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How would you do a Exalted/Xianxia quest

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  • How would you do a Exalted/Xianxia quest

    Xianxia (仙侠 xiānxiá) – literally means “Immortal Heroes”. Fictional stories featuring magic, demons, ghosts, immortals, and a great deal of Chinese folklore/mythology. Protagonists (usually) attempt to cultivate to Immortality, seeking eternal life and the pinnacle of strength. Heavily inspired by Daoism.
    Cultivator (修者 xiūzhě) (修士 xiūshì) (修仙者 xiūxiānzhě) – a person who trains in martial & mystical arts, generally in order to become powerful and increase their longevity. Meditation and the cultivation of Qi are common practices among cultivators.
    • Rogue Cultivators (散修 sǎnxiū) – literally translates as “Loose Cultivators”. Independent cultivators unaffiliated with any sect, clan, or other martial organizations.
    • Devil Cultivators (修魔者 xiūmózhě) – also translated as Demon Cultivators. Wicked cultivators who emulate Devils (魔) and seek power by any means necessary. They are often said to follow the Devil Path / Devil Dao (魔道), in opposition to the orthodox Immortal Cultivators (修仙者 xiūxiānzhě).
    Cultivation (修炼 xiūliàn) (修真 xiūzhēn) (修行 xiūxíng) (修仙 xiūxiān) – the process of improving health, increasing longevity, and growing powerful. This is accomplished by cultivatingQi and training in martial & mystical arts. In many of these novels, the ultimate goal of cultivation is to become an Immortal or attain godhood.

  • #2
    The Soul Perfecting Elixir Shaping ritual in the Core book seems to follow this theme a lot, might be worth integrating it into the quest somehow.

    In fact the "evil" Shaping rituals feel a lot like Devil Cultivators (Deal with Mara, scarred by nightmares, etc.).

    I think I would have the protagonist go on a quest of mastering both Martial Arts and Sorcery, possibly using the Sorcerous Martial Arts supplement in storyteller's vault for the game.

    To make the story more mythological, introduce many greater-than-life martial arts mentors like Mara who are gods, demons or similar supernatural being. Then have personal conflicts between those supernatural beings drive the quest and force the protagonist to take sides and make hard decisions, which will define which kind of Cultivator they are.


    • #3
      Depends on just how willing you are to modify Exalted. Like, the very premise of the setting as it stands kinda works against the idea of cultivators: Exaltation is given, not earned. You can't do everything right and expect to hit that pinnacle, which kinda plays against the Xianxia themes of self mastery and improvement.(Yes, Exaltation is not the same thing as immortality but it's a heightened state of power and awareness, the use of Essence is akin to cultivation of Qi, it tracks pretty well IMO)

      You could try and ignore that and pitch Exalted Cultivators anyway? In terms of what they can do, you're pretty much set, and there's nothing stopping an Exalt striving to be greater. But it's harder to work in things like rival schools, monasteries or organizations when the number of Exalted is so limited. I'd consider modding the setting to make each Exalt type something anyone could attain in theory: different paths to enlightenment. You can throw in way more Exalted NPCs that way, and you're bringing things more in line with Xianxia on a philosophical level.


      • #4
        It seems to me that a Xianxia style game would work best for Dragonblooded. I've not read the whole 3E DB book yet, but it really fits the DBs of 2E. They are stronger than mortals by far, but individually fall short of the power that Celestial Exalted wield. There are enough of them to provide plenty of rivals, and there is potential for them to become greater through mastery of martial arts (at least in 2E).

        Perhaps there is a way for the rare DB to transcend his normal limits and become equal in power to Celestial exalted. But it is a privilege that can only be earned by winning the respect of all 5 dragons and some (or all) of the Celestial Incarnae. Many have tried in the past, but no one (or only very few) has succeeded. With the return of Solar Exalted, there is a renewed interest in this fabled path, but not every DB who seeks it does so for noble reasons. Some even seek to use a demonic shortcut, believing that any means is justified if it lets them defeat the Anethema. Let the race for immortality and perfection begin!