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 To Become An Abyssal

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PostSubject: To Become An Abyssal   Fri Sep 27, 2013 11:47 am

PDF of the book: http://gamerchic.org/pdf/Abyssals2ndEdition.pdf

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Abyssal Exalted, also called deathknights, are the champions of the Deathlords and their Neverborn masters. The Abyssal Exalted have only recently appeared, and appear to be dark reflections of the returned Solar Exalted, with twisted mockeries of the Solars' caste marks, animas and even Charms. They are a form of Exalted created from the corrupted Sparks of Exaltation of Solar Exalted. Abyssals are arguably as powerful as the Solars, but are constrained by operating largely in a hostile environment (Creation) and by their enslavement to the Deathlords.

The Abyssals have five castes, which correspond to the castes of the Solar Exalted. While the Solar castes represent the path of the sun through the sky, Abyssal castes represent an inversion of this process.

  • Dusk (fallen dawn): The Dusk caste are the generals and warriors of the Exalted. They can channel Essence into their anima to appear more terrifying.
  • Midnight (fallen zenith): The Midnight caste are the priests and leaders of the Exalted. Midnight castes can channel their Essence to force the dead to rise as undead.
  • Daybreak (fallen twilight): The Daybreak caste are sorcerers, scholars and savants. They can channel their essence for damage resistance.
  • Day (fallen night): The Day caste are the assassins and spies of the Abyssals. They can channel their Essence for anima concealment.
  • Moonshadow (fallen eclipse): The Moonshadow caste are the diplomats of the Abyssals. They can channel essence to sanctify oaths, invoking a curse on oathbreakers. In addition, Moonshadow castes can learn any Charm, regardless of source.

Abyssal Exalted are chosen by their Deathlords; when an individual of an auspicious fate is close to death, a Deathlord can contact that individual and offer them Exaltation. If they choose Exaltation, that person is then converted into an Abyssal in service to that Deathlord. Abyssal Exaltation is consequently the most personal of all Exaltations, and Abyssals have far more personal contact with their patrons than other Exalted. Whether they like it or not.

Abyssal Exaltation is an oath of service, and the fundamental price that an Abyssal pays is their own name. Upon Exaltation, an Abyssal Exalted loses his name and replaces it with a title in imitation of their deathlord masters.

Because Abyssal Exalted are corrupted Solars, Solars can be converted into Abyssals through a special Necromancy spell. It is also theoretically possible for an Abyssal to be redeemed and turned into a Solar Exalted, but this has not happened in the canonical setting.

Abyssal Exaltation depends on a specific artifact, the Monstrance of Celestial Portion, which holds the corrupted Spark of Exaltation. The Monstrance serves as a special hold the Deathlord has on the Abyssal, since as long as the Deathlord has the Monstrance, he can instantly destroy the Abyssal.

State of Being
When a dying mortal takes the Last Breath, his body, his mind and his heart all change irrevocably. In the moment when the Abyssal Exaltation grafts itself onto his soul, the deathly Essence of the Underworld surges through his body. This surge immediately restores the Abyssal’s body to perfect functionality, despite whatever damage or defect brought the erstwhile mortal’s body low in the first place. It also halts the entropy of aging, preserving the Abyssal’s enviable good health forever more. The Abyssal can still be injured or even killed, but if he stays safely out of danger, his body will never grow old, never run down like a neglected machine and never die. Of course, the Exalted seldom stay out of danger…

This is not to say that the Abyssal becomes a paragon of health. Some Abyssals emerge from the transformation missing severed limbs. Some find themselves decorated with ragged scars over deep wounds or swaths of missing meat. Some retain disfiguring evidence of the circumstances that brought them to the threshold of death. Less fortunate Abyssals grow increasingly hideous as time goes by. Their skin withers like that of a mummy or shrivels like a corpse in a peat bog. Oozing pustules or lesions
break out across others’ bodies. Some retain the unhealing wounds and broken bones that killed them, rather than just the scars. Some sweat blood when they’re nervous or cry maggots instead of tears. Some smell of open rot or musty tombs.

