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 Other magical beings

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PostSubject: Other magical beings   Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:35 am

Alongside the various types of Exalts found in Creation, there are also other magical creatures that use the same Essence that Exalts use to power their magical effects. The following are the most prominent types of magical beings.

Behemoths

Behemoths are unique, immortal monsters. There are two broad categories of behemoths: Primordial Behemoths, created by the Primordials in the Time of Glory before the Primordial War. There are also Hekatonkheires, Primordial Behemoths killed during the war, who now serve the Neverborn in the Underworld. Wyld Behemoths, are creatures of the Fair Folk, known as Shaping Weapons. These are aspects of a Fair Folk's personality oriented towards dominance and aggression, and may appear as monsters under the control of Fair Folk, but they are not truly separate beings from their masters, and are merely the aggressive tendencies of powerful Fair Folk come to life. Wyld Behemoths are classified according to power; in ascending order, the three types are fey beasts, daikaiju and Deep Wyld horrors.

Dragon Kings
Like the Fair Folk, the Dragon Kings are not Exalted; they are supernatural creatures offered as a player character type. The Dragon Kings are large dinosaur-like beings of great power. Dragon Kings are sworn in allegiance to the Unconquered Sun, their creator. According to the fictional history of Exalted, before the time of the Exalted, the Dragon Kings ruled Creation and the mortals who dwelt there, but the majority of their perpetually-reincarnating souls were annihilated during the war against the Primordials, putting an end to their ascendance over Creation. The Unconquered Sun used them as powerful servants to his chosen whom they served faithfully, honoring their Exalted brethren. After the First Age ended in war and disease, what remained of their civilization collapsed, and most Dragon Kings today never outgrow the feral 'stalker' mindset they are born into. They still exist in the Second Age, though the once great Dragon Kings remain hidden in the farthest corners of Creation. The majority of the remaining Dragon Kings are in Rathess, an ancient home filled with a variety of powerful artifacts made by the Dragon Kings in the glory days of the First Age. The developers describe four types of Dragon Kings, each living in a quadrant of Creation; the graceful flying Pterok (North), the nimble and lithe Raptok (East), the powerful and loyal Anklok (South), and the clever amphibious Mosok (West). Rules for playing Dragon Kings are presented in the Exalted Player's Guide in 1st edition and the Scroll of the Fallen Races in 2nd edition.

Fair Folk
Like the Dragon Kings, they are an alternative player character type to the Exalted. They know themselves by their own word, Raksha; however the superstitious in Creation, rightly fearing that to name them is to invoke them, call them the Fair Folk with the hope of flattering and placating them. Unlike the Creation-born, who have a fixed, definite shape and form within the pattern of created things, Fair Folk are entities composed of Essence unadulterated with form, and thus they are without much constancy. They are natives of the Wyld, which they call Rakshastan – the place that exists between Creation and the Unshaped Chaos. Like the Wyld environment they inhabit, Fair Folk are partially and provisionally confined and defined by their proximity to the structure of Creation, temporarily taking on aspects of the created world by interacting with it. They are inhuman and beautiful beguiling monsters that subsist on elements of human subjectivity, devouring dreams, imbibing hopes and fears, and assuming narrative personalities stolen piecemeal from the Creation-born.

In one sense, they are the "kissing cousins" of the Primordials: they are primeval beings whose existences precede and are not bound by the physical reality of Creation; their native Essential Chaos having been statically frozen as the Primordials formed Creation in the midst of it. They prey upon the interiority of mortals and do a brisk slave trade with The Guild, a powerful economic organization in Creation. The Raksha are divided into castes: Diplomats, who favor the Staff Grace and the virtue of Conviction; Entertainers, who favor the Cup Grace and the virtue of Compassion; Warriors, who favor the Sword Grace and the virtue of Valor; and Workers, who favor the Ring Grace and the virtue of Temperance. Noble Raksha have mastered greater internal complexity and differentiation, favoring two Graces and associated virtues. There is also a fifth Grace, the Heart Grace, which is associated with identity and the trait of Willpower. Graces are differing outlets for the use of Essence in the Wyld and Creation, allowing Fair Folk to stabilize and interact by associating with structures of Creation in the form of the Heavenly Virtues of Yu-Shan, primitive personality traits shared in some form by all Creation-born mortals and many spirits. The most powerful kin of the Fair Folk are the Unshaped. These entities were never trapped in the structural orbit of Creation, but are truly native to the pure Chaos beyond the Wyld. Unlike the Raksha, the Unshaped lack the means to stabilize themselves by assimilating the personhood of mortals and as such are incapable of existing in Creation for any great duration. Each Unshaped is actually a symbiotic complex of many Fair Folk consisting of a "guiding intelligence" and "subsidiary intelligences" with no true internal organisation, leading some mortal savants to misinformedly characterise them as "deep Wyld storms". Rules for playing Fair Folk are presented in Exalted: The Fair Folk in 1st edition, 2nd edition rules are included in Graceful Wicked Masques: The Fair Folk, released in early 2009.

