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D&D 5E ASCENSION, The Codex of Exalted, Book 1: Players Guide

dave2008

Legend
COVER_WEB_PHB.jpg

Cover by Alexander Sorensen

Ascension is my tribute to Epic/Immortal games in Dungeons & Dragons. I grew up pouring over and daydreaming about the gods and monsters that filled the pages of the 1st edition AD&D Deities and Demigods. It was not only one of the foundations of my introduction to Dungeons & Dragons but of mythology as well. The seeds planted by the pages of that book grew into a lifelong fascination with deities and mythology. Soon after I had been captivated by Deities and Demigods. I discovered the gloriously bizarre world of Frank Mentzer's Immortal Rules and realized we aren't limited to contemplating the lives of the gods - we could become them! My goal for Ascension is to bring the wonder and excitement I had for mythic gaming in the early '80s to the 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons. Throw in a bit of flavor inspired by the 2nd edition's Legends and Lore/Monster Mythology and 3rd edition's Epic Level Handbook, and of course @Upper_Krust Immortals Handbook, and we have the foundation for the definitive Immortals/Epic supplement for 5th edition!

This was originally intended to be a quarterly Zine I funded through Kickstarter. However, the pressure's of creating content I considered print worthy were just to much. I stopped the Kickstarter and I am in the process of refunding the backers. However, I didn't want the work to go to waste. So after discorporation from the physical realm, Ascension arisen as a web supplement! I am currently planning to organize this project in three threads or "books:" Player's Guide, Game Master's Guide, and Friends and Foes. Maybe someday these will get published, but the focus for now is getting this out to the public and getting feedback. Finally, I want to give a quick shout out to all the Kickstarter backers you believed and supported the original project. Thank you for your support and I apologize for not being able to deliver on the original plan. I hope this web-based supplement provides you with the epic options you were hoping for.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Introduction
Chapter 1: Apotheosis
Chapter 2: Exalted Forms
Chapter 3: Divine Authority
Chapter 4: Exalted Powers
Chapter 5: Exalted Combat
Chapter 6: Exalted Adventures
Chapter 7: Dominions
Chapter 8: Exalted Equipment
Chapter 9: Exalted Magic

Appendix A: New Conditions
Appendix B: The Planes of Existence
Appendix C: Character Sheet

Additional Core Books for ASCENSION:
ASCENSION, The Codex of Exalted, Book 2: GM's Guide
ASCENSION, The Codex of Exalted, Book 3: Friends & Foes

Thank you to the Kickstarter backers who made a good portion of this project possible:
Brandon Weinley, Scott Errington, Matt Soucy, Jackson Maurer, John Bookwalter Jr., Federico Neroni, Robert Carnel, Kyle Bodell, Ian McFarlin, Art H, MagnusLL, Wanderer, Nate Ng, Gus, Steven Lord, Shaun Beckett, Jason Conlon, Ken Reinertson, David Robinson, Agnieszka Pogorzelska, Jennifer Candee, Jon Terry, Russell Ventimeglia, Bertrand Guérin-Williams, Daniel Gregory, Evan Dooner, Ryan Kent, Lawrence Holbrook, logan, Cody, J K Rasmussen, Wasitora, The Ballad of Scum, Nick Zakhar, Caleb Coppola, Travis Boillat, Jack Elphinstone, Sean Owen, Ted Houseman, Ryan, Anna Wallin, Don Tucker, Peter Hood, Casey, David Mello, Seth Largent, Jose Luis, Will Carr, Peter DiMauro, Domx9200, Alicommagali, Steve Houst, Olivia Montoya, Clint Doyle, Jonathan Rupert, David JACQUET, Maxime Giguère-Bisson, Olav Müller, Battlefield Press, Inc., Mike Mahoney, Jacob Korst, Christopher Scarselli, Nick Rice, Kelly Edward Williams, John Cleary, Chris Striker, Charlie Day, Jack Murphy, Paramo, Jared Buckley, doorhandleis, Man Yellow, Koby Chapman, Kaeleigh Post, Vikrant Misra, Nathan Swift, Ducky, Muriadim, Aaron Frick, Caleb Slama, MA Roxas, Daniel, Robotzh8teme, Valur Sverrisson, Thalji, Michael Merchant, Luke Seymour, Grace Iverson, Jason Hennigan, Alex Neilson, Keenan Hagen, Emmo Lütringer, Steven, Nick Wolak, New Comet Games, Sean Comer, Matthew J Weidman, Contesse, Eric Hamilton, Braeden Gardner, Paul Pflieger, Jim Davis, Patrick P., CoolWhipKid, Br1ghtL1ght, Steve Dodge, Peter Merryman, Joe Corona, Paul Kensler, Joel Maunula, John M. Portley, Guest 512230315, anonymous1453, Hunter Mackey, Andreas Loeckher, saintzazzaz, John "johnkzin" Rudd, Clay Hodges, Stephane Gelgoot, MeleeMagthere, Apaphous, Dan George, Chris Berger, Sean, Paul Morin, Dana Boychuk, King Rollo, Minority Stock Holder, Demetrios Papadatos, Eric A Gregory, Diego Pisa Artworks, Martin Heim, Mason, Shawn Fennessey, Paul Connolly, Matthias Mertens, Anthony Reyes, Anthony Carrozzo, Jason Gabel, Simmy Sims, Ben Fowler, Chris Skidmore, Brian Zuber, Lisa Kellogg, Darklord, Egg Embry, Mike Myler, Miguel Warlock Patreon, Alican Öztürk, Owen Moore, Darion Nutter, The Creative Fund, TLhikan, Sam Underwood, Glenn Like, Guy Edward Larke
 
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dave2008

Legend
INTRODUCTION
Ascension: the Codex of Exalted is an expansion of the fifth edition of the world’s greatest roleplaying game. The legendary stories created as mortal characters can now be extended to epic realms of roleplaying as you explore the multiverse as one of the immortal rulers of the cosmos, the Exalted. The focus of this Player's Guide is on a particular type of exalted: deities. This guide will help players ascend to become demigods and then give them the tools to increase their rank to become greater gods or even pantheon heads. When this guide discuss a trait or feature generally applicable to an exalted, it also applies to deities and therefore Player Characters. However, if an ability, trait, or feature references deities, gods or demigods; it is an exclusive feature of deities; whether they be play characters, NPCs, or monsters, and not a trait shared with other types of exalted.

WHAT IS AN EXALTED
Exalted entities, or simply “Exalted,” are the great spirits, demigods, arch-fiends, and deities that are worshiped in temples, revered in sacred glades, or whispered about in hushed tones for fear of attracting their baleful gaze. The vary in their magnitude and origin: from ancient and powerful spirits that protect sacred locations, to mortals who ascended to divinity, to entities of supreme power that can alter reality with their Authority and were present at the beginning of all things.

EXALTED RANK
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This powers and abilities of exalted can be expressed in many different ways, but the magnitude of their abilities and their stature amongst their peers revolves around their Exalted Rank (ER). Exalted rank is not a title of status. It is simply a game term to describe the power gap between different classes of exalted. Exalted do not refer to each other’s exalted rank, they don’t even conceive of their power differences in these terms. They simply understand the fundamental power disparities that are described by the game term “exalted rank.” Instead, if they acknowledge the difference in rank at all, exalted refer to titles such as: demigods and demon lords, or lesser gods and demon princes for higher ranked exalted.

