Exalted Versus World of Darkness
|Exalted versus World of Darkness|
|Role-playing game published by
|Rule System||Storyteller System|
|Essential Books||Exalted Versus World of Darkness, Exalted Versus World of Darkness Companion|
Exalted Versus World of Darkness is a fan supplement written by ex-White Wolf game designer Holden Shearer primarily to answer a niggling question many a fan has asked ever since Exalted came out: What would happen if you bring the Noblebright Exalted into the dark, gritty, and dying setting of the World of Darkness, a place where the bad guys have essentially already won?
The answer is Awesome. All sorts of crazy awesome.
For something remarkably similar in concept for the New World of Darkness, please look at Princess: The Hopeful.
- 1 The Fork in the Road
- 2 Here's Your Shovel
- 3 Essence
- 4 Home, Sweet Home: The Dragon Nests
- 5 Those Returned Chosen
- 6 Equivalency: Exalted Power Levels and other Supernaturals
- 7 Among the Night People
- 8 Resources
The Fork in the Road
Shearer takes the old-and-discarded hook given in Hunter: The Reckoning that the World of Darkness is the same as Creation from Exalted, just aged really really badly and was ground down by the Wheel of Ages. Some sort of epochal apocalypse had occured thousand of years before, which caused the Celestial, Infernal, and Abyssal Exaltations to be sealed. Since then, the Terrestrials have kept their heads low, tried to shepherd their bloodlines, and keep out of the way of all the other supernaturals when they can help it.
Then sometime in 1999 magical nukes get dropped on Bangladesh, and the Dragon-Blooded families suddenly had a lot to discuss.
In the main metaplot, one of the major consequences of this massive supernatural clusterfuck involving an Antediluvian, a trio of hungry dead Bodhisattva, a few Garou war packs, and the Technocracy was the creation of the the Imbued, essentially the Ebon Dragon and Scarlet Empress using watered down Exaltations in an effort to stem the dark tide of supernatural nastiness threatening to drown the Mortal realm.
Here? What happens instead is the heads of five families have a marathon nine-month conference in Tibet, and finally realizing they were now staring the End of Days in the face, decide to break open the Black Vault (aka Jade Prison 2.0), which held within it the legacies of the Age of Legends, both good and ill.
With the Vault's seals removed, the long-held Celestial exaltations burst forth, seeking worthy bearers of the powers they represented... And yet along with them, the Abyssal exaltations sought their own hosts in this new and darker age. Far below the Ten Thousand Hells, sensing the return of their ancient enemies, the Infernal exaltations burst forth from their forgotten prison (alarming the Yama Kings when this happens, as they had no idea the prison was underneath there demesnes this whole time). Out in the Deep Universe, the defense mechanisms of the barely-awake Autochthon detect the power of the Celestian exaltations return, and set into motion the re-awakening of its own champions...
And finally, with the return of these reborn heroes, the Dragon-Blooded clans still remaining have to now contend with a world where they can simply stand by and do nothing.
Here's Your Shovel
Congratulations! The Exalted have returned... Except to a world where the badguys outnumber them at least five hundred to one, the Exalts have NO idea what they really are besides some vague dreams related to their past lives, they have no support structures to catch them in case things go pear-shaped, and there's not a lot of Essence around anymore to fuel their superpowers. And yet even then, the Exalted might just be enough to prevent the incoming Apocalypses... At the same time.
The fanbooks use a V20 baseline for the rules, with some aspects cherry-picked from specific rulebooks like V20 Dark Ages. Otherwise, they have a few Exalted-specific rules:
- Castes and Aspects: Exalted have Abilities that "belong" to their Caste/Aspect, and in rolls involving these 1s don't subtract successes. This is the same for Lunar Exalted and their Attributes.
- Parrying: An Exalted may parry ranged attacks up to including bullets. They cannot block these however, unless they have some way to make their skin steel.
- Soak: Exalted may roll Stamina (plus any Armor they're wearing) to soak bashing, lethal, and aggravated damage at difficulty 6.
- Poison and Disease: All rolls to resist, soak, or recover from poisons are reduced by 2. Non-supernatural diseases may weaken, but no longer kill, Exalted, and each successive difficulty roll to recover from a disease is reduced by 1. Otherwise incurable diseases are automatically purged from the Exalted's system after (8 minus Stamina) weeks.
- Health and Healing: Exalted heal much MUCH faster, seemingly like slow regeneration, and never heal badly. Exalted will never suffer crippling injuries from anything less than full amputation, even from affects like Vicissitude.
- Supernatural Resilience: Exalted are never considered merely human for purposes of any supernatural power that has less effect on supernatural targets. Anything that would normally kill a human outright for example, will just knock out an Exalt for a few hours.
- Stunting: An Exalted is never penalized for doing something in the flashiest yet dumbest way possible. Go wild!
- Intimacy: An Exalted will have something or someone that they feel strongly about, whether a loved one, a place, or an enemy that they really just want to sqash flat. If an Intimacy ceases to be relevant, they can change it at any time judged by the Storyteller (usually in between major turning points). An Exalt may make a Willpower roll vs difficulty 8 if they are forced to act against, abandon, or betray an Intimacy (like while under magical compulsion). Once a session, when an Exalt strongly affirms one of their Intimacies, they may regain a Willpower point on the spot.
- Essence: The spark of the divine in each of the Exalts, this is what is used for their superpowered feats. Each Exalt will have an Essence Rating (which measures how in-tune they are with their divine powers and how much they can use at a time), and Essence Pool (how much Essence they can store at a time). Essence renews itself at a set time of day depending on the type of Exalt, but there are also other ways of regaining Essence.
- Charms: The miracles that Essence fuels. Exalted need not purchase dots in these in an ascending order, unlike other supernaturals.
- Anima Powers: Each Exalted Caste and Aspect has a unique supernatural benefit that can only be used by that Caste or Aspect. Some of these require using Essence, while some of them are permanent.
- Anima Banner: An Exalt's spiritual mantle, normally not visible to the naked eye, but becomes like a blazingly bright Super-Saiyan esque battle aura once the spend 3 or more Essence in a single scene. This fades away a few minutes after the Exalt stops actively spending essence.
- Caste Marks: An Exalted are marked by symbols of their ancient and long-forgotten patrons. With a bit of concentration, this symbol blazes on their forehead in a very obvious and supernatrual manner. This also appears involuntarily when an Exalt's anima banner does, glowing even through whatever they're wearing on their head.
- Ancient Sorcery: Exalts of a sorcerous bent like Sidereals can cast the truly worldshaking spells of the Age of Legends... If only they can find a way to learn them of course.
- Martial Arts: The supernatural fighting styles used by the Exalted in the Age of Legends have long faded from memory, and many Dragon-blooded families have to make due with more recent, if equally deadly combat arts like the Qiao of the Shih Demonhunters. Any Terrestrial (or a Celestial with a willing Terrestrial master) may be trained to use the Qiao to defend themselves.