God-Blooded

Refers to, as a collective whole, offspring of a mortal or animal and a magical being, or the mortal offspring of two magical beings, in which case they take after the more powerful of the two. The resulting offspring bears traces of its mystical parentage. According to the authors, they stand somewhere between divinity and mortality, less than Exalted, but more than human. Those with awakened Essence can purchase the same types of Charms as their supernatural parent, though their power is limited by a low Permanent Essence trait and a small Essence pool.

There are several subtypes of God-Blooded: God-Blooded are the children of gods, Elemental-Blooded are the children of elementals, Demon-Blooded are the offspring of demons, Ghost-Blooded are the children of ghosts using powerful Charms to help them reproduce with mortals, and Half-Caste are the children of powerful Exalts (although exceedingly rare). Solar, Abyssal, Infernal, Lunar, and Sidereal Half-Castes are known as Golden Children, Shadewalkers, Grandchosen of the Yozis, Moon-Born and Star-Blessed respectively. 1st edition also included Dragon-Blooded Half-Castes known as the Dragon-Touched but these have been removed from the canon setting as of 2nd edition. The Fae-Blooded are the children of a union between the Raksha and mortals. The Mountain Folk can also produce God-Blooded offspring, but there is no specific term for them. Rules for playing God-Blooded characters are presented in the Exalted Player's Guide in 1st edition, and Scroll of Heroes in 2nd edition.

Mountain Folk

Also known as the Jadeborn, a long-lived subterranean race distantly related to the Fair Folk. These Jadeborn are creatures of the Great Maker, Autochthon: when Creation was initially wrought from Pure Chaos by the Primordials, all those Unshaped Raksha whose Essence was incorporated into the created world became calcified; frozen into static, unchangeing shapes, most of them fixed into the very minerality of the earth itself. Sensing that these other, native intelligences of Chaos had been snuffed out in the Creation of inanimate elements, Autochthon took posthumous pity on them, and, salvaging whatever it could discern of their prior selves, resurrected them – still formed of the earthen materials they had calcified into, but alive, and with at least a glimmering memory of the intelligent entities they had once been.

The Mountain Folk are divided along two lines, Caste and Enlightenment. The three Jadeborn Castes are the Artisans, Warriors, and Workers. The vast majority of the Mountain Folk are Unenlightened – limited in intelligence, creativity, and supernatural power. A small minority, including the entire Artisan Caste, are Enlightened, with much greater creativity as well as both mundane and supernatural potential, and all of these Enlightened are Essence-wielders. Mountain Folk society is ruled by the Artisan Caste, who make up the nobility, with Unenlightened Warriors and Workers making up the commoners and Enlightened Warriors and Workers occupying an intermediate position. Rules for playing the Mountain Folk are presented in 1st edition's Exalted: The Fair Folk and 2nd edition's Scroll of the Fallen Races.

Shinma

The shinma define major categories and significations both within and Beyond the Wyld. Strange abstractions, the shinma provide boundaries and define structuralities within both Creation and across the infinite Wyld by embodying oppositions. The shinma themselves are quite impossible for a Creation-born mortal to comprehend and are generally viewed by mortal savants as metaphysical axioms, though the Raksha apparently consider them to be interesting characters of some sort.