EXALTED TRAITS
Regardless of the terms used, an exalted of a higher rank has several advantages over exalted of a lower rank or a creature with no exalted rank. These differences are expressed by the following Exalted Traits:

Exalted Actions. Exalted have a different set of actions than standard Monsters and player characters. Each turn an Exalted can take two basic actions and move up to its speed. It also gets one reaction for each of its turns. Additionally, an exalted gets one turn, plus one additional turn for each exalted rank, per round. For example, a greater god (ER 4) can take 5 turns in one round. The deity can move its speed five times, take 10 basic actions, and has 5 reactions in one round.
To determine the initiative order of additional turn(s), simply subtract 5, cumulatively, from an Exalted’s initiative score for each additional turn. Therefore, if an Exalted’s initiative score is 30, its second turn is at 25, and its third turn would be at 20.
Exalted Advantage. For each rank an exalted has it gains one additional d20 to use whenever it makes a check, saving throw, or attack roll, selecting the best roll from the pool of dice. Therefore a greater god (ER 4) would roll 5d20 whenever it makes a d20 roll that is not a damage roll. Exalted advantage stacks with standard advantage/disadvantage, but otherwise does not change the rules for applying advantage/disadvantage.
Exalted Might. An Exalted’s attacks are always considered magical and they are Empowered when targeting anything of a lower rank. Exalted have Resistance to all damage from an attack of a lower rank and when an Exalted's attacks a lower ranked target, it ignores any resistances and the target's immunities are treated as if they are resistances instead. Similarly, a lower ranked target must make a saving throw for a condition or effect imposed by a higher ranked attack or effect, even if the target is immune to the condition or effect. If there is only one rank difference, the target has advantage to save against a condition they are immune too.
Exalted Proficiency. An Exalted has expertise in all skills, saving throws, checks, and attacks. However, they have no proficiency bonus. Instead this proficiency is calculated as part of their Talents (see Chapter 1 - Apotheosis). Therefore, an Exalted uses its entire Talent score when making attacks, checks, or saving throws. They do not use ability modifiers.
Exalted Recovery. When an Exalted's true form is reduced to 0 hit points, and it has uses of this trait remaining, it doesn't die, fall unconscious, or discorporate (unless it wishes too). Instead, all conditions and effects it is suffering end for it, all of its abilities recharge, and it regains all of its hit points. An exalted can use this trait a number of times equal to its ER - 1, before it needs to complete a Minor Rest. Therefore a greater god (ER 4), can recover 3 times before it must discorporate or be ruined when it reaches 0 hit points. Conversely, a demigod cannot use this trait at all.
True Form. Many, but not all, types of exalted can naturally assume different forms. However, all exalted have at least a True Forms. A True Form is constructed of extraordinary and extremely sturdy materials that make them stronger and more durable than the bodies of other creatures and objects. This hardy construction provides certain advantages over mortals and other lesser creatures and allows and exalted to utilize its full range of powers and abilities. You can find out more about True Form and other types of manifestations in Chapter 2: Exalted Forms.

NORMALIZING EXALTED ACTIONS
For ease of play, it is generally useful to normalize the turns in a round. If all creatures are of the same rank, everyone just gets one turn (assume each round is a fraction of typical round). If there are creatures of different ranks involved you can normalize the round around the creature(s) of the lowest rank. Simply subtract the lowest ranked creature’s ER from the highest ranked creature’s ER and that is the number of extra turns the higher ranked creature gets. Continue this process for each rank of combatant until you get to the lowest ranked creatures which will get one turn.

QUINTESSENCE
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Regardless of their variety and the difference in their might, the common thread that units all exalted is that they possess some ability to harness quintessence. Quintessence is an invisible primeval substance that flows through and is the foundation of things in the Multiverse. Exalted refer to this substance as Quintessence, or simply Essence. Quintessence is the fabric of reality and it comes in five flavors: Matter, Energy, Time, Thought, and Entropy. It is the foundation of all things, the eternal substance of creation and the exalted themselves. All things contain at least some amount of all five types of quintessence, but in varying proportions. Therefore, all things have an affinity to one flavor of quintessence over the others. This affinity tends to exert a pressure or influence such that exalted tend to define things based on their quintessence affinity. Additionally, quintessence manifest itself in two broad categories, heedless of the flavor of quintessence.

Primary Quintessence
An exalted’s quintessence maximum is called its primary quintessence (PQ), or permanent quintessence, or simply primary. An exalted’s primary total determines their exalted rank, refer to the Divine Order for the amounts of primary quintessence for each exalted rank. Exalted use primary quintessence to make enduring changes to reality: creating a True Form or an artifact, building and modifying their Dominion, or using their Authority. When an exalted uses primary quintessence, it reduces its quintessence maximum and its current quintessence by the amount spent. Primary Quintessence does not regenerate; once it is spent it is gone forever. The only way to gain more is to actively acquire it from another source. Whenever, a power or ability requires primary quintessence it will be explicitly noted as primary, otherwise when quintessence is spent it refers to its temporary form: transient quintessence.

Transient quintessence
Quintessence continually emanates from sources of primary. This flow of quintessence is called transient quintessence (TQ) or temporary quinteseence, or, typically, simply quintessence. An exalted’s maximum transient quintessence is equal to its primary total. Though not as powerful or as permanent as primary, transient quintessence is very versatile and extremely useful to exalted and is the primary medium through which the interact with reality.

Exalted can spend quintessence to cast spells, empower their attacks, augment their auras, repair their True Forms, and achieve a number of different phenomena. The particular uses and effects achievable with quintessence, and the cost to do so, are detail with the description of the power or ability. Unlike primary, exalted regenerate quintessence, regaining all spent transient quintessence, after a short rest.

If an exalted’s TQ drops to 0, it cannot use transient quintessence to power special abilities, cast epic spells, or do any of the wonderous things they normally use it for. Therefore, exalted usually attempt to withdraw from conflict before such an occurrence.

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Athena Sketches by SickJoe

WHAT IS A DEITY
There are many different viewpoints on what defines a deity in religion and mythology. However, in the game terms of Ascension it is very specific: A deity is a type of exalted that can use all three types of exalted forms and can wield Authority over quintessence. No other entities in the multiverse posses both of these abilities. Many other exalted can use various exalted forms, but only Primordials can also wield Authority, and they are bound to their True Forms. Additionally, because of their Authority, deities have the unique method of gathering quintessence through worship if the so desire. Finally, deities are the group of exalted from which Players create immortal Characters to engage the wide Multiverse of Ascension.

Like all exalted, deities are categorized based on their exalted rank. The deific hierarchy advances from exalted rank 1 demigods through lesser, intermediate, greater, and elder gods on the way to rank 6 overgods. Each of these groups has a place in governing the cosmos and though some seek to increase their rank, many become complacent with their place in the multiverse. Deities general describe their level of power as their Divine Rank.