Finally, a few more things that need to be considered when Exalts run into the other nasties that go bump in the night in the World of Darkness:
- Exalts default to Willpower when forced to roll against a trait that the Exalt does not have.
- When affected by spells or other effects that have lesser effects against, say, a fellow vampire or werewolf, Exalts are also least affected.
- When faced with something that has an absolute effect that an Exalted has a power to counter, the Exalted's power wins. When the two Exalts throw "absolute" effects at each other, the most "defensive" one wins; otherwise it's whoever wins a contested Willpower roll.
- If an effect depends on how powerful the target is, it effects the Exalted depending on how powerful they are as well. Rule of thumb is that Solars and Abyssals are much more powerful than Lunars and Sidereals, who are then more powerful than Terrestrials and Alchemicals.
- Exalted can use magic items of Mages etc, but spend Essence instead. Exalted obviously are not subject to Paradox.
The building blocks of the universe, and the fuel of the Exalted's superhuman skills, ambient Essence is a rare resource these days in the worn-out World of Darkness. Barring very specific circumstances (listed below), the Chosen can no longer draw Essence directly from the environment, and instead rely on the Essence that gets internally renewed within them daily.
Solars, Infernals, Dragon-Blooded, and Alchemicals regain 5 plus their Essence rating at sunrise (regardless on whether or not they see the sun itself). Abyssals, Sidereals, and Lunars on the otherhand, regain the same amount of Essence at sunset.
The other ways of regaining Essence are as follows:
- Each Caste and Aspect have unique ways of quickly Essence for a scene (detailed in their individual entries). If they meet the conditions, they instantly gain 3 points of Essence.
- Resting within a Dragon Nest for 15 minutes restores 1 point of Essence.
- Solars, Lunars, Sidereals, and Dragon-Blooded regain 1 point of Essence for every three hours spent in the Spirit World.
- Abyssals regain 1 point of Essence for every three hours spent in the Underworld.
Traveling to these Realms require specific Charms of course, but these are readily (and in some cases, instinctively) available for learning.
Home, Sweet Home: The Dragon Nests
Many of the Dragon-blooded clans have situated themselves over nexuses of natural power where the welspring of Creation still manages to seep through. The Garou call these places Caerns, while Mages name these Nodes, but for the Terrestrials these will always be the Dragon Nests, a term that is shared by the shen of Asia.
Any Dragon-blooded family worth their name will have at least one or two Dragon Nests among their holdings. Normally located in isolated and forlorn locales, these are nonetheless also some of the most obfuscated and protected of Dragon-Blooded strongholds, and the families spare no expense to make sure that they remain ignored by the world at large, mundane or otherwise.
The most common rivals for Dragon Nests are, not surprisingly, Werewolf packs. Unlike so many other shen, who could at least be asked to look the other way for a concession or another, Werewolves will normally resort to violence first, and the Dragon-blooded families are ready and willing to reply in kind, especially if the location is the only Dragon Nest that the family owns.
The reason why Dragon-blooded families fight to hold on to Dragon Nests is very simple: while the Terrestrial Exalation is hereditary, to have even the remotest chance of an Exaltation happening the family member must have spent the majority of their lives in the Dragon Nest. Without these places of power, there would be no new Exaltations, and the Dragon-blooded would soon become extinct.
Those Returned Chosen
Beloved of the Undefeated Sun, in these modern nights Solars exaltations are drawn to talented people in various fields, though it may also seek out the courageous, the compassionate, or the extremely lucky. Regardless of their background, they must have some exposure to the supernatural side of the world, whether as would-be-victims or unwitting witnesses.
Solars have five distinct Castes, each of which gravitated to a certain type of personality or profession, and had a unique Anima power:
- Dawn: Warriors of the Solars, anyone with an intimate and capacity to mete out violence may become part of the caste, like soldiers, boxers, brawlers, and enforcers. Their anima power allows them to re-roll an attack, damage, or soak roll once per scene, and keep the preferred result. Dawns replenish Essence when they defeat a supernatural opponent or overwhelming mortal foe, protect a vulnerable friend, or user their martial power to advance or protect an Intimacy.
- Zenith: Priests and leaders, in the modern age they are drawn from humbler figures who are nontheless willing to stand behind their convictions, whatever the cost. They have a somewhat unique Exaltation, where they hear a divine voice asking them to find other Exalted, and help them save the world. Their anima power allows them to burn a corpse to ashes after expending 1 Essence, which allows a soul to move on; this can destroy vampires in torpor, and sends wraiths to Transcendence. Zeniths replenish their Essence when they inspire someone else, endure great hardship to support or protect an Intimacy, or accomplish a great deed.
- Twilight: Savants and sorcerers, in the modern age they are drawn from men and women of learning, who are willing to use the light of Knowledge to drive away the darkness. Their anima power allows them to merge with a dragon line for 2 Essence, and reform somewhere else along that line a few hours later. Twilights restore Essence when they learn a secret of the supernatural world, or something that advances or protects an Intimacy, or teach someone else valuable knowledge that will materially help them in some way.
- Night: Heaven's assassins who punished the wicked using their own tools, these days they are drawn from thieves, conmen, hitmen and smugglers, who otherwise have a bone to pick with the supernatural. Their anima power allows them to delay their anima flare, in that the first 2 Essence spent don't count to it activating; when it DOES activate however it shrouds them like an obscuring cloak, making them impossible to recognize. Night Caste may replenish their Essence when they advance their goals through blackmail, assassination, theft, or other underhanded methods, or protect and support an Intimacy in this way.
- Eclipse: Heaven's negotiators, these modern nights they come fropm those who use words and organizations to fight battles: politicians, lawyers, or diplomats. It falls to them to find allies, and end threats to the Chosen before blood is spilled. Their anima power allows them so sanctify any oath via spending 1 Essence; anyone who breaks the oath suffers a curse from Heaven (which depends on the Storyteller). Eclipses may replenish their Essence whenever they advance their goals through words and connections, create peace where there was once discord, or manipulate people or systems to advance or protect an Intimacy.
Solars are unique in that they have a fleeting connection to their past lives through their dreams. About three times in a year, they have especially vivid dreams of the Age of Legends, and their role in that heady time. It's not quite an answer, but for many who have experienced Exaltation in these dark times, it's something that can be worked with.
Chosen of the Moon Goddess, Lunars in the present age come from the outcasts, who society either pushed to the borders or ignored outright. Born from surviving a life-threatening experience, Lunars now walk the nights of a world that can no longer afford to disregard their existence.
Lunars get grouped into three distinct Castes upon Exaltation, are fixed to those from that point on:
- Full Moon: Gifted physical specimens well-suited to kicking their problems in the teeth. Their anima power means that they don't roll for Initiative, and instead always uses 10 plus her Dexterity and Wits total. They replenish their Essence whenever they defeat a supernatural opponent or significant mortal foes, overcome a significant obstacle through physical means, or use their strength, speed, or endurance to advance or protect an Intimacy.