Several shinma have been named and detailed, as follows:

Advaita Iraivan, shinma of separation. Advaita Iraivan is first mentioned in 1st edition's Exalted: The Fair Folk, in which it is established as an aspect of Nirguna, and then it is established to be the shinma of separation in 2nd edition's Graceful Wicked Masques. It is posited to be the origin or structuring presence of the other shinma, or vice versa, and the Raksha refer to the location of Advaita Iraivan's presence as Time Not, admitting no distinctions.

Dharma, shinma of "corrosion, ignorance, and desire". From the Indian word Dharma, this shinma is pure, wise, and all-knowing: the opposite of what it defines.

Nirakara, shinma of shape. Nirakara is formless, and is also the gateway all beings must pass through to cross between Creation and the Wyld. A Raksha passes through Nirakara when she assumes shape in Creation and enters it, while a mortal passes through Nirakara when he enters the Wyld and undergoes destabilizing mutations.

Nirguna is the name of the shinma of existence. From the Sanskrit word Nirguna, meaning roughly "without form / traits". Much like how other shinma define concepts by embodying their opposites, Nirguna defines existence by not existing. Moreover, as the origin of existence, it is the only thing which does not exist, while everything does exist within the Unshaped Chaos.

Nirupadhika, shinma of space and locations. Nirupadhika cannot be found anywhere, defining location, and exists as a singularity, defining space.

Nirvikalpa, shinma of communication. From the Sanskrit word Nirvikalpa, meaning "not admitting an alternative". Nirvikalpa cannot communicate with others, nor with itself. It cannot even observe others nor be observed by them, preventing the most basic forms of communication, thereby defining the concept.

Nirvishesha, shinma of identity. Nirvishesha has no identity, despite a given name. Those who remind Nirvishesha of its existence by speaking its given name, or those of the aspects it defines invite its wrath.

Nishkriya, shinma of conflict. Nishkriya possesses many weapons with which it could fight. It is by not using these weapons and being perfectly, imperturbably at peace that Nishkriya defines the concept of conflict. The aspects of Nishkriya, however, are extremely lethal and violent. One such aspect, "Ishiika, the grass-cutter scythe", was a particularly deadly participant in the Balorian Crusade.

The influence of the shinma is relative rather than absolute, and the existences of alien shinma who define categories that have no influence on Creation have been mentioned, as have areas of the Wyld which are Beyond the influence of the various significant shinma. A particularly clever and subtle Raksha Ishvara, Prince Laashe the Morning Star, was even banished to the Beyond by Luna when he tricked the Unconquered Sun into allowing himself to become the Sun's equal and to supplant the Daystar in the sky.

Spirits

Spirits are divided into four broad categories: demons, elementals, ghosts, and gods. With the exception of elementals, spirits are naturally immaterial, generally require Charms to materialize in Creation, and will reform when killed unless some supernatural effect prevents them from doing so. Rules for playing ghosts in 1st edition are presented in Exalted: The Abyssals, and rules for 2nd edition are presented in The Books of Sorcery, Vol. V: The Roll of Glorious Divinity II: Ghosts & Demons. Rules for playing elementals and gods are presented in The Books of Sorcery, Vol. IV: The Roll of Glorious Divinity I: Gods & Elementals.

Demons, Yozis, Primordials and Devas
The Yozis are exiled, imprisoned and twisted Primordials, each primordial can have one or more bodies, known as Jouten. For each Yozi, there are at least a dozen Third Circle demons including the Fetich, each third circle demon rivals the most powerful gods and elementals in power and embodies and defines an aspect of the Yozi, which will change of the demon is permanently slain, with more dramatic changes including a new name and identity resulting from the death of a Fetich. First Circle demons are the descendants of greater demons rather than aspects of them, generally divided into various demonic species, with individuality and uniqueness quite rare among them. Due to the terms of the Yozis' surrender, all demons can be summoned and bound through sorcery, and the Unconquered Sun and the Maiden of Endings can summon Yozis.

