Here is a sample adventure series for you. Concieved before the Sidereal book came out, and made for TV. It may take some time to clean it up for the Wikki board; I have absolutely no skill at webpage stuff...
You can also visit my home-brew free RPG at http://www.members.tripod.com/~rxtks/ (it even got a fairly good review on rpg.net (had some issues with the review, but was pretty much right...)
Exalted Adventures: Season One
Metaplot: Creation did not arise from the Wyld in whole cloth. There were buttresses and foundations that were laid, there were guide-wires and linchpins that held the early firmament in place. Some of these areas were re-fortified to become such anchors as the elemental pole of earth, while others (minor in relative size and importance) were delegated to the care of spirits, behemoths and other servants, as the importance of the locale merited. Many are buried under the strata of belief, and have become the Realm, indistinguishable from any other location. Others still hold some importance as a separate place or object.
One such place, a minor cornerstone of reality as it were, was given to the great race of Dragonkings for guardianship. In the later days, during the War of the Primordials, they defended their charge from the dying titans, who, when falling into their death reached blindly towards these anchors of reality, to anchor their fall and to keep them from Oblivion. The dragonkings of the East held firm, but took a great toll from the power of a dying Neverborn. They would never recover their full strength. Guardianship was passed down through long ages, from dragon to dragon, until the race dwindled so that the duties of anchorage fell unto the Princes of the Earth. Now a Solar Princess, the last to be reincarnated before the Fall, sleeps eternally upon the Stone. In a way, she dreams the World as it is. Or at least the part of the world that holds her and the linchpin to the rest of creation. Because it is a focal point of Creation, and full of invested Essence, the rulers of the early Realm used the power of the stone (and the sleeper) as part of the Realm’s Defense Grid.
An evil plot is floated from the dreams of the Neverborn to the wretched firmament that is a DeathLord. Instructions are given: When the Dark Stars are right, introduce the Wyld into a cornerstone of reality. When all is in flux, open a Shadowland to channel the dark energy of the Underworld into the flux of reality. This will firm the Wyld, and hold it to the new shape of a giant Shadowland. As the linchpin cements the base of reality, all of Creation will be infused with Death Energy. Do this over and over, and creation will become part of the Underworld. When this happens, the Neverborn will once again take their rightful place!
Essentially, the Deathlord will enlist a Fey Noble to point a bound Chimera towards the linchpin of Creation. Once creation starts to dissolve, the DL will use powerful magics and a mighty artifact to create a Shadowland in the area.
The story takes place in one of the Hundred Kingdoms. The PCs are tricked into ‘rescuing’ a sleeping princess, not knowing that to wake her is to start the downfall of creation...
Prologue/Season Teaser: Betrayal
The players get to play doomed first age heroes during the end of the Upsurptation. Elements of the teaser will be reflected throughout the season.
Kullervo, Prince of the East. Dawn caste. Paranoid, spiteful and calculating, this aging warrior (approx 4800 yo) has been poisoned, impaled, shot and stabbed by his personal troops. A great hero of the Primordial war, Kullervo is only the second Exaltation of the original Primal spark. He was wounded when he lead 10 Circles to bind She Who Lives in Her Name; during the binding, something happened, as if something was burned away from his being. Perhaps it was that quality called ‘humanity’, but such a term can not apply to him, a Prince of the Earth...
Kullervo knows that he is doomed. His Willpower almost depleted, his anima flaring at the least provocation, all his hearthstones shattered, and still mean and spiteful to the few other Solars who have tolerated him this far (they may kill him before the rebels do). He still has enough essence stored in his person and Power Jewels for one more showing of his feared Crimson Petal Snow combination (an essence 7 combination). This alone has stayed his comrades hands.
Prospero, Lord of the Golden Cords, High Summoner of the Deliberative. Twilight caste. Escaped the Solar Purge because he was secretly tying to bind some very nasty beings during the Calibration (a capital offense during both the First and Second Age). He once bound an entire Spirit Court and made them hand-wash all the stones in a field of offal for a minor offense against his “delicate sensibilities”. Saturn herself has cut the bonds of servitude between his elemental and spirit servants and himself. He has only been able to bind a single air elemental named Ariel since the Usurpation. The DB have already killed his wife and children, the last memory of his beautiful manse is the heads of his baby twins impaled on Dragon Blooded lances in the formal courtyard.
