Fighter Header Rough Outlines

I’m posting initial fighter header concepts and welcome feedback. First, some things to keep in mind:

  • These are REALLY subject to change. A lot. Do not get all wrapped up in a character concept based on a skill or even a header still being there in 3 years.
  • Specific numbers are vague estimates and particularly subject to change when I run the math, do some balance experiments, and work on statting. They’re more there to give you a general idea of magnitude at this point.
  • See previous post for an explanation of the Focus/per battle/per event system.
  • See top of header list for notes about what all fighters get for free, and consider the headers not as standalone things, but in combo with open skills and other headers.
  • Bear in mind that in this system, I am trying to shift the burden of keeping the fighters up back to the healers, so fighters do not get a ton of defenses or self-healing or infinite free armor refits. This is on purpose and part of the core VM skill philosophy.
  • This will be a high starting CP game, and you will be able to start with a whole bunch of skills.
  • There will also be many enticing add on headers, racial headers, divine bloodline headers, etc. And you will get some of those headers for free. So your core class skills will only be part of the package, and are very focused on combat. RP skills, utility skills, and flavor skills will tend to come from other sources. I anticipate many people may buy 30-80% of their skills from other headers.
  • Punch traits here mean traits which most common defenses (parries, avoids, etc) will not work on, and which will affect nearly everything even if it is otherwise immune to stuff.

Here’s the kind of feedback I’m looking for:

  • I would LOVE to hear which headers you personally find most and least appealing. This is a great way to tell which headers still need work. (I may even post a poll on this at some point.) Even if you’re not a “rules person,” post and tell me which specialties you’d take if you were playing a fighter!
  • Please tell me if you see a header that you feel is a “must have” that people would be shooting themselves in the foot not to take. I want PCs to be able to choose headers based on preference and concept without feeling like they NEED to take header X to be effective.
  • Let me know if any headers look particularly over or under powered overall, or seem to be missing something key they would need and not be able to easily make up with an open skill or a second specialty.
  • I am less interested in feedback on specific skills, since the skills are all still very much in development and WILL change once I run some math, and more on overall header feedback. That said, if you see a skill that you find particularly exciting or problematic, feel free to let me know. Just bear in mind that there aren’t a lot of specifics given on the skills here, and what specifics there are are likely to change, so don’t get hung up on those.
  • Let me know if I’m missing anything you think is key for fighters to have, or if there’s a key ability you think should be in Open skills rather than in specialty headers, or if the converse is true and there’s something that appears too often, etc…Overall distribution of skills/effects stuff is good.

Some rules about feedback:

  • No specific skill proposals, please. Getting those from PCs is weird and conflict-of-interest-y. General “What about skills like…” or “This header seems to be missing X kind of skill” type feedback is fine.
  • No arguing a specific point back and forth. It can dominate comments unduly. Make your point and MAYBE do ONE rebuttal if you really can’t help yourself. Then let it go. I will delete comments that are rathole-ing too deep (even if they’re otherwise fine and wonderful), just to keep this thread uncluttered so I can refer to it more easily when making revisions (because I really do value your feedback!).
  • Try to keep each point brief. I’ll ask you for more detail if I don’t get it. This makes for easier reference when I come back to make revisions.
  • Feel free to ask questions! Like “Have you considered…” or “How will this work?” I’m happy to answer in most cases.

Again, bear in mind I am going to be making a lot of changes over the next few years, and these may be unrecognizable by the time they’re finalized.

Mages and Healers are coming later. I started with fighters to get my grounding in these rules because fighters are what I’m most familiar with, but I promise I have lots of fun stuff in store for the other classes as well!

Here they are!

Fighter Headers (Sketchy Vague Drafts)

All Fighters:

  • Get all 0 CP skills for free
  • Can buy Open Fighter Skills regardless of specialty
  • Get 2 free Specialty headers (their choice)
  • Can buy additional Specialty headers (CP cost TBD)

0 CP Skills (Free for all fighters)

  • +2 Vitality (+ base 2 = 4 starting Vitality)
  • Full Weapon Style of choice (sword/board, 2 weapons, 2 hander/polearm, bow & sword)

Open Fighter Skills (Available to all Fighters)

