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How common are (non-Player) Exalts in your games?

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  • How common are (non-Player) Exalts in your games?

    2We were trying to get a sense of how common Exalts really were from a Setting perspective. I realise that it's all up to the Story and such what's needed, and that it will vary from game to game - but just like it was nice to get a sense of what sort of Sorcerous Workings one could expect Mortal Sorcerers to be able actually deliver (given time, resources, and some spectacular failures here and there), it's nice to know if the number of Exalts involved in a game makes sense.

    In an attempt to get some figures, I counted the number of land-squares on the Map (may be a bit off as it's not that easy to accurately gauge it by eye), but the breakdown is somewhere around:

    Excluding the West, there are approximately 436 squares worth of Land (based on the Map with lines marking 500 by 500 mile squares).

    17 of these make up The Blessed Isle, and 71 of them are in the outer border of the map, leaving roughly 365 squares where you would typically find non-Dragon Blood, non-Lunar Exalts.

    If we assume that roughly 20% of the relevant Exalts belong in the West, I can guesstimate on the number of Exalts per square.

    Based on the common assumptions for number of the various Exalt Types as far as I know, we're talking about:
    Type #
    Solars 150
    Exigents 50
    Liminals 50
    Abyssals 100
    Infernals 50

    I'm leaving Dragon Blooded, Lunars, and Sidereals out. Even though Liminals, Abyssals, and Infernals are not necessarily present in Creation, it's fair to assume that they typically operate within a certain area of Creation, so it makes sense to include them.

    This actually equates pretty nicely to around 1 Exalt of the group above per square (slightly higher).

    My game is placed in the Dreaming Seas area, so using the above as a baseline, that means that the 60 "core squares" of the region would house 60 Exalts, distributed approximately like so:
    Type Total Dreaming Seas
    Solars 150 22
    Exigents 50 7
    Liminals 50 7
    Abyssals 100 15
    Infernals 50 7
    SUM 400 59

    The region is huuuuuge of course, but as the game progresses and the power-level of the Solaroids Escalate, they will tend to cause a bit of a stir in the pond they're living in...

    It was actually a bit surprising (for some reason) that there would be so many Solars in the area.

    What are your thoughts?

    (The Map I used for the counting is this one: )
    Last edited by Rouharu; 11-12-2017, 07:34 AM.

  • #2
    Some of this can be very misleading, for one I figure the first ten years of Solars being released results in very active lifetimes for the new Exalted, and often resulting in them dying from adventure. If one Exaltation finds five hosts before staying alive for a descent length of time then it may seem like there are even more Exalts about.

    And I inserted more land in the west then we see on the map.

    It is a time for great deeds!


    • #3
      I think your figure looks reasonable. Just remember how huge the Dreaming Sea region is! It's about twice the size of Europe. So even if there are 22 Solars, you're not going to bump into them unless you're hurtling around on 100mph transport spells (which you might well be. Or they might be).


      When I first ran Exalted, there was quite a lot of Celestials. And I don't think the number was unreasonable, because the PCs were going around the Scavenger Lands, which is a big place. And some were reincarnations of previous ones: the PCs killed some Abyssal hosts 3 times in a row.

      However, when I ran 3rd ed, I had far less. This is because what I found, with so many Celestials, is that they become not very memorable characters. Abyssal/Infernal/Lunar/Solar of the week.
      I doubt my PCs could name most of the Celestials they ran into during my 2nd ed game.

      Whereas, when running 3rd ed, I had a lot less Celestials, but put a lot more thought into the characters, and many of them were recurring villains. Just one circle of 5 Solar NPCs became the antagonists for about 15-20 sessions.

      I play...
      Kovan, actor, librarian, sorcerer, great bear, Lunar Elder from the First Age
      Thutmose-Osiris, seventh son of a seventh son, descendant of the Supreme Deity Sukhmet, renegade demigod and bearer of the Ghoul-Banishing Bow. Also bright green.


      • #4
        We’re played a circle of 4 Solars for 22 sessions now, and we’ve interacted with at least one other Chosen (or similarly significant god, elemental, ghost, or demon) every session.


        • #5
          It definitely depends on what kind of game I'm running. For example, Infernal Exalted tend to show up the least in my games, unless I'm running an Infernal game in which case the players encounter Infernal Exalted a whole lot.

          Roughly speaking, an NP Exalted appears three out of every four sessions or so, and of course there are some sessions where multiple NPC Exalted show up. Dragon Blooded are by far and away the most common. After that are Lunars, Solars and then Abyssals, with Infernals, Sidereal and Alchemicals only appearing if they have some kind of relation to the ongoing plot. Of the new Exalted, so far it seems that Liminals crop up about as often as Abyssals and Exigents have popped up about as often as Lunars (in my own games Exigents are intentionally more common than they are in the official game line).