Cottyto, Princess of the Long Sun. Eclipse Caste. Once she spoke with the full weight of the Deliberative to the lands of the East, but has since retired. After thousands of years of service to others, she now thinks only of herself. The lesser Exalted are bound to her service by strands of heavy emotion. One does not love Cottyto, but lust after her. One does not dislike her, but despise her. Yet she is powerful, and there are many others, like the irresistible Larquen Quen, who flock to her beauty and power, like moths to a flame. And the results are most often the same.
She holds the Long Sun, a shaft of living sunlight, which was a gift to a previous incarnation from Autochthon himself. Although it troubles her not (and most things don’t), it’s light has steadily faded during the last couple of centuries.
This is her Manse that the other hapless Solars find themselves. Her troops and servants are utterly loyal, and are currently fighting the upstart rebels. She has confidence that it will soon be over, and her new comrades who are currently yammering at her will owe her dearly once all is said and done.
Bharatha. Zenith Caste. Once a holy warrior for the Unconquered Sun, Bharatha has divorced himself from the Deliberative (some say he has shirked his holy duties for his own obsessed goals), and has recently been in the Bordermarches with his wife Anya. There they have been tracking reports of The Hunter. They have been in areas of temporal dilation (a study of Anya) and have lost contact with civilization. Most recently, the Wyld became almost quiescent, and they have hurried back to the Realm. What they have found was madness. Assaulted by a fierce border patrol who was waiting for them, only the Diamond and Staff of Bharatha saved them. Anya was able to capture the leader, a Sidereal neither knew of, but he had willed his death by magic before they could make him speak. She took heavy damage from concentrated Powerbow attacks capturing him.
Another attack, this time made of heavily armed Dragonlords, including a fist of Warstriders, shattered Bharatha’s Diamond, and has placed him, once one of the greatest defenders of the Realm, running for his life. He has decided to go to the Manse of the closest Solar. Spending his Essence on healing his wife, Bharatha learns of the Upsurpation, and with this strange new circle, decides to take his last stand.
Lieutenant Chou Seyong. Dragon Blooded, Wood Aspect. Your family has served Princess Cottyto since she saved your entire clan from the ravages of the Fey. What do you know of the pressures placed upon one of the most highly Exalted? And if her tastes are rather...excessive... then who are you to blame? Certainly the Unconquered Sun shines his blessings on her and the other Solars. Those other Dragonblooded who are leading this coup must be controlled by the Yozis or the Fey, and are without reason. They must be without reason, for Princess Cottyto is a goddess of reason herself. No matter what, you know your fate: to protect the Princess at all costs to yourself.
NPCs AnyaTwice-born. Lunar, No Moon Caste. Will depart against her will, to seek help from the Lunar Society.
Desvak Cho’orden, DB-A, Major Domo of Cottyto, trained at both the Heptagram and the Hidden Manse of Silver and Jet. Will attempt to place a dagger in the back of the bitch Cottyto, and any other solar that he can. If (and when) Cottyto uses her spell of the Superior Sapphire of Heavenly Defense, he will activate the Thousand Crystal Dragon Bracelet of Inner Fire that Cottyto wears; if what the vizier said is correct, it should hasten this little standoff. His mistress will be entrapped in a sphere of Sapphire (that can not be broken) with a deadly automaton. He just hopes he will not be caught in the cross-fire.
Lieutenant Cotswold, DB-A, Head of Security. He is taking orders from Cottyto when the security gates are sealed. He will defend his mistress with his (very short) life. The Antagonists Dragonblooded upsurpers, light infantry Dragonblooded upsurpers, Dragonarmor, heavy infantry Heavy assault Automata The Vizier, Sidereal Mage
The Scene Atop in the Thousand Light Sanctuary (a fortified tower branching off the main Manse), away from the vast spacious chamber of the heartstone, the Solars and the other Exalted are arguing against staying, and fleeing to the Wyld, or to other fortified Manses. As they argue, A shuddering concussion rocks the tower, as Cottyto’s magical defenses are shattered. Knowing that they face a revolt that is in part commanded by Celestials (the wards were placed using Sapphire level magics), they make their finial preparations.