  • Armor (physical or dex) (Base 2 pts)
  • Extra Armor – Increases armor value 1 pt (3 total)
  • Refit Armor (dex or phys) – Unlimited between battles; Per battle, refit 1x for free (1 min), then costs 1 Focus to do again (still takes 1 min).
  • Disengage (1x/per battle, then 1 Focus)
  • Parry (2 Focus) (Limit 3x/battle)
  • 3 Damage (per battle; buy up to 4x, then 1 Focus) (works w/bow or melee)
  • Healer Imbue (paired skill) – Full heal, gain 2 Protection, OR 1x 3 Damage (your choice) when healer calls Imbue by X (key trait TBD)
  • More Vitality – buy up to 2x (up to 6 total)
  • Resist Fear (1x/battle, then 1 Focus)

Fighter Specialties

(Fighters get X (2?) Specialty headers for free, then can buy more)

Skirmisher

  • Backstab – 3 Damage By <Punch Trait> from behind (per battle; more for 2 Focus ea; buy up to 3x)
  • Waylay – Stun (2 Focus) (behind only)
  • Purge Root, Slow, Maim Leg (& take dam) (1 Focus)
  • Agony (1 Focus)
  • Death from behind (per event; buy up to 3x)

Ranger

  • Purge Root, Slow, Maim Leg (& take dam) (1 Focus)
  • Stabilize at 1 min instead of dying (per event; buy up to 3x)
  • Avoid (per event; buy up to 3x)
  • Maim (per battle; up to 3x; more w/1 Focus)
  • Heal 3 to Self (per event; up to 3x)

Warrior

  • Maim (per battle; buy up to 3x; then 1 Focus)
  • 5 Damage OR 3 Damage By <Punch Trait> (2 Focus)
  • 1x Per event – No effect to uncalled so long as you don’t call an attack or smart defense
  • Reduce called damage – take half (rounded up) on first hit (1x/battle; buy up to 3x)
  • Healer’s Best Friend (get healing pool can use to top off when take healing effect)

Champion

  • 5 Damage OR 3 Damage By <Punch Trait> (2 Focus)
  • Each battle, pick a target & do +1 to all called attacks vs. that target
  • Purge Weakness, Maim Arm, or Silence & take damage (1 Focus)
  • 3x 4 Damage OR 3x 2 Damage By <Punch Trait> burst vs. 1 opponent (per event; buy up to 3x)
  • Reduce Death to Unstable (per event) (buy up to 3x)

Netherblade

  • Frenzy to self and swing nothing but 3 Damage (per event; buy up to 3x; effect ends when Frenzy ends)
  • Damage self, then swing double that damage at opponent (must stay up; comes out of Vitality, not armor) (per battle; buy up to 3x)
  • Death, but then take an Agony & that arm is Short Maimed (per event; buy up to 3x)
  • Focus on sword, take Agony, call Imbue; now have 2x Agony, Maim, or 2 Damage (Per battle; buy up to 3x; only imbue one at a time)
  • 5 Dam by <punch trait>, but take 3 Dam by <punch trait> (2 Focus)

Sword Dancer

  • Disarm (2 Focus)
  • Riposte – “Reflect by Riposte” to 1 melee damage attack (per event; up to 3x)
  • Lucky – Reduce Death to unstable (per event; buy up to 3x)
  • If you do a trademark pose/stance, sword flourish, or personal tagline before battle, come in w/Guard vs. Called Melee (1x/battle)
  • Call out a specific opponent, or do a stance/flourish/tagline at them (they don’t have to notice) & gain a Double 5 Damage OR Double 3 by <punch trait> against them (per event; buy up to 3x)

Bloodblade

  • Blooding the Blade – On willing or helpless Exalted, call Waste 1 Vitality (by weapon) & then Diagnose [PC Bloodline], then Imbue to Blade. (Once you have a bloodline imbued in your blade, can use any skills that draw on that bloodline; lasts until you reset per battle skills or until used (whichever comes second, so if you don’t use it in a battle it sticks around); can only carry 1 bloodline on a given blade at a time.) (Prereq for all other Bloodblade skills)
  • Blooded Strike – 5 Damage By <Punch Trait> (Dawn, Iron, Fire) (2 Focus)
  • Blood Calls to Blood – 3 Damage By <Punch Trait> (Forest, Ocean, Dawn) and heal 3 to self (2 Focus)
  • Bloodbind – Short Paralyze (Winter, Mist, Dusk) (2 Focus)
  • Bloodwrack – Agony and Drain (Ocean, Mist, Dusk) (per event; buy up to 3x)
  • Bloodbreak – 3x Maim OR Agony (Iron, Fire, Winter, Forest)