DIVINE RANK
Demigods (ER 1). Demigods are the newly ascended who have little (comparatively) and aspire to greatness. Demigods have have close ties to mortals and spend a lot of time in mortal realms working to build their renown and worship. Demigods, the weakest deities, are much more vulnerable than their more esteemed brethren and the only deities that have much fear of truly dying. As such, if they are not out grooming mortals for worship, the spend their time petitioning pantheons to join to gain the protection and security that is difficult for these nascent gods to obtain otherwise. However, this process is also fraught with difficulties and many godlings perish at this stage or retire to a remote corner of multiverse, content with lordship of a small corner of the mortal realm. The vast majority of ascended mortals only make it to demigod status, with twice as many perishing to the hardship of exalted existence as those that stay as demigods or progress to a higher rank. Demigods typically have between 0 to 100,000 worshipers.
Lesser Deities (ER 2). Deities of this rank have either joined a pantheon or established an independent dominion of their own. The have transcended the border state of demigods and can withstand the destruction of their True Form. Lesser deities are often considered the first rank of true deities. Beyond their own pursuits they spend a good deal of time on missions and projects for their pantheon leaders. For this reason, and lingering ties to their former mortality, they are the most common true deity to directly interfere in the affairs of mortals. Once established for a few centuries, many gods become complacent at this rank and this is the resting place for most mortals who manage to ascend to godhood. Lesser deities typically have between 100,000 to 1,000,000 worshipers.
Intermediate Deities (ER 3). With more power and status than lesser deities, intermediate deities hold positions of authority and power in their pantheons. Most well know deities fall within this rank. Intermediate deities have well established religions and strong followings. The can command demigods and lesser gods to perform task for the pantheon and even personal projects. Therefore, they tend to interact less directly with the mortal realm compared to lesser deities and demigods, but when they do so it tends to be a spectacular event. A few ascended mortals have managed to make it to the ranks of the intermediate deities, but they number less than 100. Intermediate deities typically have between 1,000,00,000 to 10,000,000 worshipers.
Greater Deities (ER 4). Deities of this rank comprise the leaders and rulers of their pantheons. Greater deities are incredibly powerful and the heads of pantheons almost always come from their ranks. The majority of the deities of this rank trace their origins to the beginning of creation, but a rare few originated from exceptional convergences of raw quintessence that occurred after the Beginning. Greater deities are widely worshipped but rarely interact directly with their mortal followers, preferring to send visions, portents, or a deity of lesser stature to carry out their will. No mortals have ever ascended to this stature. Greater deities typically have between 10,000,000 to 100,000,000 worshipers or more.
Elder Deities (ER 5). Deities of this rank existed at the beginning, springing from the raw quintessence of the initial creation. Elder deities my occasionally involve themselves with a pantheon, but they have generally left such activities behind and almost exclusively explore their own projects. The occasionally get involved with great threats to the multiverse or concerns of their Authority. A deity of this stature generally no longer concerns itself with mortal worshipers and any followers it had generally decline tenfold for each century it neglects its following. Instead elder deities create bonds with other exalted and these bonded can number between 1 to 100 exalted.
Over Deities (ER 6). Deities of this rank where the leaders of the Beginning. Wielding greater powers than their brethren, they rose beyond them to their current position. There are only ten over deities in all of existence. One leader and one apprentice for each of the Authorities. As the supreme arbiters of their Authority, they spend the majority of their time managing the affairs of their Authority. However, each is also responsible for governing aspects of various pantheons to make sure the balance of the Prime Material is maintained. They are the stewards and ultimate authority for the pantheons under their watch and act in similar position to their pantheons that the gods do to mortals. Over deities are minimally bonded with more than 100 other exalted.
 
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dave2008

Legend
CHAPTER 1: APOTHEOSIS
STEP-BY-STEP GODS

There are many types of exalted: archfiends and celestials, deities, primordials, titans, and vestiges to name a few. Although all of these types of entities share some traits in common, they are different enough that is currently beyond the scope of Ascension to cover each type in a format that would allow them to be playable. It is a daunting enough task to focus on one: deities.

Deities are probably the Exalted most familiar to players. They are the characters of the great pantheons of our own historical mythologies. Many know their names, stories and fantastic equipment. The intent of Ascension is to provide rules and guidelines to play these most familiar of Exalted and for you to create your own myths.

On this myth making journey you start at the bottom of the divine hierarchy as demigods with the possibility to accumulate power and influence to become a lesser god, intermediate god, greater god or beyond.

BUILDING EDHOR
To start the process of godly character creation, think about the kind of deity you want to play. You might want to be a patron of order and stability, or uphold the dynamism of transformation, or guide the creative flow of change, or to analyze and understand the mysteries of the multiverse, or perhaps you seek to end it all, to rip apart the fabric of creation itself. Draw upon your knowledge of myths and legends, religion and comics, to look for inspiration for the type of deity you want to play.

Once you have your character in mind, try building your character around the core traits you have identified. The following steps will guide you in the process of making a godly player character, but only you can make it into a deity of myth and legend.

To guide you through the process of divine character creation we will model the steps with you. We will create the demigod, Edhor, for a player named Tracy.

BUILDING EDHOR, STEP 0: THE CONCEPT
Tracy wants Edhor to be a storm god, similar to Zeus or Marvel's Storm. They envision throwing lightning bolts and summing hurricane force winds. However, they also see Edhor as a valiant warrior, leading the charge against a pantheon’s enemies. This vision will inform Tracy's decisions going forward.

1. CHOOSE A FORM
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Gods are not bound to the limitations of one body like most mortals. Indeed, a traditional body is completely optional for a deity and many Exalted. Gods possess the ability to assume three different types of bodies, or Forms as they call them: Incorporeal Form, Mortal From, and True Form.

An Incorporeal Form has no body or shape, a player does not have any choices to make with this Form, it simple is an option a god can manifest. A Mortal Form is the body a god had before it ascended to the ranks of the exalted, or another mortal body it possesses. Mortal bodies are transient and disposable. A god simple chooses to assume this form or not, it doesn’t have lasting implications. A True Form however, is intrinsically bound to a deity's essence and the only Form that allows it to use its full range of powers and abilities. Refer Chapter 2: Exalted Forms regarding the a traits of various Forms and choosing the shape of your character’s True Form. The important thing to remember is that the shape of your true form as no impact on your combat ability, it is purely cosmetic and an extension of your vision of your character.

BUILDING EDHOR, STEP 1: THE SHAPE OF A GOD
Tracy has decided they don’t want to stray to far from what they know when envision their divine character. Therefore, they have decided that Edhor’s True Form will resemble a Large robust, well-muscled humanoid. However, not satisfied with something completely mundane Tracy gives Edhor an extra set arms and a pair of feathered wings. With Edhor’s True Form set, Tracy is ready to move on to the next step of creating their godly character.

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Storm Colossus - Stormlord by Sharkanry

2. CHOOSE AN AUTHORITY
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The multiverse is made up of five essential ingredients, or flavors of quintessence: Matter, Energy, Time, Thought, and Entropy. These are the Authorities of Quintessence.

As a god, your character is one of the Exalted who can exert control over reality by exercising your Divine Authority. It is this ability that sets deities apart from other Exalted more than any other. The ability to alter reality through their Authority is what makes a god a god.

However, to able do that, you must first choose one the Authorities for your character to both serve and master. Reflect on the core traits of your divine character and select one of the Authorities. A brief description of each Authority is provided below; however, you should review
Chapter 3 - Divine Authority for a more thorough description of the attributes and features of each Authority and Divine Authority in general.

Matter. This Authority embodies the concepts sturdiness and stability. Rich in variety, Matter is the building block of all things and is easily mutable to any form. It opposes Time’s attempts to change, resists the attacks of Energy, and provides Thought with order.

Energy. This Authority embodies the concepts activity, dynamism, and temperamentality. Energy is creative and expressive, resisting attempts at control and confinement. Energy seeks to alter and transform, consuming Matter, speeding up Time and exciting Thought.

Time. This Authority embodies the understanding of the relationship of all things: matter, energy, and thought, to each other and how that changes. Time is everywhere, flowing ever forward, recycling the lessons of the past to remind the present. Time is opposed to Matter’s stability, relentlessly consumes Energy, and teaches Thought the lessons of history.

Thought. This Authority embodies the pursuit to comprehend all of existence. Thought is realization, philosophy, understanding, and the very principle of consciousness. Thought opposes the excess of Energy, attempts to control Time, and to create form and order in Matter.


Option Rule: Entropy
Entropy actively opposes the other Authorities, and is closely associated with evil. Because Entropy opposes the other Authorities, it has more variety and Exalted of Entropy don’t have some of the restrictions of other Authorities. This can cause an issue groups of mixed Authorities as the Entropy is not balanced against any particular Authority, but all of them. A clever player could exploit some of these differences and it may impact the enjoyment of other players. If you want to include this optional Authority, please keep this in mind.

Entropy. This Authority embodies the concept of rot, decay, destruction, and the weakening of the fabric of the universe. Its purpose is the ultimate destruction of the multiverse. All the other Authorities oppose it. Entropy seeks to destroy Matter, dissipate Energy, stagnate Time, and stifle Thought.


