impervious Skin of Stone (4m; Reflexive; Instant; Earth, Balanced, Withering-only): Double Stamina to determine natural soak against a withering attack. In Earth Aura, can be used after an attack hits but before damage is rolled.
  1649.  
  1650. Five Winds Raiment (3m,1a; Supplemental; Until spell is cast; Air): Gain +1 Defense and +2 Hardness until she casts the supplemented spell or stops shaping. In Air Aura, doesn’t count as a Charm bonus and added Hardness is +3 instead.
  1651.  
  1652. SOCIAL CHARMS
  1653. Heart-Hardening Meditation (6m; Reflexive; One scene; Earth): Gain +2 Resolve against inspire actions and any influence that leverages an inspired emotion, or a Tie based on passions. In Earth Aura, doesn’t count as a Charm bonus.
  1654. Burning Dragon Mien (4m; Simple; Instant; Fire): Roll a threaten action against one target with double 9s. If successful, target also loses 1i even if they resist the influence.
  1655.  
  1656. MISCELLANEOUS CHARMS
  1657. Hidden Secrets Whisper (1m per die; Supplemental; Instant; Air, Balanced, Excellency): + 1 die per mote spent to an Occult roll. Each 10 rerolls one non-1 failure.
  1658.  
  1659. SORCERY
  1660. Shaping Rituals: Gleaming Gneiss carries a piece of Glacier’s Edge with her, a metal part full of gears and switches. She rearranges their configuration while meditating on a target’s likely courses of action. Roll Intelligence + Socialize, difficulty (5 – target’s Guile). Gneiss gains sorcerous motes equal to her threshold successes + Essence, which last for the scene.
  1661.  
  1662. Glacier’s Touch: (12sm, 1wp; Decisive-only; 5 turns): The air within medium range becomes a heavy mist, choking all who breathe it: a difficulty 3 environmental hazard with damage 3L/round. Characters with supernatural resistance to cold are immune. A character who suffers damage to their –4 health levels from this spell freezes, transforming into a living ice statue. At the end of their next turn, the victim’s hands and feet turn to ice, imposing −3 to all physical actions. The turn after that, their arms and legs freeze solid, imposing −5 to all physical actions and making move actions impossible. By the end of the third turn, only an ice sculpture remains.
  1663.  
  1664. Charms like Wound-Accepting Technique (Exalted, p. 332) that infuse someone directly with life energy or vital Essence can slow the effect, making it run its course over days instead. The effect may be undone (Exalted, p. 466) with an Ambition 3 sorcerous working.
  1665.  
  1666. Distortion (Goal Number: 7): Distorting this spell lessens the cold’s bite, converting the environmental hazard’s damage to bashing. Characters whose −4 health levels the spell damages don’t become ice statues, but suffer –4 to all physical actions until scene’s end.
  1667.  
  1668. Invulnerable Skin of Bronze
  1669.  
  1670. Silent Words of Dreams and Nightmares (Control)
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