Bladebound

(Has Nether Link with sword) (Has some kind of cool magic weapon (divine, Fae, draconic, spirit, whatever) with its own powers) (Can buy up to 5 skills in this header, but not all)

  • Immune to Destroy
  • If deathstrike opponent, gain 3 Damage attack (Limit?? Or consequence if do too many, like Frenzy? Or first X are free, then Focus?)
  • If deathstrike opponent, heal 2 (per battle for free, then 1 Focus; buy up to 3x)
  • Physically block spells w/sword
  • +1 to called damage vs. specified opponent type (from list: undead, Titan, Kami/Sprites, Disaster, etc) (call as “to X”)
  • Can choose to call attacks by trait (from phys/ment/meta/elem)
  • Resist Disarm; if you lose it or is stolen, will always find its way back to you (may take time) (can grab it if nearby and already going spirit for any reason); If someone else has it, can Disarm <Weapon> by gesture
  • If parry (physically or with skill) an attack with the weapon, can call Absorb and then call that attack on someone else (except Inflicts/Imbues, double/triple/chained, or by punch traits; can’t be from friend) in same battle. (Per event; buy up to 3x)
  • 10 Damage 1x/event (buy up to 3x)
  • Call Ambient Parry by Weapon to a Deathstrike on you 1x/event (even if unconscious/paralyzed/etc) (buy up to 3x)

Archer

  • Fight sword & bow (including bow parry without needing to restring)
  • Shoot 15(?) arrows & then refit for 1 min or spend 1 Focus for instant refit
  • Focus on a foe w/drawn arrow for 10 seconds & do 5 Damage By <Punch Trait> (2 Focus)
  • Triple 5 Damage (per event; buy up to 3x)
  • Agony (1 Focus) Double 3 Damage (2 Focus)
  • By Your Name 5 Damage (per event; buy up to 3x)

Skill Frequency and Reset Thoughts

Vox Mundi is, generally speaking, likely going to have three different skill frequencies:

Per battle – These will be the kind of bread and butter skills you’re going to use in pretty much every fight. In most cases, you’ll get between 1-3 free uses per battle (depending on how many times you buy the skill), and then you can optionally spend Focus to use it again. This will include really standard stuff like basic damage and healing.

Focus – These skills cost Focus every time you use them. You’ll get about 50 Focus for the entire weekend. These will be bigger skills with more oomph to them, like takeout effects, big damage, Avoids, that sort of thing. There is no reset aspect to Focus or these skills… You just have your pool for the weekend, and when you use it up, it’s gone. It’s up to you how you manage your Focus budget.

Per Event – These are big explodey showoff skills. You save these for when the stuff really hits the fan, you need to try to solo a lieutenant or help take down a boss, really punch a line, half your mod group is down, etc. Some of these you might be able to use up to three times an event (depending on how many times you buy it), while others might be one only. There will not be a Karma style mechanic to use per event skills again, since most of them you can buy more than once.

I’m pretty happy with this general spread, though I may tweak how I execute it a bit to try to simplify and make it more consistent. I like the basic dynamic of always having basic stuff you can do every battle, but having to be strategic about when you use your bigger stuff, with the option to really pull out the stops and have a crazy badass heroic moment if you want to blow your clip all at once.

One thing I’m trying to decide is how to handle the per battle skill reset mechanic. I’ve seen this executed a variety of different ways in the games I’ve played, from a 5 minute reset anytime and anywhere, to a reset only in a specific location, etc.

Originally my thought was to have it require 5 minutes of rest in any situation where you are not near enough to a battle to be potentially involved in it, basically. I figured this would allow people to reset while just casually RPing around town without letting them reset in most mods or battles (unless we deliberately put in a break to give them the chance to do so).

However, now I’m wondering if I should just keep it simple and make that five minutes of rest anywhere, anytime, and if you really want to do that in a module, go for it. Honestly, if it’s the kind of encounter where you feel the need to spend 5 minutes resetting your skills, probably you need them. And since the heavier hitting stuff will all be Focus driven anyway and not require or be reset by a per battle reset, it doesn’t seem like getting your basic healing pool or a few 3 Damages back is going to unbalance anything. Plus, letting PCs do their per battle resets in a mod or field fight if they really want to ensures that no one will become completely tapped to the point where they’re just luggage… and it takes the burden off Plot to remember to reset PCs in really long mods or fights.