BUILDING EDHOR, STEP 2: A DEITIES AUTHORITY
Choosing your Authority is similar to choosing your Class. It is a major decision that impacts how your character interacts with the game and the game setting in many ways.

Tracy envisions playing a sky deity, wielding the powers of thunder and lightning and mastering storms and the weather. Imaging theirself something like Zeus, Thor, or Storm; the warrior vanguard against the forces of evil. After reviewing the Authorities in Chapter 3, Tracy determines that the Authority of Energy suites a storm god well, but warrior types often tend toward Matter. Ultimately, Tracy decides Edhor’s power over weather, thunder, and lightning as being more significant than being the best melee combatant and chooses the Authority of Energy with an Influence in the Tempest domain for Edhor. Tracy can also add features from other Authorities with elective powers to complete their vision of Edhor later if they wish to add more melee warrior type traits.

DETERMINE ABILITY SCORES AND TALENTS
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Now that you have chosen your Authority, you must determine ability scores. However, Exalted are not defined solely by mundane ability scores. In addition to the six standard ability scores (Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma), Exalted have a set of three scores called Talents: Fortitude, Reflex, and Will. Talents are derived from their ability scores and their Authority and are the primary method Exalted use to resolve interactions (attacks, checks, and saving throws).

ABILITY SCORES
You create your character’s ability scores in a two step process. You first determine a base score, then apply additional "ascension points" to determine your divine ability scores. To determine your base scores, use one of the methods below.

Ascended. If you have a mortal PC that is ascending to god-hood, just use your current ability scores as your base ability scores.

Incarnate.
If you are creating a divine character from scratch, use one of the methods below to determine your base ability scores.
  • Roll 18d6 and record the total number of points. Or use the average number of points (63). Assign these points to your ability scores in any way you desire (within the allowable minimum and maximum)
  • Roll 3d6 and record the total. Repeat this process 5 more times and then assign the scores to the ability scores in any way you desire (within the allowable minimum and maximum)
  • Use one of the following arrays and then assign them to the ability scores in any way you desire:
    • 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8
    • 12, 11, 10, 10, 10, 10
Now that you have your base ability scores, you can add your ascension points (ability scores points granted at divine ascension) to calculate your final ability scores. You will need to know which scores make up your Greater Talent (see Talents below). When assigning ascension points to an ability score, the minimum ability score allowed is 8 and the maximum ability score allowed is 25.

Ascended. You have 22 total ascension points. These points can be assigned to any ability score you desire. However, please keep in mind that your Greater Talent score most be at least 20.


Incarnate. You have 48 total ascension points. These points can be assigned to any ability score you desire. However, please keep in mind that your Greater Talent score most be at least 20.

Assigning Ability Score Points
When creating your ability scores it is strongly recommend to create, as much as possible, and even distribution of scores. Divine characters will find that all divine Talents are used frequently in play and none of them can be neglected. Therefore, the ability scores that determine your Talents cannot be neglected either.

TALENTS
Exalted do not typically use their ability score to interact with the cosmos. Instead they work with their Talents. Therefore, almost all rolls you make for your character: attacks, checks, saving throws, etc., are mode with your Talent score, not your ability score.

Your character has three Talents and they are ranked into Greater, Intermediate, and Lesser categories based on your character’s Authority, refer to the Talent Rank by Authority table below for the Talent rank for your Authority. These categories determine how your Exalted bonus is applied. You can add your full Exalted Rank to any check, attack, or saving throw that involves your Greater Talent, or half your Exalted Rank (rounded down) for your Intermediate Talent. You do not get any bonus when using your Lesser Talent.

Fortitude. This Talent is a measure of toughness, mass, strength, and physical durability. This is the key Talent to determine damage from physical attacks and defense against grappling, poison, and forced movement. Additionally, it can be used as a defense against physical and some magical attacks.

Reflex. This Talent is a measure of your character’s agility and the ability to predict, react, take aim, deflect, or dodge. This is the key Talent used for determining your chance to hit for all physical attacks and some magical attacks. Additionally, it can be used as a defense against physical and some magical attacks.

Will. This Talent is a measure of your character’s strength of resolve, self-discipline, desire, and overall force-of-spirit. It is the key Talent for defending your mind, overpowering other’s will, and determining your ability to attack with or defend against many types of magic

TALENT RANK BY AUTHORITY
AuthorityFortitudeReflexWill
MatterGreaterLesserIntermediate
EnergyLesserGreaterIntermediate
TimeIntermediateLesserGreater
ThoughtLesserIntermediateGreater
EntropyAnyAnyAny

Each Talent is determined by a pair of ability scores as indicated in the Talents by Authority & Ability Score table. Locate the desired Talent, add together the ability scores indicated for your Authority. Divide the result by two (rounding down), and you have that Talent’s score. Repeat this process for all your Talents. As with ability scores, Talents do not have modifiers; however, you do add 10 to your Talent to represent it's score for defensive purposes. So each Talent will have two scores.
  • Active Talent: This score score determined by its requisite ability scores. This the score added to your attack, check, or saving throw rolls.
  • Defensive Talent: This is equal to your active score +8. It is the score your enemies to hit to land an attack or overcome a passive defense.

TALENTS BY AUTHORITY & ABILITY SCORE
AuthorityFortitudeReflexWill
MatterCon + StrDex + WisCha + Wis
EnergyCon + StrDex + ChaInt + Wis
TimeCon + StrDex + WisCha + Int
ThoughtCon + StrDex + IntCha + Wis
EntropyCon + StrDex + Int or WisCha + Int or Wis

ARMOR CLASS
One major departure between Exalted and divine player characters and mortal creatures and player characters is that Exalted do not have an armor class. The defense is replaced by an Exalted's Fortitude or Reflex defense, depending on the attack and the exalted being attacked. Refer to Chapter 3 - Divine Authority and Chapter 5 - Exalted Combat for more information your character's defenses.

BUILDING EDHOR, STEP 3: GODLY ABILITIES AND TALENTS
Tracy decided to use an array for Edhor’s base ability scores: 12, 11, 10, 10, 10, 10. Then, considering Edhor’s Authority, which favors Dexterity and Charisma, Tracy adds 21 ascension points to these two ability scores and to get a Dexterity of 22 and a Charisma of 22. Tracy then uses the remaining 27 ascension points as evenly as possible. Edhor’s ability scores are:

Strength 18, Constitution 17, Dexterity 22, Intelligence 17, Wisdom 17, & Charisma 20.

From these scores, Tracy can now determine Edhor’s Talents as follows:

Reflex (Greater Talent): 22 (Dex) + 20 (Cha) = 42/2 = 21 = 21 + 1 (Exalted Rank) = 22/30
Will
(Intermediate Talent): 17 (Int) + 17 (Wis) = 34/2 = 17 = 17/25
Fortitude
(Lesser Talent): 18 (Str) + 17 (Con) = 35/2 = 17/25

Though these scores may seem low for a nascent demigod, remember an Exalted uses their full Talent score as a modifier to their attack, check, and saving throw rolls. So even Edhor's weakest Talent provides a +16 to rolls involving that Talent.

HIT POINTS
Hit points have the same function in ASCENSION as they do in standard 5th edition games. They are a measure of your basically ability to absorb or avoid damage through luck, resolve, experience, and physical durability. However, though similar, ASCENSION differs from the 5th edition standard in terms of how you calculate your Hit Points. Exalted have hit dice, just like mortals; however, they always use the maximum value of the die. Additionally, every deity uses the same hit die and has the same number of hit dice at each level. Exalted Rank 1 demigods use a d12 and start with 21 hit dice. Refer to the Divine Advancement table for hit dice totals and hit die's used at higher ranks and levels.

