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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Reno, NV
Yeah, that's not a problem at all. The Tomb of Dreams is designed to be an introductory adventure, so it comes complete with premade characters and a rules reference so you don't have to dig through the core book itself (which is a good thing, 'cause it's pretty meaty).
Speaking of the premades, I guess I should have said something about them, if I'm wanting people to know what they're getting themselves into.
There's a lot
of really great writing in the setting information and backstory, but the only grounding you'll need to enjoy the module is the blurb from its first pages:
Long ago, the gods made war against ancient monsters who forged the world. They chose as their champions mortal women and men, and through the gift of Exaltation uplifted these heroes with divine power. The goddess of the moon made the Lunar Exalted, who could take the forms of beasts. The five maidens of the stars made the Sidereal Exalted, who could compel destiny. The world-dragons made Dragon-Blooded legions empowered by the elements. And the Unconquered Sun, chief of the gods, made the Solar Exalted. The Solars became the Exalted’s mightiest generals and heroes, the apex of human potential. They led the Exalted to victory, and the First Age of Man dawned.
But the death-curse of the world’s creators ate at the hearts of the Exalted. The star-chosen Sidereals whispered to the Dragon-Blooded of the Solars’ tyranny and debauchery, of how they’d squander their rulership of the world. Together, the Sidereals and Dragon-Blooded chased the shapechanging Lunars beyond the world’s edge, slew the ruling Solars and locked away their power, and usurped the Realm that the Solars had built. The First Age ended, and the Second Age began—an age of sorrows.
The Sidereals vanished. Centuries of war and catastrophe cleansed away all but the Old Realm’s most meagre remnants. The great Dragon-Blooded empire ruling from Creation’s center has lost its immortal empress, and the world’s lesser powers chafe to be free of her dynasty’s yoke—free to make their own conquests, free to forge their own empires, and free to keep for themselves their harvests of luxuries and slaves.
Into this time of tumult the power of Solar Exaltation has returned from death and banishment—once again the Unconquered Sun raises mortal heroes to glory. The returning Solars will end this age of sorrows, but with their unbridled power and ambition, will they bring light to the world or ignite its funeral pyre?
What Is Exalted?
Exalted is a tabletop roleplaying game where the players take the role of heroes empowered with divine might. In this scenario, and in the Exalted Third Edition main rulebook, players will take the role of the Solar Exalted. Additional books provide rules for playing Lunars, Sidereals, Dragon-Blooded, and other character types. Paragons of will and excellence, the Solars are charged by the Unconquered Sun with bringing Creation to righteousness as best they know how, but are ultimately beholden only to their own ambitions.
Exalted makes itself distinct from conventional fantasy in that rather than drawing its primary inspirations from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and the books and games that followed in his wake, it sets its roots elsewhere—in Exalted you will find material inspired by ancient Greek, Middle- Eastern, Indian, and Asian myth-cycles; as well as pulp fantasy works like Robert E. Howard’s Conan and Michael Moorcock’s Elric. Exalted draws heavily from wuxia, anime, and manga for look and feel—characters in Exalted might be able to run along walls or the surface of a lake, fell a foe with a sword-blow delivered from ten yards away, or craft an argument so perfect none may deny its truth. But while the Exalted are powerful, they are not necessarily wise, and while their magics aid great deeds, only their human judgment can help them discern worthy action from unworthy.
Exalted doesn't have character classes per se. Rather, each kind of Exalt (lunars, Solars, Sidereals, etc.) has their own set of castes
that determine trends or roles, but leaving lots of flexibility within them. For Solars, you have castes named for the positions of the sun in the sky:
-Dawn Caste: Warriors, generals, and gladiators; the kind of person for whom violence is a way of life.
-Zenith Caste: Priests, kings, and prophets; the kind of person who inspires others.
-Twilight Caste: Inventors, sorcerers, and scholars; the kind of person who pursues knowledge to the utmost.
-Night Caste: Thieves, Spies, and investigators; The kind of person who is at home out of the limelight.
-Eclipse Caste: Travelers, diplomats, and explorers; The kind of person who is equally happy dealing with a foreign culture or a court full of intrigue.