Am I overlooking anything? Is there a reason I’m not thinking of why making per battle resets REALLY per encounter rather than resetting with 5 minutes rest is better? Thoughts welcome!

History Overview

Here’s a brief overview of some key points of history, cobbled from my notes. Again, this is all in development and may change.

The Titans

When the world was formed, the stuff left over from its making became the Titans. They despised Creation, of which they were not a part, and sought to subjugate it, twist it, break it. These monstrous creatures—some terrifyingly powerful—destroyed and slaughtered, spreading misery and demanding human sacrifice.

Some mortals worshipped the Titans, out of terror. Others tried to fight them, but none could prevail. They were far too strong. The Titans wreaked their ruin upon the land and people, destroying and defiling the creation they hated one agonizing piece at a time. This was an age of horror, and history does not record how long it lasted.

Then the world itself lifted all its voices in protest. The sun, moon, and stars found their voices, crying out against the Titans. The seasons in their turning, the wind in its blowing, the sea in all its restless power and glory; each rose up, given a voice to speak and a will to act. The towering mountains, the velvet night and all its terrors, the searing riddle of the fire—every Aspect of the natural world, silent until now, stepped forth from the Nether in a form of power and wonder, given shape and tongue by one united desire: to cast the Titans down.

And thus the Gods were born.

The Gods gave battle to the Titans, and apocalyptic war raged across the land. To aid them, the Gods called forth sprites and kami, lesser spirits of the Aspect they embodied. They called forth the Dragons, from the wildest and harshest places of Creation: from the heart of the volcano, the jagged storm-lashed rocks of the coast, the ice crevasses of the northern wastes. The Fae came to fight beside the Gods as well, answering their call, in a glorious host that bent the Nether to their will.

The Gods cast down the Titans and slew them, sundering them into chaos once more. But it is said their hateful spirits are too strong to die, and linger on, craving vengeance, awaiting a chance for resurrection.

(Note: This happened at the earliest dawn of history, thousands of years ago.)

The Court of Disaster

With the Titans gone, civilization grew. Some Gods were fascinated by mortals and went among them, protecting and even loving them. Many Gods stayed aloof from mortals, preferring the wilds. And some despised mortals, for a variety of reasons.

Those who despised the mortals sought to wipe them out as a pestilence, and war broke out between the Gods themselves. Those who sided against the mortals were known as the Court of Disaster, as their hatred of mortals meant their Aspects came to herald doom and destruction for humans: things like storms, volcanoes, earthquakes, etc.

The mortals bore the brunt of the war, but in time, their side prevailed. The victorious Gods and their half-mortal children, the Exalted, bound the defeated Court of Disaster in crypts dispersed throughout the land.  To appease the wild Gods who disapproved of the war, and to avoid another divine war and the destruction it would wreak, most of the Gods withdrew to the Netherworld and stopped walking the land, save only for brief visits.

The Red Emperor and the High King

After the departure of the Gods, for a long time mortals lived in relative peace. They formed into various kingdoms, tribes, countries, city-states, and so on, with only minor clashes. The Firstborn (first generation Exalted) mostly preferred not to fight one another, and in those early days, the Firstborn ruled.

As more Firstborn died, passed into the Netherworld, or withdrew from politics, the balance of power became more volatile. War between kingdoms became commonplace; and with Exalted joining the fray, the battles were often bloody and destructive. It was a dark and violent period in history.

During this time, scholars discovered that Exalted could use their own blood for magical power. But then an Exalted known to history as the Red Emperor made a darker discovery: that you could use the blood of other, unwilling Exalted as well. He hunted Exalted and drained their blood to increase his own power, until his domain spread in blood and conquest across much of the land.

The remaining free nations had to cease their quarrels and wars and band together to stop him. They formed a Council of Nations and chose from among their royal number one to be High King. Under the High King’s banner they fought the Red Emperor and cast him down.

Since that day, there has always been a High King or Queen, chosen by a Council from the royal families or Exalted rulers of the various nations. The High King mostly leaves the nations to govern themselves, but can step in to resolve disputes, lead the nations when they must come together for a common cause or against a common enemy, and moderate diplomatic relations between nations. In some reigns, the High King leaves the nations entirely to themselves; in others, the High King rules as an absolute monarch, as if the world were one nation.