- Changing Moon: Tricksters and deceivers, using their looks and sly tongues to get what they want. Their anima power allows them to wrap themselves in a veil of illusion by paying 1 Essence, perfectly disguising herself as anyone they had seen for a scene. When their anima banner is alight, they may also instead pull it around themselves to become unrecognizable. They replenish Essence when they use guile, cunning, seduction, or sheer force of presence to accomplish a significant goal, escape a dangerous situation, defeat an enemy, or support or defend an Intimacy.
- No Moon: Shamans and seers, these are the explorers of the Spirit Worlds, and go-betweens to the other night dwellers. Their anima power allows them to speak and be understood by spirits; by fixing her eyes upon the moon and rolling her Essence rating against the local Gauntlet or Shroud, the No Moon may attempt to cross into the Spirit World or Underworld. They replenish Essence whenever they learn a secret of the supernatural world, overcome a significant obstacle or enemy through knowledge, learning, clever plans, resources and contacts, or when they support or protect an Intimacy through these means.
Lunars are shapeshifters par-excellance, and are able to gain new forms through simple consumption (or murder, if needed). On the bare minimum, they have a Totem form, an animal that represents their personality. They may freely shift into this form without needing to hunt, and can reflexively assume the totem form without spending Essence.
When particularly pissed off, they can even take on the Rage Form, a hybrid between human and their totem animal that can and WILL Rip and Tear anything that gets in their way. In this way, they can easily be mistaken for a Garou or similar Fera, but make no mistake, they are much much more than that.
Finally as beings marked by Luna, Lunars are protected from any magic that would transform or mutate their bodies against their will. This requires no dice roll, as any such effect flatly fail.
Agents of the Five Maidens and keepers of the Loom of Fate, modern Sidereals are drawn from people with powerful but still-unrealized destinies: fated to affect the lives of millions, for good or ill. That destiny is consumed to fuel the joining, and whatever impact the Sidereal has on the world moving forward, it would be through her own means.
Even during these modern nights, Sidereals still belong to five different Castes, each representing one of the Maidens of Fate:
- Chosen of Journeys: Those who make sure that the local Solar actually gets to where she can do the most good, at the same time gets hooked up with a helpful Hunter cell on the way there. Their anima power allows them to triple their and any nearby allies movement speed, whether on foot or in a vehicle, for the duration of a scene by spending 1 Essence. They replenish their Essence by causing, safeguarding, guiding, or helping a journey that destiny demands to happen.
- Chosen of Serenity: The Exalted support group, they make sure that the Chosen get rested up after a raid on a Vampire coven went bad, and that they don't fall into really bad depression as a result. Their anima power allows them and their allies to gain the warm and favorable regard of anyone who does not explicitly have an active reason to dislike or mistrust them for a scene, after spending 1 Essence. They regain Essence by bringing different parties together in accord with fate's requirements, or bring happiness or peace to those who need it in their darkest hour.
- Chosen of Battles: Strategists and tacticians, who make sure that the Chosen fight in battles where their might will be sorely needed. Their anima power lets them and their allies reduce damage done to them by 1 Health level after rolling soak for a scene, after spending 1 Essence. They regain Essence by starting, manipulating the results of, or creating conflicts in accordance to what destiny needs.
- Chosen of Secrets: Spies and information brokers, they collect the secrets of their enemies, arm their fellow Chosen with knowledge of their foes' weaknesses, and make sure the muggles aren't made aware that there was a throwdown between Solars and vampires in their neighborhood last night... Their anima power allows them and their allies protection from mind reading and magical mind control of any sort for the duration of the scene, after spending 1 Essence. They replenish their Essence by preventing the world from learning of the supernatural, including the Exalted, or by concealing or revealing a secret knowledge according to fate's demands.
- Chosen of Endings: The guys stuck with trying to muddle through the endings of people and nations, and hopefully through those prevent the biggest ending of all: the end of the world. Their anima power allows them and their allies an attack that inflicts at least one health level of damage after soak, which is then increased by one additional health level for the duration of the scene, after spending 1 Essence. They regain Essence by making sure conclusions destiny demand actually happen.
Many Sidereals soon realize after their Exaltations that they simply don't stick in people's memories anymore, and mundane records of their existences start to disappear bit by bit. It's not absolute or infallible (and other Exalted see through it just fine), and makes living any sort of normal life difficult, but helps in protecting their anonymity.
Sidereals are ideally suited to getting the Arcane Background, and not only that, but they gain two dots for free. Each dot adds a die to all Stealth rolls, and subtracts a die to all attempts to track the Sidereal down, identify, or locate them. And the more dots purchased, the harder it is for people to even remember a Sideareal; at 3+ dots, records, photos, and paperwork about them simply get misplaced, or are generally unavailable for reference.
Sidereals also gain Dynamic LARPing. With a bit of practice, the Sidereal can step into a false destiny, effectively becoming that person, and no one would be able to recognize them. They cannot put on a false destiny while being observed by others unless it's another Sidereal, and they will always recognize a "worn" false destiny anyway. There are of course limits to what sort of destiny a Sidereal wears, depending on their Caste.
As their Essence grows more powerful, the Sidereal gains access to Greater Signs. Though they come at greater cost, these powers, when used at a pivotal moment, may alter the course of the world. They have to be at an Essence rating of 4 to even attempt, uses up a permanent point of Willpower, and lasts for an entire scene:
- Mercury (Journeys): The Sidereal and allies within the same city are teleported to a point of their choosing anywhere on Earth.
- Serenity: Violence becomes impossible through the entire city or stretch of countryside around the Sidereal. Hostile magic use is stopped as well.
- Battles: No attacks directed against the Sidereal or their allies within the same city or similarly-sized area may inflict more than a single health level of damage, regardless of how many are rolled.
- Secrets: The Gauntlet and Shround become impassible in the city, and no Portals or similar powers may bring characters into or out of other worlds.
- Endings: All attacks made by the Sidereal and allies within the same city deal automatic damage rather than rolling dince.
Given their connection to Fate, the Sidereals are obviously suited to being seers and prophets, and while they're still in the dark about what they are and how this whole Exaltation thing came about, are much better suited to finding out what needs to be done, right now. They're also the right people to find all those scattered Solars and Lunars out there, and put them to work cancelling the Apocalypse.
Corrupted Solar Exaltations from the time beyond memory, Abyssal Exaltations look for the same sort of extraordinary traits a Solar Exaltation would look for -- except that the host needs to be close to death. And even then it isn't too bothered if it has to push the death along via proxy.
As Solars run through a grunge and goth filter, the Abyssals also have Castes reflecting their roles in bringing down Creation:
- Dusk: Those who can and will kill on the battlefield: soldiers, mercs, enforcers, and crooked cops. Their anima power allows them to re-roll attack, damage, or a soak roll and keep the preferred result once per scene. The regain Essence when they defeat a supernatural opponent or overwhelming numbers of mortals, protect a useful minion, or use their martial power to advance or protect an Intimacy.
