With many thanks to willows!
The Truth of Luna
It was the dawn of the greatest rebellion ever devised, when the Moon walked upon Creation, smiling. In her hands, she held the seed of Change, the seed of Heroism, the seed of power. In her hands, she held Exaltation.
It was with a passionate, delightful kiss that the first Moon-Chosen received his gift, and shone with moonlight from within. And Luna smiled, for he would become a hero in her image. Wielding the essence of change, the command of Creation over the untamed chaos, insanity and dream.
She watched as the First Lunar Exalted spread his arms, his anima showing the true colors of his show and the shape of his dreams. Watched as he said the first words that would bring him his first Charms. Watched as those words came out as insane profanities. Watched as he quivered and twisted. Watched as insanity took him, and his form unraveled in a spiral of flesh and light. Watched as he became unto a primordial behemoth for a moment, and in a scream, was no more.
And cradled the essence of heroism in her hand, seeing her first champion’s form reduced to nothingness.
She tried again. Again and again, on a hundred and eleven heroes. Again and again, each and every one screamed, each and every one had their minds lost to change, each and every one saw their bodies and minds unravel, unable to deal with change. All possibilities, too fluid for a body to hold. A hundred and eleven times, Luna watched her champions unravel, and that made her see what she is. Not a maiden, not a true Celestine.
She cried then, and her tears brought terrible miracles to Creation.
Taking pity on her lover, Gaia approached her in the Sea of Night, soothing her worries, bringing with her a gift... and a solution. In her hand, Gaia held the Infinite Lotus of Life, the representation of all living things on Creation, each petal the essence of a different species, ruled by a different Avatar. With strings of soul and life, she brought the Essences of Lunar Power to the Lotus, and made them one. Tied to it, they would be ruled by one of those petals, and rule over it. Their Totem. Like Luna shone around her, so would her beloved shine around the Lotus, silver moons in the representaton of life.
When a Lunar next received her kiss, his soul dipped into the Lotus, choosing his petal.
When a Lunar next received her kiss, he turned into his totem, the representation of his chosen avatar by instinct.
When a Lunar next received her kiss, he held onto the Totem, small features in all forms, a memory, an anchor.
When a Lunar next received her kiss, he survived.
You see, little one, this is why Lunars have Totems. This is why Lunars have Tells.
And the Lunars hunted, and the Lunars tricked, and the Lunars served with sharp talons and sweet smiles. They protected, as they are meant to, shadows of the throne, protectors of the kingdom, lights that bring safety and dreams, keeping nightmares away. They are part of Creation, of its history, some of its mightest champions, of its mightest servants. For from servitude to something greater, they have always drawn a power all their own, the strength of their devotion. And thus, it worried many when a brash young Lunar ventured into the Wyld without the proper protection, when she fought horrors that nearly claimed the world if not stopped by the the Exalted host. The chaos had filled her form. Made her one with it. Changed her body and soul, until it had nothing to do with Creation anymore. Until all connection with the Lotus of Life was severed, until she had no foothold in Creation anymore.
But she survived.
Without a Totem, without a Tell. She had changed already. She knew how to hold to her form. Even being what she was now. Smiling, she met the Exalted Host once again. A host that paled when they saw that Lunar amongst their enemies. Changed. Twisted. Insane. Out of touch with reality, and with the chaos, wishing her former companions, all of Creation, to see the world like she did. She was not what they understood as a Lunar anymore. She was something else. She was the first Chimera.
You see, little one, the Silver Pact tells you the Chimera are warped Lunars. Corruptions of a Lunar’s true form. They are corrupted, yes... but this corruption brings purity. You see, that is what Chimeras are. They are what Lunars were supposed to be all along. They are What Humans Should Never Become.
The True Form of Lunars.
The Insanity Beyond the World.
That Which No Human Should Ever Be.
What Makes Them Tick
The Chimera are Lunars that are so warped that they lost any and all connection with Creation, with the blood that keeps their forms anchored and prevents them from losing themselves, and survived. In the core of each and every chimera, there is a statement. "I will be constrained only when and how I choose." Created for the Primordial War, like all the Exalted, they had their role. Protectors and Bodyguards. But they protected from more than physical harm. They were supposed to warp the world around them with endless dreams, and fight the Architects of Everything with the ability to Change the world around them, not constrained by any laws or constraits, even Primordials ones.