As I said before, there's a lot of flexibility in the castes and you can have Dawn caste sorcerers or Twilight caste investigators and so on. The Tomb of Dreams has one premade character of each caste. The backstories for each are fairly straightforward and most importantly, short enough that I'll post 'em here:
-Volfer (Dawn): Volfer doesn’t speak of his Exaltation. When pressed, he’ll say only this: “I had it handled; the Sun didn’t need to get in my business.” He’s a brute and a tough and a pit-fighter, and knows his worth only through violence. And he does enjoy violence.
And yet, he’s not a bully, if only because easy fights do nothing for him. He may enjoy the feel of a nose breaking against his fist, but he wants landing the hit to be a challenge. And he loves to see the prideful brought low, the officious humiliated, and the tyrannical pulled down into the mud. Though no one could accuse him of having a heart of gold, the downtrodden often find reason to be thankful for his presence anyway. From a safe distance.
-Karal Fire Orchid (Zenith): Karal Fire Orchid is the daughter of a powerful Dragon-Blooded family from the Threshold city of Lookshy. She did not Exalt as a Dragon-Blooded herself, but she honored her mother through service to the Lookshyan military, rising eventually to command more than 600 troops. Her 40-year career ended with her retirement to a farming villa, but when the Fair Folk attacked nearby settlements, she took up arms and armor one last time.
She expected to die in defense of her home. Instead, she heard the Unconquered Sun’s voice, exhorting her to strike down the unrighteous and share her wisdom with those who need it. She fought off the raiders, but knew then she was now Anathema to her family and city, so she fled to ponder the blessing and burden given to her.
Fire Orchid believes it’s her purpose to pass her strength and wisdom to others, and to ensure they can survive in the world without exploiting those around them.
-Iay Selak-Amu (Twilight): Iay spent his youth apprenticed to the witch of the Windward Isle in the far West, learning the songs and prayers that kept the Wyld from dissolving the island into the ever-hungry sea. When she died, he took up her role, walking the boundaries of the land and reminding the world of its existence. Dreams brought him to a remote settlement in danger, but he was too late, and as the tide drowned and dissolved it, he was lost. Days later he woke in his tiny boat adrift in the Wyld, and felt sure the hour of his death had come, but as the sun set, a voice told him not to die. He Exalted as a Solar of the Twilight Caste.
Iay returned to the witch’s old place of power and studied all the secret lore she’d never shown him. He learned the deepest secrets of her magic and more; he tapped into the fundament of Creation and felt its pulse. Then he left the Windward Isle, and his wife and children, to learn more.
-Faka Kun (Night): Faka Kun is of the Djala, hairless desert pygmies with chalk-white skin marked by large, panda-like black spots, popular as slaves among the wealthy for their novel appearance. She herself is a famous acrobat and thief, using her travels with the Gerontine Circus between the major cities of the South as cover while she robbed the mansions and treasure-troves of the wealthy. During one such robbery, she was caught, but as she turned to fight her captors she felt light suffuse her. Exalting as a Solar of the Night Caste, she escaped pursuit and went to ground.
Faka Kun wants wealth beyond the dreams of avarice, but since her Exaltation, her thoughts have turned to its purpose. She currently seeks the resources to free her tribe from the Varang City-States and establish them as an independent power.
-Mirror Flag (Eclipse): Once there was traveling performer, famed as a student of the gods of a great city in the East, who roamed Creation telling stories of injustice and rebellion against it. Wherever she went, rebellion fermented and the unjust were overthrown. How marvelous, that Creation should conform to her stories!
Once, a troupe of traveling actors stood accused of theft by the gods of the Eastern city of Great Forks. One of the accused wove a tale in their defense, and while it was rejected and the other actors hanged, it won her the favor of the judge. Ever after she claimed she’d been ignorant of her fellows’ guilt.
Once, a wealthy merchant had a daughter bored by finance but with a passion for the arts. She fled to join a troupe of actors, and only returned years later to claim her inheritance when he died. But while the records showed her clearly as his heir, none of his friends recalled he’d ever had a daughter.
The Mirror Flag wears masks under her masks under her masks.
Okay, beyond all that, we'd be playing online using a dice bot, so the only thing you'd need is a microphone.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
- Robert Heinlein