- Midnight: Dark and driven figures of dark resolve, who are prepared to kill and die for their causes. Demagogues and death cult leaders can be counted in this caste. Their anima power makes them a beacon to the dead for the entire scene after spending 1 Essence, and if they are drained of blood, chi, or emotions it provides twice the amount; this effect lasts for one full moon cycle. They regain Essence whenever they terrify someone or fill them with awe at the power of death, endure great hardship to support or protect an Intimacy, or bring about some great work of the grave.
- Daybreak: Those who get a kick collecting macabre secrets and forbidden knowledge, and believe that these should be shared with the rest of mankind. Their anima power allows them to discorporate themselves into the dragon lines of the world, and reform a few hours later at the boundary of a nearby haunt, after spending 2 Essence. They regain Essence whenever they learn a secret of the supernatural world, learn something that helps them advance or protect an Intimacy, or increase the influence of the dead over the living.
- Day Caste: Spies, assassins, and saboteurs, who would use any means to remove those in the way of the Dead bringing down the world. Their anima power allows them to delay the flaring of their anima banner, in that the first 2 Essence they spend doesn't trigger it; if it does trigger, it instead wraps them in an obscuring cloak, making them impossible to recognize. They regain Essence when they advance their goals through blackmail, assassination, or similarly underhanded means, or protect or support an Intimacy in this way.
- Moonshadow: Those who fight with words to get what they want, the lobbyists, solicitors, and lawyers. Their anima power allows them to sanctify any oath they here by spending 1 Essence, and anyone who breaks such an oath is cursed by the Underworld (Storyteller's choice). They regain Essence when they advance their goals via words, connections, and resources, reach accord between the dead, or the dead and the living, or manipulate people or systems to advance or protect an Intimacy.
Abyssals may roll they Essence rating against difficulty 6 to manifest sharp fangs for a scene. These fangs deal lethal damage, though they must first grapple a target to do so. Using the fangs to drink the blood of a living target restores Essence; drinking enough to do 3 levels of lethal damage restores 1 Essence, while draining a person to death restores 2 Essence.
Being the edgelords that they are, Abyssals find living in the world of mortals very distressing, and only find some solace if they wear or otherwise surround themselves with the trappings of the dead -- like long dead fashions, or just a car with a whole lot of skull and bone decorations on it. If they don't do this, then all actions increases by a difficulty of 1 while in the living world, the Dreaming, and most of the Spirit world.
Abyssals are essentially mobile Haunts, and while in an area the Shroud rating drops by a value equal to their Essence rating.
In addition to this, Abyssals are plagued by unnatural manifestations of power. Called Shadows of Death, an Abyssal would always have at least two of these, which may include the following, but are not limited to these: flocks of crows, ravens, or owls, follow the Abyssal around and congregate in massive numbers the longer she stays in an area; a chill wind that blows whenever they do anything dramatic; things can be seen from the corner of one's eye, which crawl out of the shadows while the Abyssal is around.
Abyssals sacrifice their names in the course of their Exaltation, and in time go by titles instead. Along with this, they are afflicted by a the Curse of the Neverborn, due to their Essence's connection to those ancient spectres. Going against these impulses punishes the Abyssal with a temporary curse of sorts, determined by the Storyteller.
Unlike their Celestial counterparts, Abyssals don't really have a plan, though if it involves pushing things a little closer to Armageddon it wouldn't be too bad for them either.
The other flavor of corrupted Solar Exaltations, who served trapped fiendish overlords instead of undead Primordials. Just like they've always been, Infernals are truly exceptional people who found themselves up against odds even they had little chance against on their own. Just like a Solar, had a Solar Exaltation come flying by at just that moment, they would have exalted, finding new reserves of power within themselves that made the impossible trivial. Unlike the Solars, though, they didn't win the cosmic lottery in their greatest moment of need, and because they didn't it ruined their life and left them bitter. As a consolation prize something else chose them and now they have the chance to become Demon Emperor and reign over the Sixth Age with an adamant claw, so it's not all bad.
During the Age of Legends, Infernals also had Castes like the Solars and Abyssals; in these modern nights, each Infernal is an island to themselves, each a budding Demon Emperor or Empress ready to ascend to the Throne of Heaven. They do still have Caste markings however, but these symbols are nonsensical in modern nights. (Well, they're described as nonsensical, but from the examples provided it's clear their caste marks haven't actually changed at all since the 3rd Age, the things they once represented are just gone.)
That said, they do regain 3 Essence if they meet any of the following Urges (only one chosen at Character Creation):
- Destroyer: Replenishes Essence whenever they defeat a supernatural opponent or overwhelming mortal foes, destroy their assets, or create mayhem and destruction to advance an Intimacy.
- Conqueror: Replenishes Essence when they force an enemy or powerful figure to submit to their will.
- Forbidden: Replenishes Essence whenever secretive or forbidden lore of the supernatural world is learned, or something truly nasty is bound to their service.
- Corrupter: Replenishes Essence whenever she destroys the perceptions of the righteous, or tempts them in taking the easy way out.
- Manipulator: Replenishes Essence whenever JUST AS PLANNED happens. Yeah.
Once an Infernal reaches the second Essence rank, they gain the ability to manifest Shintai, or God-Body forms that reflect the Demon Emperor or Empress they may become. They can do this once per story, but retain access to all their Charms plus any modifications to their Traits AND any additional Aspects they select for that form. The Shintai form remains until the duration ends, is dismissed by force, or its Health track gets filled by lethal or aggravated damage. These can range from a more powerful, mutated-looking version of their normal body which is still recognizable as them to a whirling pillar of flaming tentacles.
Incidentally, any Infernal who purchases the The King and the Kingdom Charm also creates their own Hell realm (that they can further customize) in Yomi Wan. Congratulations! You've taken the first step into overlordship of Hell!
Much like the newly-returned Solars and Abyssals, Infernals have little to no context to how they came to be. However thanks to their connection the Thousand Hells of Yomi Wan, they have an idea where things are going.
As the Wheel of Ages turns toward the Sixth Age the Infernals scheme amongst themselves, as well as against their main rivals the Yama Kings, to gather power and followers in their bid to come out on top of the inevitable free-for-all for the vacated Throne of Heaven.
Terrestrial Exalted, or the Dragon-Blooded, are the only "native" Exalted of the World of Darkness, and the only remaining legacy of the Age of Legends. Unlike the Celestial Exalted, their Exaltation is hereditary, so any Terrestrial will inevitably be part of the thirty three-odd surviving Dragon-Blooded families.
Rather than Castes, the Dragon-Blooded families are aspected to a particular "classical" Element (like Fire or Air), though it is rare but not unheard-of for a descendant to be attuned to an opposing element instead:
- Air: Wise scholars and zealous fighters, they are capable of both subtlety and sudden action. Their anima power helps them ignore falling damage, and triples their jumping distance and height. They may restore Essence by meditating an hour on an elevated place where they can feel the wind on their skin.
- Earth: Solid and resolute, thinking that they are slow is making a grave miscalcuation. Their anima power reduces the difficulty of all soak rolls by 1. They may restore Essence by meditating an hour beneath the earth, or at least half-submerged in soil.