The Outcome The Solars all die, but even broken down by days of constant fighting, loss of heartstones and other resources, they manage to take many of the DBs with them. The Vizier only appears to the characters as they lie broken on the tower floor, weaving his magic to consign their solar essence in a green prison.
Desvak activates the Automata secretly, and attacks any Solar that appears to be casting a spell.
The Solars are to be reborn. One will become a Deathlord. Bharatha will be reincarnated as one of the Players. The others may or may not become PCs, depending on what the players wish. Anya escapes into the Wyld, only to consumed by it’s energies- she becomes the Chimera of this adventure.
Brave Lieutenant Cotswold appear to be reborn as the Mage in Blue, but it is only a joke- in reality, Desvak is ‘rewarded’ by a trip to Malfeas to live a thousand years, only to place back in creation as the Mage in Blue.
Pilot/Episode One: Once upon a time, there was a Sleeping Princess... Synopsis: The PCs are tricked into thinking a Celestial Princess is held prisoner by the spell of a mage. They are sent on a rescue mission. Everyone in the kingdom knows of the tale, but no one knows exactly where the princess lies.
This is just a ruse. This is a set-up job by the Powers that Be to get the PCs to a certian place at a certain time. Sort-of like Fate....
Anyway, stories are hyped up, and the party is pointed towards the Mage in Blue. It seems that the actual location of the Princess was a State Secret that died in the Contagion. The powers that set the party on it’s way are using them to find the actual location of the princess.
The Mage in Blue is the power behind the throne in the small country. The rulers share some godblood, but are weaker than the Air Aspected Dragonblooded adept of the Heptagram.
This Mage is innocent of the crimes that the party was told about, but he is not entirely innocent himself. He is an Infernal Exalted, with all the nastiness that the title suggests.. It was foretold to him that Anathema will cause his death, so he protects himself violently against the PCs at first. However, his dark masters know something is afoot, and will not let him waste himself on the party. He is ordered to play nice and help the PCs.
The country has three good-sized manses, and many wild demenses. One is the wizards tower (air aspected), one was a First Age manse designed to monitor (and defend if needed) the Impedient of Creation, and the other is the Impedient of Creation itself. You can only get to the Impediment through the Monitoring Station, and the door to the station is locked. The Mage in Blue has the key, but no the power to use it (it will require a Celestial to use it). Minor manses are the Royal Palace, the Sanguine Sanctuary, and the House at the End of the World.
The monitoring station became an Immaculate Temple during the Shogunate, and was staffed primarily by a small detachment of DBs immaculates and a wandering Sidereal mage. Their dilemma was that the princess was one of the hated Solars, but to wake her without a replacement (who knew the proper Solar Charms) was to weaken Creation itself, so they changed the nature of the Manse. The Monitoring Station/Manse now powers the Celestial spells that keeps the Princess asleep on the Stone. This eternal magical loop has kept the Princess in a sleeping state for almost two thousand years. The monitoring station also has an armory which has two semi-functioning Warstriders. These have not been repaired or maintained for a long time, so they will have a single use (scene) and then crap out. The manse has been abandoned since the Contagion, when all of the personnel were killed by the plague. The defenses are still active, and has effectively kept out the Mage in Blue and others who would plunder it.
The PCs have a chance to take over an entire kingdom. Ruled by a royal line of Godblooded humans, the king and queen have almost no hope against a Solar party.
Principle Players: Mage in Blue. The King and Queen The Royal Guard Bandits in the woods
Locations: Town of Lightspire Royal Castle The Eyrie of the Mage in Blue Monitoring Station/Manse
Scenarios and Plot Advancements: The Setup. A mysterious stranger starts the mess by telling a story about a Sleeping Princess and the wicked wizard who did the foul deed. Let the players relive some adolescent fairy tail of rescuing a damsel in distress..