Pehaps, Luna's idea was flawed from the start, and simply corrected by Gaia. Or pehaps the Chimera, tainted by the Wyld, are not fully as they should be, and the Chimera's disruptive influence on the very laws of Reality and Fate would not be so absolute. Whatever the truth is, what Lunars became with Gaia's aid complemented the other Exalted well... whereas the Chimera as they emerge from Chaos warp them and their world.
Bcoming a Chimera
Without their Moonsilver Tatoos, Lunars acquire mutations like any other creature(and they increase their Experience Costs for Charms and Essence like they do to all others, and make them unreal for purposes such as fighting Fair Folk). However, when they received as many Mutation Points as their Willpower, the rules become... different. They are unable to gain Willpower until they lower their Mutation Score below their willpower... and each and every Mutation Point past this limit lowers their Temperance by one.
If their temporary willpower becomes zero in this state, they explode in moonlight, and their Tell disappears. The area around them becomes like the Wyld, and utterly chaotic if it is the Wyld. Chaos that mirrors their souls, lost to the change without an anchor. Lost in the chaos, the Lunar has to choose, to hold to his power or to let go and let himself be consumed by it, fading his form into nothingness. Either the Lunar will cease to be, or emerge as a Chimera, ripping all the last hooks of Gaia in his soul. Breaking the last restrictions on their form, becoming free.
Without a connection to the Lotus of Life, the Chimera does not possess a Tell or a Totem, and may not access any of the Charms under...
They become unable to absorb forms through their Heart's Blood, and may not have either the Totem or Heart's Blood background.
However, there is no distinction between Forms being True or not anymore - the Chimera may flare to her highest anima levels without changing her form. They possess no Tell to give away their Form or hold the Lunar in any True Form. However, every Chimera has a number of Mutation Points equal to her Willpower score, which appear in each and every form she takes (They may acquire more, and those no longer lower their Temperance score - the Chimera's sanity is now beyond being affected by their shape being warped).
They have magic of their own to obscure the Mutations.
Chimeras do not gain new forms by drinking blood, but by imagining them. They are not constrained in the way Lunars are. A Chimera may channel a Virtue and roll Intelligence+Craft(Shapeshifting) - this will be called the Shapeshifting Roll - the ammount of success is the number of Mutation Points she can use(unless the Chimera wishes to perfectly copy a single being, which adds a difficulty between 1 and 5, depending on how strange or complex the figure).
She remains in this Form until she decides to use this power to change to another shape once again, but may always return to her original form by paying 5 motes. Whenever she changes, she does not keep any but her natural Mutations, and must rely on the successes achieved to organize all other features of her new shape. It may be the shape of Gods or Raksha or Demons or whatever else she can imagine, but it does not change the fundamental nature of the Chimera, only her physical shape. They can shapeshift much more freely, but there is a limit on how much. Forms of Humans and Exalted have their attributes, merits and such as Mutation Points, as noted in the Heart's Blood background.
Chimeras may buy the Faerie All-Consuming God-Monster Stance a number of times equal to their Essence Rating.
Mark of Luna
When the Chimera breaks free of her chains, she is Casteless once again. However, being a Casteless being is harsh on the Chimera, who find themselves more easily distracted, and having a harder time advancing their power(due to the casteless costs and the increase from their Mutations). And they have their own way to fix their Caste. They create a Mandate.
A Mandate is a rule created by the Chimera to bind herself and the world around her. They are not bound by rules they do not wish to be, but they are bound by those they choose. This rule gives the equivalent of a two-dot unusual feature to the Chimera, and with the expenditure of a willpower point, she receives the benefit of a power equivalent of a Terrestrial Circle Sorcery Spell, coming from her Rule. Those work in a way that redefine reality around the Chimera - something works in a way that it should not.
Creatures around the Chimera for longer than a day must make rolls to avoid Mutations as if the Lunar was a Bordermarch - if they fail, their existence falls under the Mandate. The Mandate counts as an Abomination a 6-point Mutation, for purposes of abilities that can cleanse such taints. Mandates include...