Recent History

(This is still in development, so I’m going to be very vague and brief here)

Sometime around 10-20 years ago (exact date TBD), a small number of the Court of Disaster (3-ish) got free from their prisons, and since then mortals have been fighting a bitter and bloody war against angry Gods bent on wiping them out. Much more on this coming, but suffice to say that’s the pressing context at the start of the campaign.

The game takes place at Bellator Keep, a remote but tactically important international diplomatic, military, and research outpost built on/near some ancient ruins. PCs will be stationed at the Keep in one or more of its core capacities (as diplomats, military, and/or scholars). LOTS more coming (eventually) on that.

Nether Links

(Continuing to post stuff here I originally posted on social media, sometimes with updates)

Exalted have a presence in the Netherworld as well as the mortal one. The emotional or symbolic connections Exalted make to people, places, or even objects can form very real corresponding links in the fabric of the Nether. For instance, a mother has a connection to her child, or a ruler to their kingdom; close friends, spouses, and even mortal enemies might form ties in the Nether.

These naturally forming channels are usually tenuous wisps, not strong enough to support a flow of magic. However, some circumstances can reinforce such a connection, strengthening and stabilizing it into a Nether Link. Circumstances that might create a full Nether Link include (but are not limited to):

  • Some people form a connection so deep and strong that a Nether Link forms naturally, on its own. This is unusual, but not unheard of.
  • Two Exalted who already share a connection (friendship, kinship, an oath between them, etc) can agree to form a Nether Link with each other, usually performing a simple rite to seal the link. Both participants must be willing to form such a link.
  • Some powerful beings, spirits, or even items or places may create a Nether Link unilaterally. For instance, you might unintentionally gain a Nether Link to a cursed item when you pick it up, or a Fae lord might bind you with a Nether Link if you promised him a favor.
  • Bindings (Bound headers & other magical effects) often involve a Nether Link. A Binding is basically a structured Nether Link defined for a particular purpose.

Nether Links may never come to anything, or they may wind up having plot effects. Some ritual magic and other powerful beings or forces may be able to act upon or exploit Nether Links. On an OOG level, Nether Links are also a great way to show Plot what your character cares most about. You can roleplay feeling a strong magical connection to people with whom you form a Nether Link.

All Nether Links flow both ways. Forming a voluntary Nether Link with someone is a profound sign of trust. Despite the risks involved, most Exalted consider it a good idea to have at least one or two Nether Links as a sort of precaution or anchor; having trusted friends or kin with Nether Links to you can prove invaluable if you fall under some malign effect on your mind or spirit, become lost in the Netherworld, etc.

Each PC can start out with X pre-existing Nether Links based on their character history (Where X is a number to be defined, probably around 3-ish?). You can also forge X new Nether Links per event (Where X is a smaller number, probably 1?). If a plot effect gives you a Nether Link, it will usually not count toward this total.

Voluntary Nether Links between two PCs do not generally require Plot approval so long as you have a preexisting connection. Links to NPCs, places, etc. do require Plot approval; you can attempt the link in game, and assume it takes time to determine whether it worked (ask in your PEL).

Less formal-sounding notes:

I will probably have some kind of Google form where you can enter your (old and new) Nether Links so I can have them in a spreadsheet for easy reference. Uh, no reason. I just…like spreadsheets.

Note that character history Nether Links to NPCs (even ones you make up) will require approval, while ones to fellow PCs won’t so long as they are mutually agreed on. If you have a Nether Link with another PC, it will take a slot for both of you.

The main reason I’m putting a limit on Nether Links is so we don’t wind up with some people going completely Nether Link crazy and linking to everybody they meet and their dog and every tree on the campsite and…yeah. It may or may not wind up being a hard limit; there is a chance it will be more of a guideline (unless things start getting out of hand). Not yet decided.

Nether Links that are required parts of PC skills (like Bound headers) will not count towards your limit.

Fighter Header Teasers

So I’ve been working on the rules lately, and am starting to get the fighter headers into good shape. (Mage is next, then Healer.)

To give you an idea of the general structure of Vox Mundi skills, you take a core class (Fighter, Mage, or Healer), each of which has a bunch of open skills within the class (8-10) and a bunch of mini-headers within the class (also 8-10). The mini-headers have about 5 skills each in them, and you get 2 mini headers within your class for free.