Welcome to the Kingdom. The Mage in Blue has been tipped off (by Who?), and orders his men (actually bandits) to attack the party. It’s a good way to let the players show off their character’s powers, and let the Mage know what he’s up against.
Nighttime attack. The Mage next sends some demons after the PCs the next time they sleep. After this attack, his masters are consulted and the mage is told to play nice and see why they are there.
Meeting the Mage in Blue. Has full defenses up, but will not make any overtly aggressive moves towards the party b/c of his new standing orders. He will activate a defensive automaton if needed, for an action sequence or to guard his life, or both. Once the party starts to show that they mean business, he will parley to the party/beg for his life as the situation dictates. Only the Mage in Blue knows the location of the Sleeping Princess, and has the key to reach her, but can not get to her because he does not have the ability to use the key to open the Monitoring Station. He swears that the story about him and princess is a setup job, that he doesn’t have that kind of power, donates to charities and orphanages, and goes to church twice a week. Whatever it takes!
The party and the Mage in Blue work out some sort of understanding, and he in turn lets them know the location of the Sleeping Princess. It seems she lies in the back yard of that creepy old house, that is actually the Monitoring Station.
Side-quests and other Hooks:
Dawn: Lots of bandits to kill, guardian automaton Zenith: Convert the Kingdom! Twilight: New spells from the Mage in Blue Night: A first age manse to break in Twilight: Rule the kingdom by marrying the princess
Episode Two: This Old (Haunted) House Synopsis: The Mage in Blue takes the PCs to the Monitoring Station, a spooky old Victorian house built during the First Age by some crazy Anathema and later used as an Immaculate Temple. Not realizing that they have the raw power to open the portal to the Manse, he follows them in.
The trouble is that the Manse was redesigned by Sidereal magis to amplify the magics keeping the Princess asleep. It is a Celestial manipulation of a piece of Solar Sorcery, and is not holding up very good after all these years of neglect. As it is her own magics that start the feedback loop, the house has become full of the Princess’ own memories and thoughts. And although she was not corrupt by the standards of her time, she still has some skeletons in her closet. Since she was partially woken up when the Empress activated the Defense Grid at the end of the Shogunate, her dreams since then have been darker then usual. And these dreams are physically manifesting.
The Princess is oblivious to the party, she is outside sleeping in the Eternal Garden, on top of the Manse of the Impediment. Since she is anchored to Creation itself, it would take massive amounts of energy or Wyld energy to harm her.
This adventure should play like a good, old-fashioned haunted house
Episode Three: Terror by Moonlight Synopsis: The kingdom is plagued by a band of powerful, grotesque marauders. This incursion is by a Lunar who was maneuvered into the attack by a Fey Lord. The Fey wishes to use the Lunar to destroy the PCs so he will not have to risk his own life releasing the Chimera. Eventually the PCs win, and can capture the Lunar. He tells them all about the Fey. If asked about the Lunar in the Prologue, he tells them that the subject is taboo. He does get pissed off that the Fey lied to him about who he was attacking, and suggest that they all go to collect the fey’s head.
Episode Four: The Gingerbread Castle
Synopsis: The players attack the fortress of the Fey Lord. This is the bizarre, atypical dungeonland adventure. They eventually defeat him, but the order to release the chimera has already been given. Clues attest to the fact that he was just an underling to a higher power.
Because the Wyld is strange, and the rules of the Fey are what they are, this could be a very different kind of adventure, one where the Occult skill, and less-used noncombat charms may rule the day.
Episode Five: The Stars are Right
Synopsis: The Wyld Hunt descends on the kingdom. Sidereal can not mistake the portents of Bad Things to Come in the region. Players get to face DBs for the first time, and should kick their butts, until faced with an immaculate Sidereal. Players get their butts handed back to them in spades, and are saved by the lunar in episode three and a special Guest Star Lunar (it is sweeps, after all).
The lunar in episode 3 told the guest star what was going down, and the guest star, who know both the sleeping princess and the chimera, wanted to test it’s might against the chimera. Kicking Wyld Hunt ass with a solar circle is just a bonus.