In addition to these hit dice differences, Exalted do not add any hit points for their Constitution score modifier. Instead, at each divine level, a deity adds hit points equal to their Fortitude score multiplied by their Hit Dice total to the base hit points. Therefore, the formula for determining an Exalted's hit points is:

Hit Point Maximum = [(HD total) x Hit Die max (d12 for demigods)] + [ (HD Total) x Fortitude]

BLOODIED HIT POINTS
In addition to a revised calculation method, ASCENSION brings back another state of hit points from an earlier edition (4th) called Bloodied. When your hit points reach half of their maximum you are considered Bloodied. Nothing directly changes to your character when you are bloodied; however, certain powers and traits you could have, or your allies or enemies could have are triggered when you are bloodied.

Conceptually, the Bloodied state represent a turning point where luck and experience are no longer as effective at absorbing Hit Point damage. Instead your physical body is taken the brunt of your hit point damage when you are in this state. However, this has little practical effect on Exalted who's True Forms are typical constructed to work at maximum efficiency at all times - until they are Ruined.


BUILDING EDHOR, STEP 4: HIT POINTS
Now that Tracy has figured out Edhor's Talents, they can calculate Edhor's Hit Points. Edhor is a divine level 1 demigod (ER 1). Edhor has 21 Hit Dice - a d12 - and starts with hit points equal to 252 (21d12) + their Fortitude score (17) multiple by their hit dice (21), 357 (16 x21), for a total maximum hit points of 609 hit points and their bloodied value is 304 hit points.

DIVINE EQUIPMENT
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Unlike mortal characters, godly characters do not necessarily need clothing, armor, and equipment. They can manifest most things they need by spending a minor amount of TQ, Furthermore, their bodies are already stronger and more durable than most armor and weapons, including magical ones. If you want to describe your character as wearing plate armor and wielding a spear. Then, your character can simply change the shape of there True Form to appear as the wish: wearing splendent plate armor and armed with a divine spear. The equipment is simply part of your True Form. However, this change in shape and form does not change your combat capabilities (refer to Chapter 5 - Exalted Combat for more details). Therefore, unlike a mortal character, divine characters do not get any starting equipment: no gold, nor armor, no weapons, or adventuring gear. They simply do not need it.

However, this does not mean there is no place for equipment and wonderous magical items in Exalted games. On the contrary, they are even more precious and valuable. The crafting of equipment suitable for a god is rare thing and requires the expenditure of Primary quintessence. Such Exalted Equipment is highly prized among deities and other Exalted and wars have been fought over powerful divine relics. However, even the lowest exalted item is a precious thing and can only be obtained the exploration, conquest, or divine craftsmanship. There is no market for exalted items and deities don't tender transactions in gold. For more information on divine equipment, refer to Chapter 8 - Exalted Equipment.



THE DIVINE ORDER
Just like mortal characters, divine characters can advance by gaining levels. Additionally, divine characters, like all Exalted, gain significant benefits by increasing their Exalted Rank. However, unlike mortal characters, deities do not gain levels and ranks simply by going on adventures and overcoming challenges. Refer to Tiers of Play below and Chapter 6 - Exalted Adventures for more information on the benefits of exalted rank and gaining divine levels and exalted ranks.

The Divine Character Advancement table summaries the Primary Quintessence (PQ) need to advance from divine level 1 to divine level 30, and the general benefits all divine characters receive at each level. Each time you gain a divine level, you character gets 6 additional ascension points that they can apply to any ability score they wish (remember to be mindful to your minimum Greater Talent need to gain the next Exalted Rank). Additionally, when your divine character gains a divine level, their Authority grants additional features as detailed in Chapter 3 - Divine Authority. Consult the information in your Character's Authority description to see what other improvements you gain at each level.

Each time your divine character gains a level, you gain HD as noted in the Divine Character Advancement table and your hit points increase commensurately. Additionally, the base Hardness and attack damage of your True Form increase as well. Refer to Chapter 5 - Exalted Combat for more information about Hardness and Base Damage.

When your divine level and exalted rank increase your mastery of and strength of your Authority increases. You gain one use of your Alter Reality ability for each divine level gain. Similarly, your uses of Influence Reality per Short Rest and the range of your Aura increase as noted in the Divine Advancement table.

The Divine Character Advancement table also identifies the maximum ability score you can have in any of your six ability scores while you are within the identified Exalted Rank. To increase an ability score past this maximum you must first advance to a higher Exalted Rank. Similarly, the table identifies the minimum score your Greater Talent must be before you can advance to the next Exalted Rank. To advance to a higher Exalted Rank, you character's Greater Talent score musts meet this minimum.

DIVINE CHARACTER ADVANCEMENT
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EXALTED TIERS
In addition to gaining divine levels, a deity, like all Exalted, advances by increasing its Exalted Rank. Each rank is associated with an Exalted Tier and each tier is constituted of five divine levels as noted on the Divine Character Advancement table. When a god would advance to the next exalted tier, in addition to the required permanent quintessence, the god must have also raised its Greater Talent score to the minimum requirement as indicated in the Divine Advancement table. Indeed, a god cannot increase its permanent quintessence beyond the minimum for the next tier until it has increased its Greater Talent to the minimum requirement. Once, both prerequisites are met, the god immediately advance to the next tier and gains the exalted rank and other benefits of that tier and divine level.

Unlike mortal tiers of play, Exalted tiers have a significant impact on your character. When a deity, or any Exalted, advances to the next tier, it gains a substantial amount of power. Much more so than just the features and powers from advancing to another divine level. The nature of their
Exalted Traits: Exalted Actions, Exalted Advantage, Exalted Might, and Exalted Recovery; means that a deity of one tier higher, yet also only one divine level higher, is approximately two to three times as powerful as deity of a lower rank. For this reason, Exalted of higher tiers tend to hold some degree of influence over Exalted of lower tiers. Additionally, because of this large jump in power, it may be worthwhile to use one of the optional rules for Exalted Tier advancement listed below to add another measure of importance to a character's advancement through the Exalted Tiers.

Initiate (1st tier - demigods).
In the first tier of Exalted play, your divine character are is a nascent godling. Though more powerful than mortals, your character doesn't have the full strength to Exalted of higher tiers. Their Authority is limited and they must learn the politics and personalities of the Exalted and find their place among them. Also, this is the most dangerous tier for Exalted as their power has not yet coalesced into true godhood. Therefor Initiate's usually band together, join a pantheon, and maintain closer relationships with mortals. Initiate's spend more time in the Prime than most other Exalted and therefor tend to be the first to raise a warning about threats to its sanctity.

Temporal (2nd tier - lesser gods).
In the second tier of Exalted play, divine characters have established their divinity and truly shed the frailty of mortality. Their Authority extends for a mile and mortals no longer present a realistic threat. With the confidence in their divine might, Temporal characters can explore the vastness of reality for themselves, their pantheon, or their Authority. The have moved away from regular interaction with mortals and typical involve themselves with the Prime through avatars or demigod companion. However, Temporals occupy a lower tier of the divine bureaucracy, so they are often out on missions and are the first to respond to threats and peculiarities within their pantheon's or Authorities area of influence.

Celestial (3rd tier - intermediate gods). In the third tier of Exalted play, divine characters have reached a level of power the sets them above most other exalted. They may command other Temporals and Initiates and hold important positions within their pantheon. Their Authority spans a hundred miles and few entities can escape their notice or their might. At this tier, divine characters are given important tasks for their Authority and act as field commander's for their pantheon's projects in the Prime and beyond. They generally act on their own volition, only rarely being called up on by Empyreals to perform some great task.