- Fire: Passionate and impulsive individuals, who are equally at home in a brawl or a party. Their anima power makes them immune to fire damage, and when their anima flares, it deals lethal damage to anyone in the area (2 levels of lethal damage, difficulty 6 to soak). They may restore Essence by meditating an hour in a sweat lodge, steam bath, or surrounded by heat or smoke.
- Water: Smooth and adaptable, they go with the flow and exploit what they can to their advantage. Their anima power gives them the ability to breathe underwater, and swim at full movement speed, but when their anima is flaring they can also run across the surface of water. They may restore Essence by meditating an hour floating or submerged in water.
- Wood: Nurturing yet at times deadly, they understand the connections between people and societies. Their anime power makes them immune to poison, and when their anima flares their skin becomes poisonous to touch -- anyone in skin contact must soak 2 lethal damage per turn. They may restore Essence by meditating an hour surrounded by plant life, like in farmland or a large greenhouse.
The Terrestrial Exaltation is physical, and as such all Dragon-Blooded have visible and obvious markings hinting to their Elemental attunements. This may be as subtle as cool skin or an ever-present breeze blowing their hair for an Air Aspect, or red colored and flame-shaped hair for a Fire Aspect.
The Dragon-Blooded have to take care in using Essence, as instead of an Anima Flare, they instead have an Anima Flux, a very deadly manifestation of their Elemental aura, like cutting winds, a cloud of sharp rocks, or a very hot aura of flame. Whenever their anima manifests, everything within 1 yard of the Dragon-Blooded suffers an automatic level of lethal damage. Any supernatural who is vulnerable to the element involved (like Vampires with fire) experience aggravated damage instead.
Finally the Terrestrials have some minor form of elemental manipulation. Essentially parlor tricks, like being able to light up a cigar without a match, they can be used to entertain or distract in a pinch.
Heroes of the Machine God, Autochton "reactivated" them in reaction to the unsealing of the Black Vault, and the return of the Celestial Exalted. Unlike those Exaltations, Modern-day Alchemicals were created by accident as a random person touches one of the spherical nodes that got released from the hold of a Technocracy ship that disintegrated in the upper atmosphere.
In days of old, each Alchemical was part of a Caste, which were designed with specific duties in mind. Although these days the number of extant Alchemicals number less than a dozen, the Castes still determine their personalities and implant preferences:
- Orichalcum: Draws from natural leaders and visionaries. Replenishes Essence when they defend or advance an Intimacy through forthright action or inspiration. Their anima power is to add their Essence rating to all Damage rolls while their anima is flaring.
- Moonsilver: Draws from those comfortable with lying through their teeth to accomplish their goals. Replenishes Essence when they defend or advance an intimacy through deception or trickery. Their anima power is to add their Essence rating to their Initiative total while their anima is flaring.
- Jade: Draws from the rugged and salt-of-the-earth types, populist heroes essentially. Replenishes Essence whenever they defend or advance an Intimacy through persistence or steadfast endurance. Their anima power while their anima is flaring is to add their Essence rating to their soak rolls.
- Starmetal: Draws from plotters, planners, and dealers of knowledge. Replenishes Essence whenever they defend or advance an Intimacy through manipulation or long-sighted strategy. Their anima power while their anima is flaring is to add their Essence rating to all attack rolls.
- Soulsteel: Draws from those who seek justice. Replenishes Essence whenever they defend or advance an Intimacy through intimidation or explosive violence. Their anima power while their anima is flaring is to add their Essence rating to all block, dodge, and parry rolls.
Although they are essentially magitek cyborgs, Alchemicals can only "equip" so many Charm arrays at one time, though this limit grows as their Essence Rating increases. Because they're magitek cyborgs, they're immediately recognizable as unusual unless they enter Dormancy, after which they look normal for about twelve hours, in return to losing all their Exalted powers for that same timeframe.
Finally, an Alchemical may "reconfigure" their Charm arrays, but this may only be done during a Dormancy cycle. If the Dormancy cycle is ended prematurely, then most of these planned reconfigurations fail.
All the Other Exalted
All the other types of Chosen -- Liminals, etc. -- are considered extinct as far as the netbooks go, as not even an echo of their patrons remain in the modern age, unlike the Solars or Lunars (the Sun and Moon are still around after all). The Wan Xian, who would eventually devolve into the Hungry Dead, probably were Exalted, but of what type Shearer leaves to the individual Storyteller to decide.
Equivalency: Exalted Power Levels and other Supernaturals
The fanbook assumes one unavoidable fact: that the World of Darkness is so worn by the march of time and of the ages that there's simply not a lot of Essence to go around anymore, barring the Essence that the Exalted renew within themselves every day. Mechanically, this caps all Exalted at Essence Rank 5, but even then depending on how a group plays it this may be more than enough for some cunning groups to punch some of the bigger names of the World of Darkness.
Celestials (Solars, Lunars, Sidereals), Abyssals, and Infernals have a higher power level compared to their fellows. For example, a newly-minted Essence 1 Solar is comparable to an 8th-generation Kindred, a Rank 2 Garou, an Arete 2 Mage, and a Dharma 2 Wan Kuei; an Essence 5 Solar will be able to go toe-to-toe and wreck the face of Kindred Methuselah, Rank 6 Garou, Arete 10 Mages, and Dharma 10 Hungry Dead Bodhisattva.
Terrestrials and Alchemicals are much more restrained by comparison, and start out at right around the same level as all the other Supernaturals out there; an Essence Rank 1 Dragon-Blooded or Alchemical will be roughly equal to an 11th-generation Kindred, a Rank 1 Garou, an Arete 2 Mage, and a Dharma 1 Hungry Dead. An Essence 5 Dragon-Blooded or Alchemical on the otherhand will be able to match a 7th-generation Kindred, a Rank 5 Garou, an Arete 6 Mage, and a Dharma 5 Wan Kuei.
Among the Night People
So now that the Exalted are back, how do they fit in with the creatures of the night? It turns out in some ways they fit right in, but in others they're such a disruption to the chain of conspiracies and secrecy that supernatural societies keep sacred that it's bound to cause chaos in one way or another.
Now it bears mentioning that, according to the author, less than a year after the Black Vault was opened, there are only about two hundred Solars scattered around the world, about twice the number of Lunars, about a hundred Sidereals, maybe the same amount of Abyssals, and a few dozen Infernals. Of the Dragon-Blooded, there are perhaps around five hundred true Terrestrial Exalted, with many more Dragon-Touched relatives to support them. Finally, there are less than a dozen Alchemicals keeping a low profile and avoiding notice from the Technocracy.
Suffice to say that, with these numbers, the Chosen have their work cut out for them. California alone has about three hundred Kindred, never mind the one hundred Hungry Dead that invaded San Francisco during the early 2000s. And those are just the bloodsuckers -- there's a whole nation of Werewolves who have their own worries, and might rip you a new one first than talk, various flavors of Tradition and Technocracy-aligned Mages who would just love to try and "research" your Exaltation, and hostile Spectres who hate you for merely being alive... Yeah.
