03 February 2007

Exalted Hack: Circles

When the gods created the Exalted, they pulled handfuls of simmering essence from their own bodies. The essence that dripped off each finger became a single Exalt and the five made from the same handful of essence became linked by fate and destiny, united by bonds of love and hate, to achieve greatness and misery as one. They become, in other words, a Circle.

However, during the First Age, the various types of Exalted intermixed, loved and hated outside their Circle, and, though their own agency and the lingering effects of the Wyld, manipulated Fate. Circles were broken and reformed, often with different members, often combining Solars with Lunars or Sidereals. In modern times, when the Dragon-Blooded are ever so numerous and the Abyssals have risen from the Underworld, sometimes one's fate is inextricably mixed with someone stranger still. There have even been rumors of Circles containing Dragon Kings, Fair Folk, Malfean agents, and other abominations, but we will not speak further of such things.

It does seem to hold true that Circles generally follow the patterns set forth by the gods in the dawn of time, based on the five cardinal directions, the five poles of the world, the five maidens, the five dragons, the five castes that govern every type of Exalted: East, South, West, North, and Center. There have indeed been Circles composed entirely of, say, Night Caste Solars. However, in those cases, the Exalts still clearly fall into the Pattern of Five Directions, that is to say, each Exalt takes a role in the group as if they were a Dawn, Eclipse, etc (despite remaining a member of their actual Caste).

When beginning a game, each player chooses to represent a unique orientation in the Circle. You can have two Night Caste Solars (or all Night Caste Solars). But you cannot have two Easts. Now, naturally, each Castes is specifically designed and better suited for a particular orientation. This is their natural orientation, the one intended by the gods before the Exalted took their fate into their own hands.

The characteristics of each orientation are described below, along with a list of Castes naturally oriented to that direction.


Eastern Exalted are subtle, fickle, hidden, and changing. More than anyone else, the embody the Yin forces of the world. Within a Circle, they are tasked with challenging the rest to be wary, to remain paranoid about the dangers that may be lurking around them.

NightWaterChanging (Waning)DayEndings


Southern Exalted are bold, resolute, loud, and boisterous. More than anyone else, they embody the Yang forces of the world. Within a Circle, they are tasked with challenging the rest to be headstrong, daring any feat that might bring them success or honor, to not let fear rule their lives.

DawnFireFull MoonDuskBattles


Western Exalted are thoughtful, watchful, inquiring, and patient. They embody righteousness, even if it is sometimes self-righteousness. Within a Circle, they are tasked with challenging the rest to possess a purity of purpose and a relentless desire to see things through to the end, wherever that may lead.

ZenithWoodChanging (Waxing)MidnightSerenity


Northern Exalted are sorcerers, shamans, healers, and witches. They are in touch with the mystic arts that others shun, fear, or covet in vain. Within a Circle, they are tasked with challenging the rest to know the ways of power, to not trifle with things they don't understand, but also to seize what is rightfully theirs.

TwilightAirNo MoonDaybreakSecrets


Centered Exalted are those who dwell in-between, those who are never at home in a place, those that are always traveling. They are the strands by which the world is bound together. Within a Circle, they are tasked with challenging the rest to be mindful of the connections between things, how they can be used for one's purposes, and how ignorance of them can lead to unforeseen disaster.

EclipseEarthChanging (Half)MoonshadowJourneys


Anonymous Democritus said...

I think you mixed up East and West. The WEST is where the water is, the EAST is where the forest is. However in your list east is associated to water DBs and the west to the wood DBs. Seems like a classic case of the mixups?

Apart from that, I like it. Esp. the Five-Fingers Origin story.

7:31 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Walton said...

Wow, you're totally right. Whoops. Thanks for the save!

12:35 AM  

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