You can’t buy skills from another class, but you CAN buy a bajillion openly available little mini headers that are not in any particular class, which include headers that let you dabble a bit in another class’ specialty, as well as various utility, flavor, and specialization type headers. There will be probably dozens of these and they will be super fun. There may even be a few info skills (insert scuffling noises as my staff attempt to restrain me).

Everyone will wind up starting with several mini headers, some inside their class and some outside, as well as racial and divine bloodline skills, so hopefully we can have a wide and interesting spread of characters who don’t all seem the same. (This will be a high starting CP game. You’re descended from Gods, after all.)

So anyway, the fighter header ideas I’m playing with currently have some based on your combat role and some that are more flavor driven. An overview:

Skirmisher – Backstabbiness

Warrior – Tank

Champion – Boss-killer

Ranger – Solo

Sword Dancer – Froofy showoff

Netherblade – Channel dangerous power into your sword that hurts you or makes you crazy

Bloodblade – Instead of poisons, use your blood or other PC blood to Imbue your sword with effects

Bladebound – Linked to your sword/weapon [UPDATE: I am folding this together with Artifact Weapon, below. So there will be a long list of properties you can pick for your linked magic weapon, but with a limit of 5 (so not all the weapons are alike, but you still don’t get more skills than the other headers).

Artifact Weapon – Your weapon is magic and you can pick a few cool properties for it

Archer – Archer [NEW]

There is some chance I will wind up rolling Bladebound together with Artifact Weapon. Not sure yet.

UPDATE: Yeah, I’m definitely rolling Bladebound and Artifact Weapon together into one header, and also I am adding an Archer header.

Fighters are mostly focused on offense, with scant defenses, and will rely on Healers to keep them in the fight. I have some skills that emphasize/reward teamwork.

Some of the flavors you see here will have counterparts in Mage & Healer headers, too. For instance, Exalted blood is a legit power source in this game, though you are REALLY supposed to acquire it willingly. Because, you know, assault and/or murder of Exalted is wicked illegal. (Exalted blood also is the primary ritual power component, by the way.)

And there will be Nether mages and Nether healers, and mages and healers can also have cool artifacts, and so on… and they also have some nifty unique flavors of their own.

Divine Bloodlines

Every PC is a descendant of a God. But not a recent descendant—a member of an ancient divine bloodline.

The Gods rose up to fight the Titans when the world was young. They are the voices of the world itself, raised against the Titans who marred and broke and twisted creation. All Gods thus represent aspects of the natural world—there are no Gods of human abstract concepts like love, war, etc.

There are many Gods, most of them without known descendants. PCs must be members of any one of eight divine bloodlines (I may allow individual PCs to have more than one bloodline, but that’s TBD). These are the most common divine bloodlines, with hundreds or thousands of living Exalted descendants.

All details are subject to change, and the genders of the Gods are also very not finalized.

Short Blurbs

Dawn God-
The Dawn God’s descendants bring hope and light, but they know well the shadows. They are often optimistic and compassionate, but express it in varying ways.

Dusk Goddess-
The Dusk Goddess’ descendants face the coming darkness with deep wisdom. They carry the last light to its end, welcoming the shadows unafraid.

Mist Goddess-
The mist both hides and reveals, a source of insight and vision as well as deception and stealth. The Mist Goddess’ descendants often reflect this dual nature.

Fire Goddess-
The Fire Goddess’ descendants are often temperamental and passionate. They balance creation and destruction, protection and violence, like the fire itself.

Iron Goddess-
Some call the descendants of the Iron Goddess harsh and unyielding. But these are times of iron and steel, which call for strength that will not bend or break.

Sea God-
The Ocean God’s descendants can be unpredictable, their emotions deep and often hidden, rising to the surface at unexpected times in sudden storms.

Winter Goddess-
A cold beauty that destroys and delights, winter can be playful or merciless. It is best not to make enemies of the Winter Goddess’ children, for winter’s memory is long.

Forest God-
The forest is a place of growth and life. But in its shadows hungry things hunt and kill, roots drinking the red blood. The Forest God’s descendants reflect this cycle.

Problem Solvers

(Since this is an informal blog, I can paste in this silly thing from my notes, right?)

Actually, a good way to get a shortcut to the core of the Gods’ personalities is that their Aspect is how they solve their problems.