That said, lopsided odds have never stopped the Exalted before.
The Chosen and the Kindred
As one of the more widespread and actively predatory supernatural that can be found in the World of Darkness, vampires are often the first denizens of the night that the Exalted encounter. Indeed, about a third of Celestial Exaltations came about as a direct or indirect result of a vampire attack.
A few details before one gets into the glorious chaos throwing a Solar at a Kindred would normally create:
- Exalted cannot be Embraced. The moment an Exalted goes Kindred, the Exaltation leaves to seek its next incarnation. Dragon-Blooded are slightly different, as they retain what Essence they had left when they died; the moment they use up those for their Charms, they act as if they're regular Kindred. The Charms themselves also vanish at a rate of one per night, starting from their highest-ranked Charm.
- Ghouls may Exalt! This burns away any kind of advantages that partaking in Vampire blood may give them, so no more access to Disciplines barring the initial dot in Potence. An Exalt may still choose to continue, but there's no real advantage to doing so beyond feeding an addiction. As for Abyssals, well, they can't become Ghouls, and if they try to drain a Vampire back, they will find that Kindred blood is bland and they can't regain Essence from it either.
- While the initial process of Exaltation burns away any existing Blood Bond, a Chosen may still get placed under one afterward, though some Charms or Intimacies give some way in struggling against it. By and large though, it's not something any Exalted would want to be under.
- Solar blood burns like liquid sunlight, so any Kindred trying to drain a Solar deserves all the pain that they will get. A Kindred takes 1 level of aggravated damage for every blood point they try to drain from a Solar. It counts as sunlight for Fortitude rolls or Setite clan weaknesses.
- Otherwise Exalted blood is extremely nourishing, and gain three blood points for every health level of lethal damage they do. Any Kindred who kills a Terrestrial Exalted through blood drain also have their Generation temporarily lowered by 1 for a number of nights equal to their Essence rating.
Due to the low numbers of the Exalted, they haven't quite registered as a threat to the Kindred, but as some of the Chosen slowly grow in power (particularly the Solars), and start to directly attack them on their own turf, they're going to have to pay attention. And unless one happened to be an Abyssal (where one can easily find themselves neck-deep in Kindred politics before they realize it), Celestials get along with Kindred as well as oil and water.
Solars have simple reactions to the Kindred, influenced by how often their Exaltations comes about in the wake of Vampire attacks: it's gotta die, right now. For their part, any Kindred will be distinctly uncomfortable when any Solar has their anima flaring anyway, as the aura counts as bright light, and they immediately have to check for Rotschreck with a +2 difficulty.
Lunars are a slightly different matter by comparison. Some Lunars started out as Ghouls, and as the Exaltation burned away their blond bonds, they made it very clear that the abusive relationship was at an end. Permanently. And given how it's very easy to mistake a Lunar for a Garou, Vampires will steer clear of Lunars regardless unless an overwhelmingly powerful assault can be done. That said... Lunars are normally loners to begin with, and Kindred can be very friendly if they think one can be useful. So it's really a messy, case-by-case thing.
Sidereals find that the Kindred are serious problem that needs aggressive "managing", as eventually any kind of prognostication or farseeing they try will involve the Get of Caine in one way or another. Unlike Solars however, Sidereals usually have a good grasp of just how outnumbered they are, before they stir up a hornet's nest of bloodsuckers.
Terrestrials on the other hand have learned through painful experience that, if the Kindred have to be dealt with, one has to do it through subtlety if possible, especially around the blood wizards of Clan Tremere. Blood bonds are doubly an issue, especially among the easily-infuenced younger Exalts, so the vampire who's responsible is usually dealt with quietly and expediently.
Abyssals find themselves in a very odd place indeed, no thanks to their connections to both the Underworld and the Neverborn slumbering there. On one hand, the ghosts that hang around them can't stand vampires, and as many an Abyssal experienced Exaltation in the wake of a vampire attack, they won't exactly be positively pre-disposed to Kindred. On the other hand, due to how similar some of the Abyssal's abilities are to Kindred, it's easy for some Abyssals fall in and be influenced by the local covens, only to quickly find themselves literally neck-deep in Kindred politics. Suffice to say, given enough time an Abyssal will rise to the top as Prince of a city, and woe to any Kindred who gets in their way.
The Garou are an ancient and proud but dwindling people whose racial duty to protect Gaia from those who would despoil Her is leading them head-first towards their own destruction. They are too preoccupied with the coming Apocalypse to really register the return of the Chosen into their midst, but given that the Exalted are here to stop the end of the world, their paths will cross eventually.
Here are a few things to keep in mind before one gets into the nitty-gritty details of Garou and Exalted interactions:
- Anytime a Garou would trigger something that would measure against Gnosis or Rage, Exalted would use Willpower instead. Likewise, if something needs to be used to compare against Primal Urge, use Animal Ken instead.
- Likewise Werewolves, or anyone who's experienced the First Change, cannot Exalt. Likewise, Exalted cannot experience First Change. However Kinsfolk can, though it purges their bodies of whatever spirit magic is already there. That said, the blood of a shifter is still there, and a Lunar can still produce kinsfolk or Garou offspring.
- No, animals can't Exalt. Lupus Exalted are certainly not a thing.
- Exalted are immune to the Delirium. Lunars don't cause it either, though people would probably run away in terror at a Lunar's rage form anyway.
- Solars, Lunars, Sidereals, or Dragon-Blooded don't trigger Sense Wyrm, unless they took an extended bath in toxic waste somehow. Abyssals (and Infernals likely) always register as Wyrm-tainted.
- Recognized by Spirits as legit representatives of Heaven, the Exalted may enter into binding deals with spirits (see the Totem background). This technically also means that an Exalted can, either via Rite of the Totem or Rite of the Joined Circle, join a shapeshifter pack, though non-Lunars would likely have trouble with pack tactics.
- Celestial Exalted are immune to powers or beings trying to merge with their soul. So Solars etc. cannot turn into fomori. The Dragon-blooded can, but have ways of dealing with the issue before they're fully possessed -- usually by going into the Spirit World directly and punching the offending Bane in the face.
- If a Dragon-blooded does turn into a fomor (a highly unlikely occurence that involves a lot of bad luck), the fomor retains all their Exalted powers, and develop Powers and Taints in the usual manner, though they cannot raise their Essence rating ever again. These unfortunates usually die within a few years if they can't make a deal with a powerful supernatural to excise the Bane from their soul, as their bodies literally tears itself apart.
Solars and the Garou interactions entirely depend on first impressions, and suddenly being exposed to a seven-foot tall furry embodiment of RAGE and violence on a rampage is normally not positive. If they can get over the initial terror however, Solars can definitely get behind their (ultimately doomed, admittedly) mission to protect Gaia. As for the Garou themselves, any Solar who somehow manages to get on their good sides (likely through a LOT of work on the Solar's part) will be seen as curious, if Sun-touched ally at best.
