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The Wheel of Seasons

This is inspired by a thread on from 2004, which was thread-necromanced a few months after I started reading there. I was enthusiastic about the idea at the time and never really lost the ideas, but I also never mustered up the confidence to get a real start on it. Flash-forward to the present, where the new edition is sort of a fresh start for a lot of things, and after reading Kasumi's exceptional combat example, I'm looking forward to getting involved despite some early misgivings about the new edition.

(I plan to link to the thread directly once I remember how we deal with hyperlinking here)

The basic premise on which I am operating is that of Exalts tied to the seasons, which I have termed the Arcadian Exalts. Arcadia is a region of Greece which has become synonomous with a rural utopia of balance and agrarian harmony, which suited my intended 'feel' for the project nicely. The old comments, archived below, contain the other potential names.

What Is

This is a project for the creation of, firstly, a set of creation guidelines for a new variety of Exalt. The second stage will be codifying Charms for later application of rules (I still haven't got my second edition books, so that stage will be slightly late in the making). The final hope is that I can exercise these rules in a playtest scenario, either with my tabletop group or online somewhere, but applicability is less important to me than enjoyment - I have fun making this sort of thing. I like to think of what it does and what it could be used for.

The Pillars

The basic function of these Exalts is the stewardship of the world. Stewardship has connotations of guidance, protection, and nourishment. The world is approached as a field or garden, in all ways - parts are nourished, sheltered, transplanted, pruned, or otherwise manipulated for the good of the whole.

Five 'castes' of operation, divided between the four seasons and the Calibration period.

A World in Disarray
There was confusion among the people, and so the Sun placed kings among them to guide them
There was chaos among the heavens, and so the Maidens placed wise men in their midst to steer them
There was savagery among the beasts, and so the Moon placed heroes among them to rule them
There was unrest among the dead, and so the Neverborn placed specters among them to dominate them
There was havoc among the elements, and so the Dragons placed their children among them to tame them
There was imbalance in the lands, and so the Mother placed guardians among them to steady them.

Their Great Curse
The strength of the children of the Sun was their Greatness, and so the Curse turned it into bile; their flaws became as colossal as their merits. The strength of the servants of the stars was Order, and so the Curse turned it into disease; their hands bound by their own systems. The strength of the princes of the Moon was their Individuality, and so the Curse turned it into madness; their very forms betrayed them. The strength of the warriors of the Dragons was their Passion, and so the Curse turned it into poison; their birthright would pervert their actions. The strength of the stewards of the Earth was their Dedication, and so the Curse turned it into obsession; they would not move on, but would stagnate, and smother their charges.

The Arcadian Great Curse makes them get 'stuck' in particular modes of action; their need to preserve a Trait by encouraging certain forces in the world becomes an impediment to the point of psychosis - an Arcadian who leads a tribe to war will become so worried about preserving that state that they will actively continue wars in new venues even when original objectives are achieved. Being 'stuck' on the Wheel of Seasons can have disastrous consequences, ultimately destroying the very thing it seeks to preserve.

The ultimate preservation of 'the lands' in a balanced state, with 'the lands' being understood as Creation. They are not so much concerned with what could or should happen (Those being the venues of the Solars and Sidereals respectively) as much as preservation of what is happening. This guidance is both nurturing and pruning - an Arcadian Exalt works on a long view depending on his projects, ideally - they wish to preserve an 'internal balance' in Creation so that all things progress in a reasoned and efficient fashion. Unwanted impediments are 'snipped' away, and 'acceptable losses' made, so that the entirety of the mechanism can continue - while they are in many ways more considerate of the individuals they deal with, they are ultimately tending a garden, not raising a family.

In the First Age, it was their charge to maintain what was through close contact with the system itself. The Sidereals assured that Heaven ran in order, maintaining peaceful congress of ideas and diplomacy between the Deliberative and the world of the gods, while the Arcadian Exalts assured that Creation ran smoothly, exorcising dangerous thoughts and nourishing necessary progress. During the last days of the First Age, however, their Curse made them obsess and lose their focus, turning a balanced machine into a series of squabbling factions, and the state of the Solar lords only exacerbated the teetering engine. Whimsical grants of power would be abused by Aradian stewards for personal obsessions, and contradictory actions would waste the energy of dozens of active Arcadians. Even those that kept themselves going relatively without fail were stymied by events, the excessive actions of the unbalanced rulers making it difficult to preserve a healthy state among the lands. The stewards were divided roughly evenly among those loyal to the Solars and those opposing them; neither group did well in the battle, their power flowing from a harmonious world and thusly greatly reduced in the havoc of the uprising.