The Sidereal, to save his own butt, discloses a bit of info that will intrigue everyone: the Masters of the Order have hypothesized a way to treat/cure chimaera and restore the Lunar Society to pre-upsurption Castes. The guest star saves his life, and carries him off to see the No-Moons.
Episode Six: Day of the Dead
Synopsis: Hungry ghosts start to plague the Kingdom. Waves of war ghosts, nephwracks, and finally an Abyssal and her entourage show up. They have been sent to soften the area for the Chimera, and if successful, start the process to convert the area into a Shadowland. They are there to produce as much death as possible, and even by Undead accounts, start to go overboard.
The usual fun then ensues. The Solars defeat the Abyssal, and notice that her badge of rank is the same found in the Gingerbread Castle. So the Big Bad appears to be a Deathlord. The name of the Deathlord sends eerie feelings down everyone’s spine; for some reason, the name rings a chord in a lost memory.
Episode Seven (Part One): We’ve been Volunteered for a Suicide Mission
Another ratings event with a cliffhanger
Synopsis: The guest star from Episode 5 returns. A plan has been formed, and the PCs have been volunteered by the Lunar Society. The Mage in Blue is also thrust into the mess. The No Moons have interrogated the captive Sidereal and a plan has been formulated. The party is to go on a little fact-finding mission, to gather information needed to cure the Chimera and restore the Lunar Society. The Lunars need the talents of the other Exalted because of the location of the information. The Heptagram.
The Mage in Blue’s sorcerous conditioning must be broken by at least Sapphire Level countermagic. This could be a minor plot, or the PC or NPC could just do it. (Of course, being Infernal Exalted, said conditioning was already removed. What the Solars actually remove is some Infernal Conditioning and layered spells!).
The party gets to decide how and where to enter, but it is not a full assault. The Mage in Blue will know of some bolt-holes and back-door entrances. The Sidereal states that only his knowledge can lead them to the location where the information lies, and so he goes with the party. Two Lunars (the Sidereal’s handlers) also go with the party. One is a No-Moon, the other is the Lunar from Episode 5.
Many other Lunars want to play, so they and a horde of aquatic Beastmen will stage a diversionary attack opposite of where the party will enter (they attack the main docks of the Heptagram).
Note: The Mage in Blue (with some info censored), the Lunar from Episode 3, and the Sidereal are all viable characters that can be played in this mission. Solars not used are to be left behind, to guard the Princess from other Abyssal attacks, and become later plot hooks.
The party goes into the Heptagram, goes through traps and tricks, demon guardians and other scenery, and gets to the Inner Chamber, when a door opens and a mage, his eyes full of stars, says “We’ve been expecting you..”
Episode Seven (Part Two): We’ve been Volunteered for a Suicide Mission
Intro: For fun, the ST can play out a big fight with Lunars and their allies, and the Terrestrial magi and their allies. And when the fight starts to go against the Lunars, the scene cuts back to our heroes..
Synopsis: The characters get into a big fight, but are able to grab a big book of magical goodies in the end and flee. The way they came in has been altered, and they are forced out to the docks, where the pitched battle is taking place. They go and start to turn the tide back towards the Lunar’s favor, when a shimmering Sapphire Veil is rendered; standing in formation around the area are Imperial Troops in Heavy Dragon Armor, and a wing from the Immaculate Temple, previously hidden and bolstered above the water by First Age devices.
It gets ugly very quickly. Then the Ace of Aces appears: Leviathan. He rends the docks while a new wave of fresh Lunars and Beastmen fight to support a general retreat (the info gained is too important to let go).
When the docks go, the player characters go under. Leviathan can say some silique (such as “Too long have I spent becoming the beast I feared in my youth. I can feel in the deep currents of the world a change that is coming. Help my people meet their fate the way Luna has decided, not the niggling Sidereals...”)
The characters (and numerous dead and drowned bodies) then wash up on another shore close to the Kingdom, minus the Sidereal and the No-Moon.
Episode Eight: Return to Nightmare
Synopsis: The Deathlord has sent an army to take over the kingdom while the PCs were away. They return to a kingdom that has been occupied by the Undead. The Princess has not been found, but any character left behind has been captured. The PCs get to have a jailbreak. This is where the Night caste can really shine.