Lunar and Garou interactions involve a lot of confusion (fittingly). Lunars are more likely to be mistaken for an odd changing breed, and given the Garou's track record with other Fera, that's not necessarily a good thing, and violence does occur, which Lunars are more than capable of returning. On the other hand, any Garou encountering a Lunar during a Spirt World foray will definitely not mistake a Lunar for another Fera, what being without Gnosis and radiating power like a mini-Incarnae. Any Lunar who somehow manages to get on a peaceful footing with the Garou many eventually be considered an honorary (and honored) member of the Garou Nation, the Ahadi, or the Beast Courts.
Sidereals and Garou don't get along, especially since the latter are likely to just think that they're just another variety of Mage, who have had a bad habit of trying to steal Caerns from under them. This is not helped by how Sidereals seem to slip and vanish from their memories. Sidereals for the most part, are still trying to figure out why Destiny seems to push them to help some Garou packs, and destroy others, so until they figure out the differences between the Garou Nation and the Black Spiral Dancers, discretion is best.
Abyssals and Garou don't get along either, but due to how vampiric an Abyssal is, plus how they reek of the Underworld and the Wyrm, violence is inevitable anyway. Nihilacs have a worrying affinity for Abyssals however, though one or two Pentex executives may find trying to hire an Abyssal to be a worthwhile pursuit.
Terrestrials and Garou don't get along, though this is more due to the fact that they need the same locations -- the Dragon Nests and their wellsprings of energy. The Dragon-blooded families try to avoid werewolves when they can, as a Garou pack can easily overpower a young Terrestrial, but given the importance of the Dragon Nests to the simple act of Terrestrial Exaltation, the Dragon-blooded will defend their holdings with ferocity rivaling that normally expected of the Werewolves.
As for the Infernals and Alchemicals, they're too few to even register as a blip on the Garou Nation's radar.
The Chosen and the Awakened
Mages already have a lot on their plate, given the rivalries between Traditions, nevermind the issues these have with the Technocracy trying to define what is "mundane" reality for the world at large, on top of other dangers like the Nephandi and Marauders... They're not going to be expecting honest-to-goodness demigods walking around the world again, but that's just what they're going to have to deal with now.
Now, some rules of thumb when it comes to interactions between the Awakened and Enlightened versus the Exalted:
- Exalted aren't Sleeper witnesses with regards to Awakened magick.
- People who've already Awakened cannot Exalt. The Exalted cannot Awaken. Dragon-Touched may Awaken however.
- Mages may try to counter an Exalted's Charm or Ancient Sorcery effects by making a contested roll versus an Exalt's activation roll, and if the Mage makes more successes the effect is disrupted. If there aren't any activation rolls, have the Exalt roll her effective Arete versus difficulty 6 as the mark to beat.
- Trying to mess around with an Exalt's Essence requires Prime, with higher dots in Prime to see, move, or convert it to Quintessence (the latter requiring Spirit as well).
- Trying to mess with a Sidereal on the other hand requires Entropy, and must also have Prime if the Exalt tries to manipulate destiny using Essence.
- Mages can attempt to modify or wrest an Exaltation from its holder... but it's difficult as heck, and in many ways it's simply easier to just kill the Exalted instead. Plus it's always considered vulgar.
- While the Avatar Storm is certainly a thing, Exalted have no worries in trying to cross the Gauntlet.
- Exalted may learn static magic before or after Exaltation providing they have the Hedge Magic merit. Exalted magic users don't have mana, and instead use Essence.
Solars will probably get along somewhat peacefully with the Disparates and Mages of the Traditions, as they're still mostly human. If the Solar knows some magic already, there's a good chance they might be recruited to join one of the Traditions. After all, if they're human, does some sort of magic that aligns with the Tradition's values, and supports the goal of the Tradition, then who's going to argue against them? The Technocracy is another matter entirely, as Solars would likely be classified as a dangerous reality deviant that needs to be purged with extreme prejudice, something that a Solar can easily repay in kind.
Lunar mystics will likely alarm most Mages, even the Verbena, as not only do they practice blood-based shapeshifting, piss them off enough and they can turn into this massive fanged thing that can rip your head off in short order. That said, there are mages who aren't afraid to approach a werecreature to talk shop, and unlike the Garou a Lunar won't have a racial prejudice coloring their interactions. And while it would really be out there for a Lunar to join the Traditions, being at least friendly with them isn't out of the question.
Sidereals are the type of Exalted that can easily pass as a Mage, as they look and act the way anyone else expects a mage to look and act. Mages themselves are not free from this, as they're likely to consider them Orphans, with even the Chosen of Secrets able to use the "magician" template for their Dynamic LARPing ability. Much like the Sidereals themselves though, Mages by their very nature make them slippery with regards to the Exalted's destiny-shaping magics, and while in general trends favor aiding the Traditions and Disparates against the Technocracy, there are always exceptions; a young and less-jaded Technocrat may be destined to win for example, and a corrupt mystick allowed to meet their doom. Nephandi are another matter entirely though, and while Sidereals still haven't cottoned to these evil mages being a unified faction, they and their "Master" must be stopped for the good of all.
Abyssals put any Mage in visual range on edge, as they show up as someone that who's clearly supposed to be dead, only isn't. While mages won't attack them on sight, Abyssals ring all sorts of alarm bells, even for a Hollow cabal, and Heaven help you if one decides to settle in Awakened territory. That said, thanks to their connection to the Underworld, Abyssals are the perfect agents for anyone interested in investigating the Dark Umbra, with the former likely willing to work for any sort of answers to what they've become, or other occult knowledge -- like traces of lost Ancient Sorcery.
The Dragon-Blooded houses have the most contact and experience with Mages through the ages. While for the most part it's been wary observation and general mistrust, the house of Li in particular has had a fruitful relationship with the Wu Lung. While the fortunes of the dragon wizards have waned in recent decades, the Dragon-blooded house have profited from the Ancient Sorcery spells that the former group had recovered, and its current Fire-aspected Matriarch intends to continue its alliance, to the point of having her Dragon-touched descendants continue their training with the mages.
For the most part though, the Council of Nine Mystick Traditions are unaware of the Dragon-Blooded families as being anything more than obscure Crafts or Orphans. The Akashic Brotherhood have an inkling that the Terrestrials might be anything more than an ancient people with potent spirit blood, but even then they just consider them one of the many exotic shen in Asia. Likewise the Order of Hermes thinks they are simply a craft that somehow mastered binding elemental spirits to their Avatars to insulate themselves from Paradox, not realizing that the Terrestrial Exaltation is hereditary rather than anything brought about by a magical ritual.
As for the Technocracy, they've been largely ignorant of what the Dragon-blooded truly are, barring possible Orphans or unknown reality deviants. In return the Dragon-blooded families don't understand the modern ways of the Technocracy, or how powerful and widespread their influence and reach truly is. For them, the image of a mage involves ancient chants in dead languages, magic circles drawn from chalk, and wands, and not excel spreadsheets or attack drones.