Dawn God – I solve my problems with light! Bweem!
Dusk Goddess – I solve my problems with shadow. Shhh.
Mist Goddess – I solve my problems with mist. Woooooo. (Mysterious finger wiggles)
Fire Goddess – I solve my problems with FIRE. HA HA HA HA WHEEE!!!
Iron Goddess – I solve my problems with iron, bitches.
Sea God – I solve my problems with the ocean. If that confuses you, good. (If it makes MORE problems, too bad.)
Winter Goddess – I solve ALL THE PROBLEMS with Winter. Game over.
Forest God – I solve my problems with trees and animals and stuff. If you’re not a tree or an animal, maybe YOU are the problem.

More About the Gods

Here are some more completely informal bullet points about the Gods pasted from my notes. Note that these (like the Problem Solvers notes above) are about the Gods, not the divine bloodlines, but a typical Exalted will probably inherit at least one or two of the personality characteristics of their divine ancestor.

The Dawn God & the Dusk Goddess

* Twins, naturally
* They get along great (working in balance/partnership and understanding each other well) and share that they are about this mysterious, magical, transformative time of day.
* Both have to do with mysteries & secrets… the Dusk Goddess protects and hides, while the Dawn God reveals and illuminates
* They are about between places and transitions and transformations
* Dawn is more about hope, Dusk more about solace
* Dusk is wise and knowledgable, while Dawn is intuitive and insightful

The Mist Goddess

* Mysterious, subtle, evasive/aloof
* Deep insight into people’s hearts/minds/souls (she can see through the mists)
* Very in tune with the Nether
* Can infiltrate anywhere/anything… good at getting past barriers/wards during the Titan war
* Associated with stuff like mystical portals, magic mirrors, divination, weird magical finger-wiggly stuff
* Also obfuscation, misdirection, trickery, and mischief

The Fire Goddess

* Both the hearth fire that sustains and the inferno that destroys
* Can shift quickly from protective to destructive; tempermental, passionate, ever-changing, impulsive
* Fundamentally is destructive, but her friendship with/love for mortals taught her the restraint needed to be nurturing instead at times… but she slips VERY easily and eagerly back into rampaging (cheerful) destruction
* Generally upbeat and bright rather than dour and rageful (though when she does get pissed, watch out)
* Also the Goddess of property damage and civilian casualties, but what can you do

The Iron Goddess

* So stubborn and hardass.
* Also badass. Tough, enduring. All that stuff. Do Not Mess With Her.
* Very no-nonsense. Can be brittle and snap.
* Taught humans to forge iron into weapons (during the Titan War, to help them fight)
* Straightforward, practical, direct, decisive

The Sea God

* Mysterious, unreadable, unpredictable, hidden depths
* Changing temperament; can be sunny and calm one day, then raging and tempestuous the next (mood swings)
* Charismatic, compelling, even haunting
* Can be possessive, jealous; but can also be generous
* Can be broody, but also sounds the call to adventure that tugs at mortal hearts

The Winter Goddess

* Cold, aloof, in control; has her shit together
* Beautiful, glorious, gracious; can be playful and charming, but always cold underneath
* Merciless, making no allowances for weakness (even in those she cares for); “suffering makes you stronger” attitude
* Silence, stillness, endings, purity

The Forest God

* The Forest God is protective of his own: his children, the creatures and plants of the forest, and forest kami and sprites. But he has no love for mortals who do not respect the forest, and do harm to it rather than living in harmony with it.
* Tends to favor Faekin and Werekin (and fullblooded Fae), though he’s fine with others who live in harmony with the land as well.
* Predator/prey relationships and hunting are part of the natural cycle, so he’s fine with violence and murder; but so is growth and nurturing, so he’s also fine with healing and protecting and all that peaceful stuff. He has a broader palette of experience and expression that in some ways makes it easier for him to understand mortals and for them to understand him.
* He has a long, patient view (like an ancient tree), and does not anger easily, but once he’s angry, his vengeance can be terrible.
* Cool with anything part of the natural cycle; contempt for anything not part of it (let’s say he’s not really into cities and city life).
* Patient, watchful, observant.

Race & Nationality

All Vox Mundi PCs will have a race and nationality.

The cultural aspects of each of these are all still very much in development, and even names of countries and the like may change. Definitely don’t get too attached to any specifics here. But the overall spread of basic flavors will likely remain the same.

Note that you will be allowed to play multi-race or multi-nationality characters (doing makeup for multiple races).