For every Abyssal whom Exaltation makes hideous, another gains unearthly beauty from the Last Breath. For them, any damage wrought by time and untimely death melts away, leaving only an idealized body. Flab evaporates; neglected muscles and ligaments firm and tighten. Unsightly blemishes vanish as skin either bleaches or darkens toward its closest natural extreme. Hair becomes fine and whole, often turning a glossy raven-black or an otherworldly silver-white. Eyes become clear and sharp. Even their teeth straighten and grow strong. This newfound beauty is cold, distant and irresistible.

The emotional transformation an Abyssal undergoes at the moment of Exaltation is no less significant. Upon taking the Last Breath, the taint of death poisons the Abyssal’s hun, the higher half of his soul, devoted to rational thought and the higher emotions. Bleak humors, dour thoughts and unwholesome fantasies infect the Abyssal’s mind. Dead bodies no longer revolt, and ghosts no longer inspire fear. Shadowlands no longer seem dreary or forbidding. The Underworld is no longer the bleak undiscovered country whence no traveler returns. Even death doesn’t seem so bad now that the Abyssal has stopped short at its threshold. In that moment, most Abyssals finally realize just how much terror and anxiety ruled their mortal lives, and they release those burdens with tremendous relief.

over those mortals who still cling so fearfully to life. What Abyssals gain in self-assurance, however, they lose in other areas. The simple pleasures they enjoyed in life now seem remote and juvenile. They can still eat and drink, but the lazy pleasure of a full stomach no longer holds much appeal. They take no joy in others’ happiness as mortals do (however rarely). Burning hatred that gave them purpose in life now cools to aloof disdain. Attachments they held to spouses, children, siblings, parents and friends now seem pointless and distracting. Abyssal Exalts don’t lose their capacity for emotional extremes, but the circumstances that bring them out can all change. An Abyssal might weep at the beauty of a sunrise, but he does so
only because he knows it gives false hope to a rebel kingdom he’s about to conquer. An Abyssal might applaud at the end of a theatrical performance well executed, but he does so only because he appreciates an irony in the story that the living will never understand. He might laugh at the last joke of a dying rival, but he does so only because he’s so relieved his foe has finally let go of his fear of death. He might lash out in a rage at his subordinate ghosts, but he does so only to recoup the self-esteem his domineering Deathlord master stripped from him. The Abyssal’s human emotions don’t go away, they just emerge for different reasons.

Abyssal Exalted are mirrors or reflections of the Solar Exalted. Their abilities consequently mimic solar abilities, although they are generally more terrifying or violent. Most notably, Abyssals have access to the most powerful circles of Necromancy in the same way that Solars have access to the most powerful circles of Sorcery.

In addition, Abyssals are able to gain Essence through consuming flesh and blood; this is necessary in creation, as they do not gain essence naturally there.

Abyssal Appearance is essence driven, as an Abyssal's essence rises, they become steadily more beautiful or more ugly.

In contrast to the Great Curse, Abyssals suffer from Resonance. Abyssals are slaves of the Neverborn, they must obey them. The Neverborn are cruel and vicious creatures who abhor all life, and consequently demand their followers to do the same. Whenever an Abyssal commits a sin against the bidding of his Neverborn patron, he gains a measure of resonance. This resonance can vent in spectacular outburst that can turn entire areas into swaths of shadowland or these outbursts can manifest as ghostly appearances or even crippling effects that target the Abyssal himself

Abyssal Exalted have only been in existence for nearly a decade, dating back to the opening of the Jade Prison by the Deathlords. Since that time, they have served as aides and warlords for their masters, replacing the Nemissaries who formerly had this responsibility.

Last edited by yanamari on Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:42 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: To Become An Abyssal   Fri Sep 27, 2013 11:49 am

Age of Sorrows

The Age of Sorrows, also known as the Second Age of Man, is the current era in Creation, and the default setting for Exalted.