Alchemicals by their very origins will have a very adversarial relationship with Mages in general. The Technocracy -- particularly Iteration X -- would see them as thieves who, accident or not, have made off with their Autocthonian artifacts, and want those artifacts back even if they have to kill you to do so. Their reception from the Traditions would probably not be much better, as Tradition mages would just love getting their hands on artifacts that their enemies conveniently "lost", regardless if said artifacts have now semi-permanently bonded to a person.
The Chosen and the Hungry Dead
In the same way that the Kindred haunt the nights of the Western world, the Wan Kuei stalk Asia's night. Degenerate descendants of fallen heroes from the Age of Legends, they clothe themselves with a veneer of civility and enlightenment that otherwise hides the fact that, at the end of the day, they need to feed off the living to continue existing. Despite their corrupted and diminished state, the Wan Kuei believe that they are the only legitimate inheritors of that bygone age. With the return of the Exalted however, they will soon find out that they are very very wrong.
There are a few things to keep in mind during encounters between the Exalted and the Hungry Dead:
- Whenever an effect that would normally compare against a Virtue that a Wan Kuei would have targets an Exalted, use Willpower instead. If it measures against Dharma, use the Essence rank equivalency instead.
- Dhampyr/Half-Dammned are capable of Exalting! Doing so removes any of the Disciplines they learned, and any joss-manipulation they used to have though,
- Exalted are extremely nourishing as far as Chi goes. When the hungry dead feed on an Exalt, they gain a point of Chi as normal per health level of damage done and a point of Essence... Which has various effects depending on the type of Chosen involved:
- Solar blood causes a level of aggravated damage per point of Chi they try to drain. For every Essence drained, they gain two points of Yang Chi... which THEN causes all the Yang Chi in the vampire's body to violently ignite; roll their current Yang Chi points as aggravated damage dice. Each successful die burns away a point of Yang Chi. This "ignition" cycle continues every round the Wan Kuei drains more Essence from the Solar.
- Lunar blood grants two points of Yang Chi per Essence stolen.
- Sidereal blood gives one point of Yugen per Essence point drained. This is enough reason for Sidereals to avoid getting drained by the Hungry Dead at all costs.
- Abyssal blood gives two points of Yin Chi per Essence drained. On the flipside, if an Abyssal tries to drain a Wan Kuei gains a point of Essence for every Yin Chi drained, but Yang Chi doesn't do much for them.
- Due to being able to purchase the Totem Background, Exalted can technically have the Nushi background as well (as they're functionally the same). While this means that an Exalt may join a wu, legally no Court Mandarin in their right mind would do so, plus Exalted won't be included in a guanxi anyway.
- Recently-dead Exalted from Asia may experience Second Breath if the Chosen in question meets all the usual criteria -- steeped in Vice, a violent death, and a strong Will for their souls to fight free of Yomi Wan. However due to the Dragon-blooded families need for secrecy, they try to make sure that this doesn't happen to any of their scions, leading to a lot of elaborate funeral traditions. If the Exalt doesn't stay dead in spite of all of this, all available Dragon-blooded Exalts in the area are mustered to hunt the new vampire down before the local Courts get to it.
Solars and the Hungry Dead are just a recipe for trouble waiting to happen, as the Solars are everything that the Wan Xian had been. However as they lack the long history that the hungry dead have accumulated, never mind that their great power seems to have been given by Heaven easily instead of having been earned after centuries of suffering and virtue (or vice), it's considered an insult of the highest order that the Mandarins or Ancestors can't ignore. For their part, the moment the Solars see just how deeply-imbedded the Hungry Dead are in local crime and finance, never mind all the casualties they leave over the course of their pursuit of "enlightenment", they're liable to react with vast amounts of explosions and gunfire that will likely leave a Scarlet Screen in ruins and a good chunk of a Court experiencing Final Death.
Lunars and the Hungry Dead aren't much better, as in general, the Wan Kuei are arrogant, dismissive, and cruel, which won't endear them any to the average Lunar. And while the Lunars outwardly resemble the Ferocious People of the Beast Courts, they exist outside the diplomatic checks and balances that the shen have with the hungry dead. The moment a Wan Kuei even tries something against a Lunar, violence is guaranteed to happen.
Sidereals find that the Hungry Dead are deeply entwined with the turning of the Wheel of Ages and the coming of the Sixth Age, though it's unclear if they're causing it or trying to prevent it. Probably both. Regardless, everything tells the Sidereals to use extreme caution when dealing with the Wan Kuei, as neither have realized that the Sidereals are filled with the heady and heavily addictive yugen (aka liquid enlightenment). It's going to be very bad night indeed when someone discovers that little wrinkle.
Abyssals and the Hungry Dead get along in the same way Solars do with the Wan Kuei. In other words, badly, and not helped by the fact that they're just a much more efficient type of predator muscling into the same niche that the Wan Kuei already occupy, and this can't be allowed. That said, many younger hungry dead might be drawn to the dark charisma of an Abyssal, forming gangs or cults of personality around one as they're so edgy it goes over and becomes so cool instead.
Infernals and the Hungry Dead won't get along at all (sense a pattern with Solar-derivatives here?), as they're fledgling Yama Kings-to-be who if powerful enough can create their own hell-realms, the latter of which almost all Wan Kuei have had to escape from. As possible claimants to the to-be-abandoned Throne of Heaven, they're the main opponent of the more virtuous hungry dead, and will be opposed the moment their existence is known. At the same time however, more corrupted Wan Kuei and wannabe akuma may be convinced to join an Infernal's service, and their power and knowledge will be very welcome additions to the forces an Exalt can use in their campaign against the other Yama Kings.
The Dragon-blooded families of Asia have tried to play the long game, and have tried as best as they could manage to maintain a very low profile, even among the shen, and pass themselves off as eccentric sorcerers or perhaps descendants of priests and minor spirits. However due to their vested interests in the Dragon Nests, the families have a long and rather uncomfortable history with the Wan Kuei. This is not helped by the inherent hubris of the hungry dead, particularly those who are part of the Quincunx, who believe themselves to be the successors of the Wan Xian, and will respond with violence at even the hint that they're not the only remaining remnant of the Age of Legends still around. The Dragon-blooded families are ready to respond in kind, but if the issue can be settled with just quietly disposing one snooty vampire, then it's fine. If the forces of a whole Court gets alerted in the process though, then the Dragon-blooded family may have no choice but to abandon their Dragon Nest and flee the country for several decades.
That said, if a Dragon-blooded family can avoid the notice of the local Courts, it's possible to be good neighbors, at least. They've worked with Bone Flowers before, and as long as they're not trying to get into Tibet (in which case, they're then very VERY dead Bone Flowers), and even rented bakemono from local Devil Tigers when they needed extra disposable bodies to throw at a bigger threat.
PDFs of both the core book and the Companion have been made available by Shearer online.
- Exalted versus World of Darkness: https://www.patreon.com/file?h=23661124&i=3076331
- Exalted versus World of Darkness Companion: https://holdenshearer.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/exalted_vs_world_of_darkness_companion.pdf