Empyreal (4th tier - greater gods). In the fourth tier of Exalted play, divine characters are among the ruling class of divine pantheons. They are at the forefront of pantheon politics and responsibilities. Their Authority extend through an entire world and they are de

Eternal (5th tier - elder gods). In the fifth tier of Exalted play, divine characters typical remove themselves from pantheon politics and mortal affairs. They no longer seek mortal worship and instead forge bonds with other Exalted. They have typically explored the known reality and may look to reach out into the unknown vastness of the Aether. They search for new realities, toil away on their own esoteric projects, discover new aspects of their Authority, or create new artifacts to inspire younger generations. However, they can always be called upon for advice or assistance when their pantheon or Authority is in need.

Hierarch (6th tier - overgods). In the sixth tier of Exalted play, divine characters are the masters of reality. They have supreme mastery of their authority, the may govern one or more pantheons, or even create their own realities. Hierarch's have few rivals or threats (other than other heirarchs) and generally concern themselves with their own projects or collaboration with other hierarchs or eternals. However, when their are threats to the stability of the Divine Authority, the Prime, or the very fabric of reality, the hierarchs are quick to act.


OPTIONAL RULE: REQUIRED WORSHIPERS
One of the main differences between gods and other types of exalted is that they can gather quintessence from their followers through worship. If you are using the optional Cultivating Worship guidelines detailed in Chapter 6: Exalted Adventures, you may want to consider using this optional rule.

With this optional rule, in addition to the requirements noted in the Divine Character Advancement table, a godly character can only rise to a new exalted tier by gathering a minimum number of required worshipers, as follows:
  • Lesser god: 10,000 Worshipers and 10 shrines or 1 temple
  • Intermediate god: 100,000 worshipers and 100 shrines or 10 temples.
  • Greater god: 1,000,000 worshipers and 1,000 shrines or 100 temples
  • Elder god: 10 Bonded Exalted
  • Overgod: 100 Bonded Exalted.
Once your character has met these requirements in addition to the standard prerequisites, you can ascend to the next tier.

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The Hierophant by Paolo Puggioni

OPTIONAL RULE: DIVINE OLYMPICS
With this optional rule, in addition to the requirements noted the Divine Character Advancement table, a godly character can only rise to a new tier by competing and succeeding in the Divine Olympics. The Divine Olympics, are held publicly every 1,000 – 10,000 years (sages disagree on the frequency of the tournaments). Though each Authority holds its own Olympics, many gods enjoy visiting other Authority’s Olympics.

After a god has qualified for tier advancement the character must wait until the next Olympics to compete for the chance to advance. During this time, a god can continue to improve itself, but it cannot increase its permanent quintessence beyond the minimum of the desired tier until it has completed and succeed in the Divine Olympics. Once the waiting period is over the qualified applicants of each Authority must compete against their peers for the opportunity to advance. There are always ten participants.

At the start of each Olympics the number of available positions is announced; usually just one, but sometimes two or more. The exact number is determined by the DM. Each group of competitors is then sent to their arena – a demiplane constructed for the specific purpose of challenging the contestants. The demiplane is generally devoid of life forms, but this is not a requirement.

The conditions of competition are fairly simple: when a competitor’s hit points reach zero, and they are forced to discorporate, and they can no longer compete. When there is only one deity remaining, the contest is over. The contestants are awarded victory points (VP) determined by the order in which they were forced to retire from the game. The last deity remain is awarded 100 VP. Each participant next in line is awarded 10 less victory points. So the 2nd place finisher receives 90 VP all the way down to the last place finisher you receives 10 VP.

In addition to the VP gained by the order in which the contestants finish the game, each Olympics has additional challenges designed to test the contestant’s mastery of their Authority. The contestants are awarded additional victory points based on their ability to complete these additional challenges. The exact number and nature of these challenges are determined by the DM; however, the total number of victory points available for this portion of the contest is always equal to 100.

When the games are over, all the victory points are tabulated. Then the available positions for advancement are award based on the contestants’ victory point totals, starting from the highest total and moving down. Once the available slots are filled the games are over. Contestants that did not manage to advance must wait until the next Olympics for another chance to compete and advance.
 
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dave2008

Legend
CHAPTER 2: EXALTED FORMS
Unlike most mortals, a body is an optional accessory for gods and many exalted. In fact, the natural form of a god is an intangible cloud of raw quintessence. A deity’s unbound quintessence, its Incorporeal Form, is eternal; immune to the ravages of time, physical and magical effects, and nearly indestructible. However, this is only one of many possible forms a god can take, for deities can change Forms as mortals change their clothes or their equipment. Each form a deity can assume has its own set of advantages, disadvantages, and uses. Therefore, deities often change forms as suites their needs at the time. In addition to the forms common to exalted: Incorporeal, Mortal, and True, deities can also assume or create special forms called Avatars and Aspects.

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Ghost Knight by Ryan Sumo (w/ image manipulation by dave2008)

INCORPOREAL FORM
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A deities’ natural form is pure quintessence and is typically referred to as its Incorporeal Form. A deities’ Incorporeal Form is extremely resilient and has many uses for a god; however, it is also limited in its ability to affect the material reality.

INCORPOREAL FORM TRAITS
Deities in their natural, Incorporeal Forms, have the following traits and abilities:

Appearance. The Incorporeal Form can take on any appearance a deity wishes, but it is always translucent and obviously insubstantial. The deity may appear as a ghostly version of its True Form, or as another creature, or even an abstract symbol or amorphous glow or shadow. Additionally, a deity can change the presentation of its Incorporeal Form as an action, bonus action, or reaction.

Physical Abilities. While in Incorporeal Form a deity does not have a physical body. It has no mass and cannot generally interact with the physical world. It is also limited to only taking one action and one bonus action on its turn (its exalted action trait still applies), and It cannot typically use reactions.

However, this detachment from reality affords the Incorporeal Form some advantages: It is immune to any type of damage except attacks that directly affect its quintessence. It cannot be harmed by any physical, elemental, and magical attacks of any kind.

Quintessence and Magic Abilities. While in Incorporeal Form a deity cannot cast spells or use magic. Additionally, unless it is in its Dominion, it can only use its quintessence to use its Aura or to Dreamwalk. Therefore, it cannot use any of its innate, elective, or signature powers.

Movement. While in Incorporeal Form an exalted can move through objects, creatures, and any sort of physical, elemental, or magical barrier. It is completely intangible. It is only susceptible to effects that directly target quintessence.

Furthermore, this insubstantiality allows an exalted to travel at incredible speeds. It can use a bonus action to travel at are normal rate equal to its speed multiplied by twice its exalted rank. Or, if it is unconcerned with observing the areas it is traveling through, an exalted can use an action to travel at a speed equal to its aura’s range multiplied by its exalted rank.

Additionally, a deity can use its planar travel innate power, except the plane it is traveling to must be metaphysically adjacent to the plane it is traveling from.

Senses and Communication. While in Incorporeal Form a deity cannot communicate audibly, it can only communicate telepathically with is divine communication innate power. Similarly, despite not having a physical body in its incorporeal form, a deity has full access to its divine and remote sensing innate powers as well. Additionally, while in its incorporeal form a deity can use a unique type of communication by entering a mortal's dreams. This is called Dreamwalking.

DREAMWALKING
While in Incorporeal Form a god can freely enter the dreams of any and all mortals sleeping within the range of its aura or remote sensing innate power, as long as the target of the deities dreamwalking has the ability to dream, an intelligence above 1, and is not a construct or undead. This ability does not require an action or any effort from the god, but the god is only a casual observer of the mortal’s dreams, not an active participant.

A god can attempt to become an active participant and even control a mortal’s dream. A willing recipient, such as devote follower of a deity, generally offers no resistance and all the god needs to do is spend a bonus action to take initial control of the mortal’s dreams. However, to control the dreams on an unwilling recipient, a god must succeed on a Will check against the sleeping creature’s Charisma score.