Episode Nine: Season Finale
Synopsis: The PCs should be rescued, and perhaps an Abyssal lieutenant dispatched at the end of Episode Eight. A they are leaving the area to regroup, the Deathlord itself appears. The players should recognize the DL as one of the Solars from the Prologue/Teaser! They characters may also recognize the DL from a previous memory. (Which person from the prologue is up the ST). The Deathlord is there is set up an Abyssal Artifact to open the way for the Chimera, and to get the final plan rolling. The Mage in Blue disappears to his tower, leaving the party behind and becomes a NPC again. There in his tower, he contacts his dark masters. They have some inkling why the DL is there and setting up his artifact. He becomes a turncoat, leading a squad to the Solar’s hiding place if they have the key, or to the Monitoring Station if he still has the key (if the second, the PCs should be allowed to see him leading the hit squad towards the Monitoring Station. They should have enough power to overcome the squad.)
The normal sequence of events if no outside involvement:
1) The DL starts to operate his Abyssal Artifact. Much of the population goes into feeding it. Negative energy starts to surround it, building up to fearful proportions. It will be released at the right time. This lasts as long as is needed for the characters to perform their heroic maneuvering. 2) The Monitoring Station is removed by Oblivion level sorcery ritual. 3) The Princess is exposed, and a Chimera is summoned to the spot. 4) The Chimera warps Creation and tries to take out both the Princess and the DL. The DL is well protected by spells, armor, Charms, Abyssal minions, etc., and focuses his death energies at the Princess herself. 5) Once she is slain, and the Impediment unguarded, Wyld energy from the Chimera should begin to warp the linchpin. 6) The DL slays the chimera, and unleashes the energy from the artifact. 7) Creation become suffused with death energy, beginning it’s inevitable creep towards Oblivion.
Of course, the heroes will not sit by. They have many options, and enough time if they need it (up to a reasonable excuse- remember, this whole series is like a serial TV show).
Some possible actions by the players: 1) Remember what killed the DL from the prologue, and finding the same weapon. It should be able to kill the DL again. The death dealing item could be a personal item from the prologue also. 2) Fire up and repair the Warstriders, and lay waste 3) Summon the Lunar hordes for a final showdown 4) Sabotage the Abyssal Artifact Anyway, let them have the fight of their life. Let the characters mop the field of lesser minions, and start at the DL itself.
Then let the Chimera arrive.
A good ‘ole but kicking should ensue, and let the chips fall where they lie. Help does arrive in two unexpected places:
1) The Mage in Blue, under orders, tries to wrest control of the artifact or spell summoning the Chimera away from the DL. He is ordered to destroy the DL, and has been sent demon minions to help him. The Infernals see that the time is right, and launch their greatest Plan. Whatever happens, the DL is distracted and may have to fight against several fronts. The Mage in Blue is finally exposed for what he is, and all will recognize him from the prologue. The DL will most definitely try to take him out first, leaving him near death, as to have a prisoner to torture for the next thousand years...
The whole Impediment erupts in Essence. The Realm’s defense grid has been activated. The Princess is covered with welts and burns, and rises from the Stone screaming: “The Bride Returns! We can not hold the defense!” A concussion retort knocks all down to their feet. Undead die has Essence from the Defense Grid washes the area of Foes. The DL escapes.
Another pair of shadows come out and over the body of the Mage in Blue. One of the PCs makes them out: it is the Sidereal from Episode Five and the Sidereal from the Prologue (the Vizier). A conversation goes:
Ep5 Sid: “You were right master. He was the Infernal one we have tracked all these years (kicks at the dead body of the Mage in Blue).” Prol Sid: “Yes, just as I believed; but you too were right. By going to the Underworld and studying the Stars, we were able to defeat this plan.” Ep5 Sid: “And the Greater Plan?” Prol Sid: “ For that, we let these young Anathema survive. For that reason we allowed them to leave the Heptagram. Patience young one, all will go as we have foreseen...”
The camera fades on Season One...
Very Cute, Prospero. I like! ^_^ -- BrokenShade