          I tend not to bother much with exact numbers and figures. If I'm running a game in the Dreaming Sea and I need there to be 20 Liminals for whatever reason, then there are going to be 20 Liminals in the Dreaming Sea and I'll probably just mention to the players that that concentration of Liminals in such a place is rather unusual and just leave it at that.

          As to your numbers they seem reasonable, though keep in mind that population is not distributed evenly across Creation, and population levels would probably reflect Exalted levels a bit better than land area. I imagine Solars and other Exalted tend to be more likely found in major population centers. Plus, of course, the supernatural population tends to be distributed in odd ways. For example there are 3 Deathlords in the Scavenger Lands (Mask of Winters, Walker in Darkness and the Dowager) and Eye and Seven Despairs is near there so many of his Deathknights might be found in the Scavenger Lands. Meanwhile FaFL is the only Deathlord to operate almost entirely out of the South, so there are probably fewer Deathknights in the South than in the North (where we have two Deathlords), and of course there will hardly be any Deathknights on the Blessed Isle.
          Last edited by AnubisXy; 11-12-2017, 05:33 PM.


          • #6
            Pretty rarely.
            I've had 1 abyssal, 1 lunar, 1 liminal. No solars yet, although a villianous group of solars might be a later problem. I've had I think 20 odd Dragoblooded make apperances, 3 sidereals, and 2 Exients in the 20+ sessions. Typically, an exalt is there as a major part of the plot (Dragonblooded observing a duel, for instance, up the stakes, as going bonfire on a duel is no longer an option. The Liminal was a police officer capable of helping along when persuaded. The Abyssal was cuasing a plauge. The Lunar was his amte, and coming with her tribe of beastmen to pull a coup. Etc).

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            • #7
              For my 1st chronicle, using the first two editions, a major plot point centered around the Wyld Hunt using jade lanterns--basically miniature versions of the Jade Prison, to capture the essences of Anathema they slew. This allowed me to thin the Exalted ranks in a non-arbitrary manner, as I had also run the numbers and--keeping in mind AnubisXY's point about likely congregation in major population centers--decided that there were more Exalts around than I cared to manage. My current game takes place in an isolated region in the Hundred Kingdoms, more difficult to reach than is worth the bother. A couple Exalts will show up eventually, but thus far the PC's have only encountered a circle of deeply corrupted Dragon-Blooded, which they are currently working to destroy.

              Ultimately they'll leave this region, and then I'll have to decide how many Exalts they'll get to play around with. My preference is "few," but while, yes, I could simply say they just don't happen upon other Solars during their journeys to heavily populated regions, I prefer to keep the game's internal logic intact.


              • #8
                As always: I run mortal games, and heavily simulationist ones to boot.

                Exalted, in my campaigns, are not common. At all. Even the Dragon-Blooded, which are the most common, are still rare on the levels of culture and society.

                For example: A Dragon-Blood would be on the level of Guan Yu, or Miyamoto Musashi. Hell, my King Arthur-equivalent was a Dragon-Blooded. Generally, in my games, the Dragon-Blooded are more along the lines of cultural heroes or something: rare, powerful, but still someone who was known to exist and be interactable... if you get me?

                On the other hand, Dragon-Blooded tend to congregate towards places where their abilities are going to be the most recognized. During the Shogunate, it was among the Provincial Daimyo, and in the Age of Sorrows, it is the Realm and Lookshy. Why is a Dragon-Blooded Exalt going to stick around the Hundred Kingdoms or the Anglisc Heptarchy, when they could catch a ship to Lookshy or the Realm and be somebody?

                Other Exalts are much more rare, and much less 'influential', in a way. They tend to be portrayed as mythological figures, or even aspects of the gods themselves. For example, in my Brytenwalda setting, the Welsh/Scottish/Irish peoples worship Luna (and, through themes that Luna took over, Gaia) in the guise of modern neopaganism, with a supporting deity being the Horned King, who is, well, a Lunar.


                • #9
                  I guess I could have mentioned how I've played it so far in the game running in the on the border of the Dreaming Seas area, close to the pass through the mountain range with the road leading to Ember.

                  We're 12 sessions into the game now, but each session has typically been around 10 hours - and a couple have actually been two-day weekend events, and the number of Exalts encountered has been pretty low - DBs being the most common.