- ... that of Alaia the Faceless, who became a Waning Moon by setting forth the Mandate that 'We have no faces, and Masks are our Faces'. As long as she mantains this Mandate, she is faceless, but by placing on a mask and paying 1 willpower, she turns the mask into her face, obscuring herself in a similar way as Disguise of the New Face.
- ... that of Daom, who became a No Moon by setting forth the Mandate that 'We cast no shadows unless we wish to. Our shadows are our soul's reflections, our personal servants.' He does not cast a shadow normally, but may do so in any moment he wishes, and in any direction he whims. By paying 1 willpower, he can have his shadow move away from him, in a similar way as The Spy Who Walks in Darkness.
- ... that of Mistral, who became Waxing Moon by decreeing that 'One's hair is very much alive, a manifestation of one's desires.' It whispers the desires to Mistral and others close to him, moving of its own volition if he is distracted. By paying 1 willpower, however, he may receive a bonus to his Presence, Socialize and Performance rolls equal to his Essence. Alternatively, he could have decreed they are manifestations of his violence, and they would work as The Tree's Many Branches.
A Chimera with a Mandate breaks the world as he goes by, however - every season she remains on Creation, or whenever her anima banner reaches its iconic display level on Creation, she rolls her Essence - if she has at least one success, the Storyteller must roll in the Breach of Destiny table in the page 258 of Exalted: The Sidereals to know how badly they have warped to fabric of Creation.
Needless to say, this causes both Lunars and Sidereals, each Keeper of Reality in their own ways, to hunt for any Chimeras that dwell into Creation. In fact, such creatures have caused Elder Lunars and Bronze Faction functionaries to set their differences aside and work together - their danger is too great.
A Chimera may shift their Mandate by changing their Nature at the end of a Story, choosing another Mandate, and another Caste.
Magic of the Unbound
Taming the Limitless Self
Cost: 6 motes
Minimum Appearance: 2
Minimum Essence: 2
Prerequisite Charms: None
This Charm allows the Chimera to make cosmetic changes to her appearance without the need to spend one of her Virtue Points to change. Such modifications include changing height, weight, hair, eye or skin color, lenghtening or shortening hair length, reshaping a chin or nose, changing the teeth. Tatoos, marks and scars can be made to disappear. The Chimera can even fake bleeding, pregnancy or other such conditions. However, the Chimera may not disguise her Mutations with this Charm, which remain there for all to see.
This Charm gives the Chimera a bonus of her Permanent Essence in dice to disguise attempts, and with the right acumen (usually an Intelligence + Socialize roll), those dice may also be added to certain Presence, Performance or Larceny rolls, as the shape is changed for a certain type of social situation. Those do not count as Charm dice. To gain those dice, the Lunar must spend a number of hours equal to (10 - his Intelligence) crafting those changes, and suceed on an Apperance+Craft(Shapechange) whose difficulty varies from 1 to 5, plus the ammount of dice added by the change. No crafting time is required to gain the bonus to disguise attempts, and the ammount of dice added is not counted into the roll's difficulty for this purpose.
Devour the Fruits of Chaos
Cost: 2 motes per Mutation Point, 1 willpower
Minimum Appearance: 3
Minimum Essence: 3
Prerequisite Charms: Taming the Limitless Self
To achieve their true glory, the Chimera need their scars. The marks of Chaos upon their bodies, burning them, giving them their apotheosis, their freedom. However, a Chimera who desires to be stealthy may temporarily swallow one of those Mutations, hiding the taint on the depths of her soul. With Devour the Fruits of Chaos, the Chimera may hide 1 Mutation Point for every 2 motes spent for as long as the motes remain committed. The Mutation disappears from the Chimera's form and ceases to give its bonuses, but may still be perceived by forms of Essence Sight.
Blossoming The Infinite Garden
Minimum Manipulation: 2
Minimum Essence: 1
Prerequisite Charms: None.