Also note that this is an empire with a ton of cross-cultural exchange that’s been going on for thousands of years. So it’s very typical for someone to, say, have a mom from Vashava and a dad from Rilannon but live in Dolmark and prefer Tokado fashion and Andar cuisine, while also appreciating Skykin poetry and making frequent visits to your Wyrkin cousins, etc.

Race

Human – Versatile and resilient, humans make up the vast majority of the population and are the oldest of the five races of the Empire. No makeup required.

Faekin – Faekin are descended from both humans and Fae. They have vivid imaginations and vivid dreams, with close ties to the Nether. They avoid lies and are very careful about swearing oaths. Makeup: Pointed ears minimum; glitter, eye makeup optional.

Dragonkin – Dragonkin are descended from humans and Dragons. Proud, fierce, honorable, and passionate, they thrive on adversity. They thirst for adventure and are often restless wanderers. Makeup: partially scaled face minimum; crest, horns, tail optional.

Skykin – The descendents of a human clan and sprites of wind and sky, the mystical Skykin dwell in Eyries, isolated communities high in the mountains. They are known for their insight and perception. Makeup: feathers in hair and/or feathery patterns around eyes; optional wings.

Werekin – Werekin are descendants of humans and a mysterious race of true shapechangers. They take on an animal form at maturity and are more dangerous in moonlight. They are divided into the Vora (mostly canids & felines), the Edaci (bears, weasels, badgers, etc), and the Viridi (hooved mammals like deer, antelope, etc). Makeup: Animal people makeup.

Note: You can play a halfblood character by mixing the makeup of multiple races (for instance, a Faekin/Skykin might have pointed ears, glitter, and feathers).

Nationality

Overall, the Empire draws costuming (& cultural) inspiration from most cultures along the Silk Road, from Europe through Asia and with bonus North Africa. Time periods from the middle ages through the 17th Century are fair game. There is much cultural exchange and trade, so it is quite common to wear the traditional clothing of a different country than your own or to mix it up. Note that these fantasy countries are at least somewhat (and sometimes very) different in culture & history from the ones from which they draw costuming inspiration: Vashava is not just fantasy India, Tokado is not fantasy Japan, etc.

Vashava – A crossroads of trade and culture, refined and urbane Vahsava is ruled by a council of powerful Exalted families. Subtle and sometimes manipulative, merchants and negotiators at heart, they continually maneuver in an intricate dance of power. Costuming: Influenced by India/South Asia

Kazarand – In the harsh steppes and mountains of Kazarand dwell semi-nomadic warrior clans who treasure family, friends, and home and protect them fiercely from the dire creatures that prowl their borders. Stories, music, and laughter keep them warm on cold nights. Costuming: Influenced by Mongolia/Central Asia/Russia

Dolmark – Dolmark’s shining court of chivalry and benevolent King have taken a somewhat darker turn since he became Deathbound. Honor and selfless service war with fatalistic gloom in both the court and the people. Costuming: Gothic/Medieval Europe (especially northern & eastern)

Tokado – An ancient treaty balancing power between noble families of the five races shattered into a civil war that has torn Tokado apart for decades. Its people prize art and spirituality, creating beauty as a refuge from war. Costuming: Influenced by East and Southeast Asia (Japan/China/Korea/Thailand/etc)

Andar – Andar was a nation of scholars, with great libraries and colleges. But the Court of Disaster attacked Andar first, and now most of the libraries are destroyed and the sages scattered or killed. Its people fight to the death to protect what knowledge remains. Costuming: Influenced by North Africa (Morocco, Egypt, etc) & the Middle East

Rilannon – The immortal River Queen presides over the trade cities gracing the Empire’s rivers like freshwater pearls. Gregarious, observant, and quick to gossip, her people boast the best spy network in the Empire and throw the best parties. Costuming: Influenced by 17th Century/Baroque Europe (especially western & southern)

Lyr – Lyr holds close ties with the Fae kingdom, with magic in its hills and forests, and a relatively high population of Faekin (including the royal family). Its people honor and protect the land, and often dedicate themselves to a purpose when they reach adulthood. Costuming: Celtic/Fantasy Woodland Ranger influences.

Renaissance European fashions are also popular in all countries. It’s also very common to mix up the fashions, cuisines, etc. of different nations in the same outfit or meal. Pull from all of the above and have fun!