On a success the god can control the dreams of its targets. It can have all targets appear in the same dream or separate dreams. On a failure, the creature has repelled the god’s advances and is immune from further attempts to control its dreams for 6 hours, minus 1 hour per exalted rank of the god. Additionally, when it wakes, it is aware that some outside force or entity tried to take control of its dreams,

Dreamwalking’s primary use is to communicate with a god’s followers. To let them know its wishes and desires. To provide divine inspiration or admonish blasphemous actions. Additionally, a deity can use dreamwalking to apply the effects of its Aura. These effects last for 1d6 hours after the mortal has awoken.

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Dream Harvester by soyjorgesilva

MORTAL FORM
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The Mortal Form sits in between a god’s Incorporeal Form and True Form in its ability to interact with the physical realm. It can interact with reality in ways that an Incorporeal Form cannot, but it does not possess the full range of abilities available to a True Form.

When a god assumes a Mortal Form, its Incorporeal Form is sequestered elsewhere in a True Form or its reliquary. The God simply maintains the faint link that allows it to use the Mortal Form. This link cannot be blocked or impeded by any know material, energy, magic or method.

Mortal Forms are useful to Gods because they are relatively easy to create, or possess, and they mask the god’s quintessence and its divine aura, allowing a god a degree of freedom from observation it does not have in other Forms.

MORTAL FORM TRAITS
When deities assume a Mortal Form, they have the following traits and abilities:

Appearance. A deity in a Mortal Form appears to be a mortal creature of the type its Form is based on. There is no physical or metaphysical indication that the deity is anything other than a normal mortal creature. Its identity cannot be discerned by any physical traits or mortal divination magic.

Physical Abilities. Deities in a Mortal Form have the physical attributes of a creature of the type the have assumed. They can take the same actions and have the same Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, and Charisma of the creature’s type, but they do retain their normal Intelligence and Wisdom. However, the Mortal Form does not gain any benefit from a god’s exalted rank, it is essential an un-ranked mortal creature in this form. In fact, a mortal form has the same needs for food, drink, and sleep of normal creature of the type assumed. The one difference is a Mortal Form does not age as long as it is possessed by an exalted.

Quintessence and Magic Abilities. When a god is in Mortal Form it has all of the magical abilities and options available to a mortal creature of the type it has assumed. However, it has no ability to use quintessence, nor does it radiate any type of quintessence or aura. This lack of ability to use quintessence has the benefit of allowing the god to be truly disguised as a mortal, even to other deities and exalted.

Movement. A deity in Mortal Form has the same movement options and speed as mortal creature of the type it has assumed.

Senses and Communication. In general, a deity in a Mortal Form only has the senses and modes of communication native the creature type is has assumed. However, it remains telepathically linked to all other Forms it has active, refer to Avatars and Aspects for rules on using multiple Forms. It is therefor possible for a god to use a Mortal Form as a focus for its Remote Sensing ability.

TYPES OF MORTAL FORMS
When a God assumes a Mortal Form, it has several options with regard to how and what Mortal Form to take. The most common types of Mortal Forms are: Original Form, Burrowed Form, or Crafted Form.

Original Form. A deitie’s Original Form is the mortal body (if it had one) it occupied prior to becoming a deity. When a mortal ascends to become a deity, its original body is stored in a preserving stasis in a demiplane created during apotheosis. All gods have this demiplane, referred to as their divine reliquary, and it is intrinsically tied to the deities Incorporeal and True Forms. When a deity assumes its Original Form, it simply retrieves the mortal body from the reliquary as described in Changing Forms.

When a god assumes its Original Form, it has all the physical statistics (accept mental stats), attributes, and abilities it had immediately before it ascended. However, a god my choose to present itself as any age it desires when it assumes its Original Form.

Borrowed Form. A deity can also choose occupy a mortal body that is currently unoccupied, a dead body, or attempt to possess a construct or living creature. In any case, this type of Mortal Form is usually referred to as a Borrowed Form.

To occupy a dead body, uncontrolled construct, or a willingly offered living mortal body, the god simply assumes the Form as described in Changing Forms. However, the act of occupying an unwilling body is more difficult and is typically called possession.

To possess an unwilling construct or living mortal, a god can spend TQ equal to the target’s CR, or level, multiplied by 5 and then possess the mortal body as indicated in Changing Forms. Optionally, a deity may attempt to posses a mortal body without spending TQ. If the deity chooses this option the mortal may attempt a Wisdom or Charisma saving throw (whichever is higher), against the god’s Will. On a failure the target is possessed by the God. However, the target may attempt additional saving throws once every 24 hours. If the saving throw is successful, or the effect ends for it, the target is immune from being possessed by that God for 6 hours minus 1 hour per exalted rank of the god.

When a god possess a mortal body, the original soul is still contained within the body, but is completely sequestered. If the mortal regains control of its body, it will have no knowledge of any events during the time it was possessed. Additionally, if the mortal body is slain while possessed by a god, the mortal’s soul departs as it would normally upon its death.

Crafted Form. If a suitable body is not available, or if it simply wishes to, a deity can craft a Mortal Form from quintessence. To create a Mortal Form, a deity simply chooses the type of creature they want to create and spends TQ equal to the creatures CR multiplied by 10, up to a maximum of 300 TQ (CR 30). A Mortal Form created in this manner has all the physical characteristics of the copied creature, but it is just a shell and does not contain any will or life of its own.

Crafted Forms are generally created with Temporary Quintessence and they cannot be dismissed by lower or intermediate order magic. However, they are susceptible to upper order magic and the standard rules for gods using dispel magic, anti-magic, and similar exalted rank magic and spells.

TRUE FORM
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Because Incorporeal Forms are limited in their ability to affect reality and Mortal Forms are fragile, gods typical create and inhabit a special durable body called its True Form. When aa god assumes its True Form, it combines its Incorporeal Form with a physical body specifically constructed to accept a deity’s power. This combination of the Immoral spirit and physical body allows a god to use all aspects of its godly might.

Since its True Form is a god’s most powerful Form, it usually assumes this Form when interacting with other gods or exalted. This form may take almost any shape, but regardless of appearance it will always radiates some amount of the god’s power. Therefore, a god in True Form cannot disguise itself as anything but a god to the keen senses of other gods or most exalted.

TRUE FORM TRAITS
When a god assumes its True Form, it has the following traits and abilities:

Appearance. Like a Mortal Form, a god’s True Form can take the shape and appearance of any mortal creature. Additionally, a God can craft a completely unique shape as its True Form. Refer to Step-by-Step gods for the limitations, or lack thereof, in the appearance of your character’s True Form.

A god’s True Form is inhabited by its Incorporeal Form and therefore radiates the god’s majesty throughout its being and beyond. This is typically signified by the god’s divine aura, but even when its aura is hidden, the True Form is unmistakably sublime and not of the mortal realm. A god in its True Form with its aura hidden will be perceived on a DC 15 perception check. On a successful check, the viewer will be aware that a god in its True Form Is not a mere mortal, but something much greater.

Physical Abilities. A god’s True Form may appear similar to a Mortal Form, but it is capable of much more than any mortal or Mortal Form. True Forms are constructed of incredibly durable materials and every fiber and component is imbued and reinforced with the deity’s quintessence. While occupying its True Form a god has access to it full range of ability scores, talents, and salient abilities. The only limits to a god’s True Form are those that result from being in any physical form, which can often be overcome with exalted magic or quintessence, and that despite their sturdy nature, a True Form can in fact be damaged or destroyed.

A True Form does not need to eat, drink, sleep, or breath, and it will not normally decay or decompose. A True Form is immutable and exceptionally resistant to damage, mortal magics, and even attacks from exalted of a lesser rank. Most of these advantages are describe by its Exalted Traits; however, True Forms have an additional attribute: hardness. True Forms have a damage threshold. If any damage fails to meet or exceed the damage threshold, the exalted takes no damage and loses no hit points. This damage threshold is called its Hardness and is minimally equal to 5 multiplied by the entities ER.