Chimera thrive in creativity. It is at night that Luna shines in the sky, bringing the world endless dreams, ideas, creations. Lunatics think their incoehrent wonders, and geniuses bring light to Creation. Tapping in this powerful force of the mother of dreams, the Chimera blossoms a garden of colors, of creativity within herself. Forever after, the Chimera receives bonus dice to any creative endeavor(including the Shapeshifting roll) equal to her Permanent Essence. Those do not count as Charm Dice, being instead a kind of specialty.
Tasting Endless Creation
Cost: 5 motes
Minimum Manipulation: 3
Minimum Essence: 2
Prerequisite Charms: Blossoming The Infinite Garden
The only thing that prevents the Chimera from achieving the impossible with their Shapeshifting is their imaginations. That is their only limit. But when a Chimera's imagination is not enough... they can simply borrow another's. By touching a willing subject's heart or forehead and using this Charm, the character steals 1 temporary willpower from the subject, which becomes two extra dice for her next Shapeshifting Roll. Raksha, as creatures of pure raw dreams, and Chosen of Secrets and No Moons, keepers of great secrets and tales, give two automatic successes. The Chimera may not accumulate more dice or successes with this Charm than her highest Virtue. Until making the Shapeshifting roll, the Chimera may spend 1 mote to turn into the one she has drained the creativity of.
Cutting the Kaleidoscope of Worlds
Cost: 4 motes, 1 willpower
Minimum Manipulation: 4
Minimum Essence: 3
Prerequisite Charms: Tasting Endless Creation
Sometimes, crumbs of imagination are not enough. They require all the creativity of a great poem or novel to bring about their full potential. Cutting the Kaleidoscope of Worlds requires the Chimera to touch an enemy. In combat, this requires a successful attack. Upon striking, the Chimera does no damage, but must roll a contest between his Willpower and his victim's. Should the Chimera win, she rips a permanent dot of willpower from the victim, receiving her highest Virtue in automatic successes to her next Shapeshifting Roll. Raksha, as creatures of pure raw dreams, and Chosen of Secrets and No Moons, keepers of great secrets and tales, may give their Willpower instead.
The Chimera may not benefit from more one iteration of this Charm at a time, and no single target may be hurt by this more than once per Lunar Month. The willpower returns when the Moon changes for magical beings, but the loss is permanent for Mortals. While the willpower is lost, the victims receive a +2 difficulty in all rolls requiring creativity. Until making the Shapeshifting roll, the Chimera may spend 1 mote to turn into the one she has drained the creativity of, or any of those she loves.
Cauldron of Worlds
Cost: 6 motes, 1 willpower
Duration: One Scene
Minimum Manipulation: 4
Minimum Essence: 4
Prerequisite Charms: Blossoming Thousand-Color Garden
The Chimera changes her lower soul, shifting it from an animal creature to a being of pure, raw creativity, drawing pictures of impossible things onthe back of the Chimera's mind at every minute, creating wonders that should not be for the Chimera to bring to flesh. When using Cauldron of Worlds, the Chimera receives a number of Mutation Points equal to her Highest Virtue for the scene. The Chimera may allocate them to any sort of Mutations, and change those every turn. However, she may not repeat any of those used in the previous turn.
Drawing the Mirror
Minimum Manipulation: 5
Minimum Essence: 4
Prerequisite Charms: Tasting Endless Creation, Thorn of Dreams and Nightmares.
When striking one with the Thorn of Dreams and Nightmares, even if no damage is dealt, the Chimera may draw them out by spending 1 willpower, thus draining 1 temporary willpower from his foe. This can only be done once against an enemy until the Moon changes, but until then, the Chimera may shift into the foe or anyone she loves by spending 2 motes reflexively.
Through Shackles Your Own
Cost: 10 motes, 1 willpower
Duration: One Scene
Minimum Intelligence: 3
Minimum Essence: 3
Prerequisite Charms: None
Nothing may bind the Chimera. Nothing but themselves. With their Mandates, they rewrite reality. And Through Shackles Your Own, the Chimera may create a new mandate when the situation calls for it. The Chimera may not have more mandates active than half her Permanent Essence score, rounded up. If the Chimera spends a Virtue Channel while activating this Charm, the Chimera may break her current mandate and create a new one, instantly shifting her Caste without needing to wait for the end of the Story.