In the new age, the Arcadian Exalts are a sparse body of diverse stewards, often operating singly, who attach themselves to a micro-cosmos of action (a particular region, clan, or city) as a 'charge'. Idealists among them hope that this small-scale action can create a series of harmonious 'patches' that can be forged at a later date into a well-balanced and maintained 'garden', but others believe that there is no hope for their cause in the ashes of the First Age, as no one group can grant universal perspective and authority for the 'gardeners' to keep the grounds with. The first faction is lukewarm to the rearriving Solars, who are uncontrollable factors in their meticulous plans, while the second welcomes the hope of a new Solar Deliberative to unite the land.
The primary threat to newly-Exalted stewards is not the Wyld Hunt, as the Dragon-Blooded have little information on them, but the united front of their fellow Celestials. The Sidereals' immaculate prophecies often clash with the plans of a steward, and the Lunar agenda of an era of savagery is directly at odds with the needs of the fragile 'garden' of Creation - the Sidereal Silver Pact is not as frail as many of their brethren believe, but has rather united with sects among the Lunars to stymie the efficacy of arisen Arcadians, and slay newly-Exalted Stewards before they can entrench themselves and begin their own 'areas of control'.


They will be the 'low' tier of Celestial power, capable of manipulating considerable Essence but lacking the connection to potent Incarna that fosters a large Essence pool. Resultantly, they will have a higher focus on mote-efficiency as compared to their fellows - somewhere between a Dragon-Blood and a Sidereal in terms of how effects are meant to be utilized.

Back to BerserkSeraph's page



Arcadian Exalts is the title I'm leaning towards most at this juncture; its suggestion of agrarian utopia is very much evocative of what I'm trying to produce. Some time tonight I'll probably make it official. -- BerserkSeraph

My first thought upon seeing "Arcadian Exalted" was "these guys were Chosen by the Fair Folk?" Because these people were Exalted by Gaia herself, why not call them the Gaian Exalted? -- Dataweaver
Arcadia is the realm of Pan, certainly, but my interest is in poetic usage a term for a utopian simplicity, the like of which is seen in pastorals. AFAIK Arcadia has yet to be used in conjunction with the Fair Folk in Exalted, its suggestiveness nonwithstanding. Consider that in theory 'Abyssal' Exalts should come from deep places; the face value of the word is not necessarily a measure of its application.
As to 'Gaian', besides being bland (in my mind), it fails to suggest in any way the agricultural and idealistic image I'm trying to conjure up. These guys aren't the Planeteers. That's the DBs, the Terrestrial Exalts. The earth, the land, everything that Gaia suggests, is secondary to what they're actually doing - I chose a name for what they do rather than what they happen to be. The Terrestrials are about that untamed elemental force, they're about Gaia as she is composed. The Arcadians are about Gaia as she could be...or perhaps as she wishes to be - thriving with life and refinement. The Terrestrials are the world's wild places; the Arcadians are their villages, farms, cities, religions, what makes the world inhabited rather than habitat.
This comparison is useful only inasmuch as you see Gaia as being interested in societies, life, and the energy of the living. One of the cornerstones of the project is that she is; that Creation-as-body is inherently tuned slightly in favor of humanity and their ilk. The Terrestrials are that untamed reach that is what Creation is - tooth, claw, fire, chaos. The Arcadians are what Creation wishes to be. - BerserkSeraph
Note Bene: The Abyssals do come from deep places, incidentally, because... well, it's not the underworld for nothing. Not that I mind your name for your guys. I do think your story is a bit weird, since Gaia birthed the Elemental Dragons so that they could make the Terrestrials, but it's an intriguing concept. - IanPrice
I meant rather in the sense that they do not come from places one could conceivably burrow to, although in Creation that's debatable: that the names are meant to be metaphysical markers rather than describe the being as being 'the sort of exalted resulting from the manipulation of X'. Were this the case, we'd have Malfean and Yozi Exalts instead of Abyssals and Infernals.
There is unfortunately no seamless way to integrate a new type of Exalt into the setting - the old comments page above has some of my musings on this. This project notably stratifies the purposes and 'domains' of the Exalts, shifting the purpose and origin of the Terrestrials and therefore, I suppose, expanding the reasons for the creation of the Elemental Dragons to cover something broader than the creation of the Terrestrials. To the extent that this means it varies from Creation's canon, the impact of that difference is significantly less than that of the presence of a third Celestial Exalt in the First Age and the present. - BerserkSeraph

This project is not neglected but is on temporary hold; I'm starting a new semester and between moving in and making sure all my classes are in order I don't really have time for writing stuff down. I'm still thinking on it, however, and will monitor for comments and try to respond when they pop up. Thanks to everyone who gives input! - BerserkSeraph
Had similar ideas a while ago, made a few notes but am equally about to become stuck for time, if you feel you could benefit from them then I will add them. Enchantress
Arcadian has been used in a few different builds now to mean Exalts of the Wyld. I kind of like Seasonal for these, but the name that comes to my mind (based on your description in these comments) is the Agrarian Exalted. - CallMeCal