                  The game started, and is still based, in a made up City (Khelsjon) which is situated a few days ride from the pass through the Mountain Range between the Dreaming Seas corner of the map and the Southern Desert (on the road that leads through the Mountain Range and on to Ember etc). This was ran by a small Dragon-Blood family-dynasty - which, unfortunately for them, did not have any interest in having Solars in their city..... so they became an obstacle which after some heavy planning and a bit of luck got taken down by the two Solar PCs, or more precisely the two Solar PCs and the small hoard of demons that the sorcerer summoned...

                  There's still a couple of Dragon-Bloods in the city, semi-allies of the Solars.

                  ...and they had a bit of an accident where they killed the Dragon-Blooded emissary from Prasad... so.. ehh.. might be some more Dragon-Blood Encounters in their future.

                  They've had a couple of encounters with a Sidereal, and meet him every now and then. The characters don't really know that it's a Sidereal, but the players.. well.. they've caught on by now. :P

                  Other than that, they've recently ran into two Lunars - who're making a pass at gathering up the various tribes in the Mountains close by. But they have a base which is 4 weeks or so of travel away from the city, so it's not a daily occurrence to meet them.

                  Since we've now started moving more and more around into the neighbouring areas, nations, and such, I realised that I wasn't sure within what range it made sense to put the frequency of meeting other Exalts. But it seems that I'm not overdoing it too much at least.


                  • #10
                    Confirmed chosen likely just 3 in 34 sessions and my players haven't really fought any of them seriously. There are a couple of other possible sightings and meetings but unconfirmed exalts they have likely seen more traces of exalted action in art and oral history then they have seen personally. Another one will likely make a short apperance in the next sessions however as a kind of deus ex machina due to the solar using prophecies and that it will be a good way to impart some purpose in our resident sidereal.

                    In the campaign however a lot of powerful exalts are either gathered in a few places or hiding their powers because of those gatherings. So they are very much there in the bakground shaping the campaign and the world my players characters inhabit.

                    In previous campaigns there probably rarely went a session without exalts being encountered.
                    Last edited by chance; 11-12-2017, 06:38 PM.


                    • #11
                      Out of curioustity, why leave lunars out of your math?

                      The Book of Laughing Serpents Series(Latest Here)
                      Many Limbed Manual
                      Patreon here:
                      San Jeanro Co-Op writer. Volume 1 here Volume 2 here Volume 3 here
                      My folklore and horror blog, here:


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Epee102 View Post
                        Out of curioustity, why leave lunars out of your math?
                        I figured they, like the Sidereals and DBs had a rather different distribution model than the rest. For Lunars my approximation would be that roughly half are in the outer regions of the map - or off it all together. The remaining half are here and there, with a higher likelihood of being in non-City areas (this may be a wrong stereotype on my part).

                        For my Dreaming Seas game I’m thinking that the number of active Lunars are about the same as Solars. But potentially even more that could be called inn from the outer borders if stuff starter to happen.


                        • #13

                          When I was running my game, which took something like... Two years, real time? I think? We had... One just-exalted Sid who ended up as a PC's adopted daughter, two more recurring ones who basically traded places under the same 'public' identity to serve as her trainer along with their other, more globe-trotting duties, plus two further Sids who showed up as basically bit characters with major travel involved. A Wyld Hunt who ended up mostly talked-down and recruited; call it three short DB appearances and two longer-lasting ones. One Lunar who was a major NPC, another who showed up as a solo boss fight. About... four? Ransom, Banner, Jellyfish, Freeze... Yeah, four Abyssals in the endgame sequence, who showed up as the 'dragon squad' for the big bad behind a long-running sorcerer enemy. A major mortal NPC exalted as an Infernal. One Well Intentioned Extremist NPC Solar, also present via travel.

                          I think that was it?

                          In an area of operations maybe six hundred miles across. I got a lot of mileage out of Unexplained Weirdness and sorcerers, but slowing a solar party down in any respect tends to break the setting in at least one other way.

                          Iä! Iä! Moe fthagn!


                          • #14
                            There's a lot of Exalt NPCs in my game, but it's been running nearly 10 years.

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                            Please spare a thought for updating the Exalted wiki.


                            • #15
                              Sounds similar to my experience. we're two years in this campaign, and there's been like... 1 Abyssals, (+1 namedropped), 2 Lunars, 1 Sideral (unacknowledged), 4 Dragonblood (+1 Dead by prologue, +2 former DB ghosts, +1 weird-ass undead thingie) and 2 Solar NPCs. Oh and that one not-really-Infernal-but-maybe. And even half of those never confirmed or showed their Chosen status.