The Age of Sorrows is so named for the fall from the First Age, when the mighty Solar Exalted served the gods as righteous kings, before the death-curse of the Primordials drove them mad. In wiping them out, the Dragon-Blooded who now rule may have saved the world, but the wonder of it died with its previous masters. Magic and strange technology still coexist, but it is a lesser thing, and the Dragon-Blooded find themselves struggling: when the Scarlet Empress ascended to the throne, she quelled the Great Contagion and the march of Chaos, but the many deaths changed the shape of the world, and wore holes in small parts of it, Shadowlands where the living and the dead mingle.

Nor did the plague come from nothing--the most infuriated ghosts of the Solar Exalted made deals with the Neverborn, dead Primordials that they themselves killed. In exchange for their names and their assistance in tearing down the whole of the world into nothing, the Neverborn would replace the power that they lost with their deaths, and give them the tools to take their own revenge.

The Age of Sorrows seems to be drawing to a close--the exaltation of new Solar Exalted has begun. The oldest Sidereals are reaching the ends of their lives. According to some sources, the Dragon-Blooded Scarlet Empress, seeking greater power, has (whether intentionally or not) sold herself to demons, and is to be wed to the one of the Yozis--the Primordials who chose imprisonment over death. All of these things together, and the effects thereof, are forcing matters to come to a head. While the first chapter of the Core Rules describes the outcome of the world as bleak, players and Storytellers are encouraged to either put their own spin on it, or break the fate of the world and save it all; aside from that first paragraph, there is nothing to suggest that Creation is doomed--merely headed for a lot of trouble.

The Autochthonians supplement outlines various possibilities for the end of the Age of Sorrows and coins the term Age of Shadows for the presumably darker Third Age of Mankind.
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PostSubject: Re: To Become An Abyssal   Fri Sep 27, 2013 1:27 pm

In life I was a simple man. A blade for hire.
Nothing more.

But a blade got close, too close. And a voice reached out.

What if you ruled? Would you take it?

Hell yes I would.

When creating an abyssal...think of the following.

Who are you in life?
You have lived your life. Be it as a slave or a righteous man. You could be the most pious, devoted to your people or communities, and sacrificing everything for them. Or you could be a murderer, destroying the living, selling your kills as an experience to the living. Maybe you were even simpler, a farmer or green grocer. A child only 7 years old. A man on his death bed with fevers and a lame leg at 40.

Death has come.
No matter your walk of life, you find yourself near death. You could be a slave tossed to die by the hands of Raksha. Murdered in the night by an assassin. Old age creeping up on you. Smashed in an accident when traveling or a tree falls on you. Suicide.

Whatever way it happens, death is here. Not coming. It's HERE.

But I don't want to die!
No one does. Some do. Maybe. But you don't. A voice comes to you. It makes an offer. Why die? Why fall? Why not continue? The voice offers jade, slaves, a place in power, anything you want.

From riches to the return of your dead loved one, the most enticing offers are made. And the moment you accept, you rise from that near death greater than you ever were!

Death becomes ...me!
So now you are dead. Well, not really. You are near death, always near but never pushed entirely over. You live off of blood for essence. Manses for death knights and shadowlands also provide essence.

When you are chosen and exalt, you gain some charms and begin traveling immediately to the call of your deathlord. Nothing will stop you from this destination, not even other exalts or your own goals.

You may have whispers. These are a background, not a flaw, and are from the Neverborn themselves. You can learn things from the whispers, but you have to listen to hear them clearly.

Your Death Lord OWNs you. Yes, owns. You may love or hate your Death Lord. That is entirely your choice, but there is nothing you can do about it.

When you arrive to your deathlord, you are taken into the labyrinth and to the edge of the great void. Here you speak your name for the last time, as it is ripped away and tossed into the everdark. You then take a title in replacement. A great website for creating these is http://www.voidstate.com/name_generator/
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