Devas are free primordials' counterpart to demons, each primordial's devas has a specific name. Gaia's devas are known as kami, five of her third circle kami, the Five Elemental Dragons, have been detailed. Autochthon's devas are known as exmachina, Autochthon has nine third circle exmachina, the eight Divine Ministers and Core. In 1st edition's Exalted: The Autochthonian's, Autochthon's second circle devas are referred to as Revered Subroutines. According to 2nd edition's Manual of Exalted Power: The Alchemicals, subroutine spirits are Autochthon's manufactured counterpart to 1st and 2nd circle demons, and are divided into three tiers based on power, importance and autonomy: Alpha, Beta and Gamma in ascending order, and Autochthon has made his Divine Ministers incapable of spawning new exmachina, 2nd edition material is unclear about the fate of pre-existing 2nd circle exmachina. Unlike true demons, these beings cannot be summoned through sorcery. The terms Deva, Exmachina and Kami were established in Voice of the Magnus, published online in the Ink Monkies blog on June 5th, 2010.[17]

Elementals
Elementals maintain Creation, and with a few exceptions, embody one of the five elements: air, earth, fire, water or wood. Elementals are naturally material, requiring charms to dematerialize, and with a few exceptions, cannot reform when slain. Unlike other spirits, their growth is largely unrestricted. The most powerful elementals are the Lesser and Greater Elemental Dragons. Elementals are generally outranked by gods of similar power. Elementals can be summoned through Terrestrial Circle Sorcery, however, unlike demons, powerful elementals often have designated proxies who can be sent to respond to the summoning in their stead.

The elementals of Autochthonia embody one of the machine world's elements: crystal, metal, oil, lightning or steam, and cannot be summoned through sorcery.

Ghosts
The most common type of ghosts, referred to as ghosts or the dead, are the hun or higher souls of mortals who have refused to pass into Lethe and reincarnation due to their attachment to their mortal lives. These ghosts are much weaker than Exalted, and they can only respire Essence in the Underworld and Shadowlands. Hungry ghosts generally come into existence due to betrayal, vengeance or a traumatic death. Initially, a hungry ghost includes both the higher soul and the po, or lower soul, but the hun soon moves on, leaving the hungry ghost largely mindless. Unlike other ghosts, hungry ghosts are naturally material in Creation at night. Nephwracks are ghosts who have been corrupted by the Neverborn. Unlike uncorrupted ghosts, they are capable of using necromancy. The Deathlords are thirteen ghosts of powerful Solar Exalted who have been empowered by the Neverborn, and although they are not technically Exalted, they have access to Abyssal Charms. Spectres, also known as plasmics, are bizarre creatures spawned by the nightmares of the Neverborn. The category of Hekatonkhire includes the ghosts of demons, devas and Primordial behemoths, as well as the manifested nightmares of the Neverborn. The Neverborn are the ghosts of slain Primordials. Immensely powerful, they are difficult to rouse from their slumber, and their power seems largely constrained to the Labyrinth. Only mundane ghosts and Hekatonkhire can be summoned through necromancy, and only mundane ghosts can be summoned through sorcery.

Gods
Gods represent objects, locations and concepts, but they are separate from them. In order of least powerful and influential to most, there are least gods, minor gods, gods, major gods and Celestial Incarnae. Examples of least gods include gods of a single pebble, whereas major gods include gods of concepts such as wealth or war. Most gods are members of the Celestial Order, which is stratified into two divisions: the Celestial Court, composed of gods of concepts, and the Terrestrial Bureaucracy, made up of the gods of physical objects and locations.

The Celestial Court is ruled by the seven Celestial Incarnae, and is divided into the Bureaus of Destiny, Heaven, Humanity, Nature and Seasons, with the other four bureaus reporting to the Bureau of Heaven. The Terrestrial Bureaucracy is nominally ruled by the Five Elemental Dragons, and is divided into various spirit courts. Technically, all members of the Celestial Court outrank all members of the Terrestrial Bureaucracy. In practice, Terrestrial courts are largely independent.

Outside of the Celestial Order, there are also the machine spirits of Autochthonia, unemployed gods whose domains have been usurped or destroyed, rogue gods who have abandoned their duties, and forbidden gods who have been exiled due to madness, an abhorrent nature or because they sided with the Primordials. Gods can generally only significantly increase their power by getting promoted or expanding their purview.


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