Quintessence and Magic Abilities. When a god is in its True Form it has access to its full might. In this Form, and only this Form, it can use all of its quintessential and magical abilities, including its exalted magic, Authority, Influence, and divine powers.

Movement. A god in its True Form has the movement options and speed of the body it has created in addition to its innate limited teleport power. Additionally, a True Form’s base speed and movement types can be augmented as described in the Divine Powers and Exalted Ability Scores articles.

Senses and Communication. A god in is True Form has full access to its divine and remote sensing and communication innate powers and can use any form of communication it desires.

MAKING AND MODIFYING A TRUE FORM
When an exalted ascends it gains a True Form as part of its apotheosis. Additionally, deities can continually modify and upgrade their True Form. At first level and each subsequent level or rank you not only gain HD, AC, Hardness, Ability Score Increase (ASI), and powers; you also gain Authority that can be used to further augment your character’s True Form. Refer to the Divine Advancement Table for the benefits gained for each exalted rank and divine level. Once the you gain or select an additional ability or trait, it becomes a permanent modification to your character’s True Form. A deity must be in its Dominion and take an extended rest when it modifies its True Form.

If for some reason you want to make a completely new True Form for your character, follow the same basic process as creating your original True Form as described in Step-by-Step Gods. In addition, your character must be in its Dominion to create a new True Form and it must spend 200 PQ in the process of creating the new Form. Once these criteria are met, your character can then transfer all of its quintessence from its original True Form into the new True Form. This process takes 1 month per exalted rank. During this process you may also change your character’s powers and traits, selecting new ones, or even possibly selecting a new Authority. However, for each change you make to a power, ability, or trait, it requires an additional week of extended rest per modified feature. Additionally, if you do decide to change your Authority, it requires and additional expenditure of 200 QP and one month of time per exalted rank.

RUIN
When a God’s True Form reaches 0 hit points and it can't or use its Exalted Recover, the body is functionally destroyed and it is considered Ruined. When this happens, a deity is forced to discorporate, immediately assuming its Incorporeal Form. Because a True Form is intrinsically reinforced with the God’s quintessence, the Ruin of a True Room results in an immediate loss of 10% of a deity’s PQ total. This quintessence is excised and lost to the cosmos or consumed by those in the vicinity who can collect it.

If this loss of quintessence from being Ruined only results in a loss of PQ and some divine levels, the damage is relatively minimal. When the deity can assume its True Form again, it retains any traits and powers gained from those levels, as if it had not lost them. However, the deity cannot gain any new benefits until it has acquired enough PQ to exceed the level it was at when it was Ruined.

However, if the loss of PQ results in a deity’s PQ total being lower than the required minimum of its current exalted rank, the deity is immediately reduced to the lower rank and losses all the benefits (traits, levels, powers, ability scores, etc.) it gained in its previous rank and divine levels. To regain the lost rank, level, and powers, the deity must acquire the quintessence needed to qualify for them has if it had never had them.

When a True Form is Ruined a god must return to its Dominion to resurrect it. This process cost the god 100 PQ and 1 day per exalted rank of the god. If the deity cannot spend the 100 PQ without lowering its exalted rank or it doesn’t wish to immediately spend the PQ for whatever reason, the god has few options:

  • It can assume a Mortal Form or stay in Incorporeal Form until it gains enough permanent quintessence so that it can resurrect its True Form, or…
  • Spend the PQ and resurrect its True Form at a lower exalted rank. Losing all benefits of its previous Rank and levels in the process, or…
  • Extract the quintessence from your Dominion, inflicting one level of Wreckage on your Dominion in the process. This option adds one day per exalted rank to the resurrection process.

CHANGING FORMS
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A deity can change its Form whenever it wishes, simply stowing and retrieving the necessary Form from its reliquary. This process takes an entire turn to complete. While transforming in this manner, the God has the stats and abilities of the starting From and can take any action or use any abilities of that form throughout the transformation. When the process is complete the deity assumes the new Form and has the actions, traits, and abilities of the new Form.

Changing forms is a natural ability for a deity and it does not require magic or spending quintessence to perform the transformation. The only cost is the time required to perform the transformation. The only exception is if a deity attempts to occupy a construct or an unwilling living mortal as described in Borrowed Forms.

The only other restriction to changing a Form is that the Form the deity wishes to assume must be within the range of its Aura. True and Incorporeal Forms are stored in the gods reliquary and are therefore always within range, but that is not necessarily the case for Mortal Forms.


AVATARS AND ASPECTS
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Deities are able to create proxies of themselves to help spread their influence more directly and enable them to work on multiple projects simultaneously. These divine alter egos allow a deity to effectively by in more than one place at a time. Deities have two options when creating these divine proxies: the can create mortal Avatars with a hint of their divine spark and will, or they can truly split their True From and consciousness into exalted Aspects.

AVATARS
An avatar is a special type of Created Form (see Mortal Forms) that contains an independent conscious provided by the exalted that created imbuing the Created From with additional quintessence. This quintessence provides the Avatar with some of its creators traits, abilities, and personality. Additionally, the Avatar is bonded to its creator and the creator and generally shares the personality and traits of its creator. However, an avatar is a semi-independent mortal entity that can think and act of its own free will.

Nonetheless, the telepathically bond between a creator and its avatar allows the creator to, as a bonus action to focus on a particular avatar and experience its senses and reads it thoughts. The avatar’s creator can see, hear, feel, smell, taste, touch, and understand the Avatar’s thoughts and senses. Once the link is focused in this way, the deity can maintain this type of observation by expending a use of concentration, but requiring no action on its part. Additionally, as long as a deity maintains concentration with one of its Avatars, it
can then use a bonus action to take complete control of that avatar’s actions. Finally, since it is a Crafted From, an Avatar can become a vessel of its creator's essence, just like any Mortal Form. However, only the creating deity can take possession of its Avatar, and if it chooses to do so it automatically succeeds.

To create an Avatar, a deity simply creates a Crafted Form, as noted in Mortal Forms, and spends additional TQ to give it consciousness, impart some of its divine will, and establish the telepathic bond. The amount of additional TQ required to make a Crafted Form into an Avatar is equal the Crafted Form's CR multiplied by 5. A deity can create a maximum of two Avatars for each exalted rank of the deity.

DIVINE ASPECTS
Once a deity reaches the lesser god rank it can create another type of From called on Aspect. Aspects are less powerful duplicates of the deities True Form. Aspects share the same divine quintessence and consciousness across multiple bodies and by using Aspects a deity can literally be in two or more places at once. Aspects are telepathically linked and are constantly and fully aware of each other. They are essentially sharing the same thoughts, senses, and experiences simultaneously. The memories and thoughts of one Aspect are the memories and thoughts of all Aspects. This link transcends planar and dimensional boundaries and there is no known method to block or sever this link. Aspects are essentially one mind with many bodies at the same time.

To create an Aspect a deity simply spends 1 minute per Aspect it wishes to create to divide its True Form into two or more parts. A deity must maintain concentration during this process and the attempt fails if the deity's concentration is broken during this time. Once created, each aspect act likes the deity's True Form, but at a lesser rank. Each time a deity splits its True Form into Aspects the number of Aspects doubles and their exalted rank is reduced by one. So a Lesser god (ER 2) can split itself into two ER 1 ranked Aspects. Similarly, a greater god (ER 4) could split into two ER3 ranked Aspects. However, a deity can divide its Aspects more than once. So, a greater god could split in to 1 ER 3 ranked Aspects and two ER 2 ranked Aspects.


An Aspect has the same powers and abilities as is original True Form; however, all of its effects and abilities are reduced to is new lower exalted rank. So each Aspect suffers a reduction in uses of Epic Recovery, Damage, Exalted Might, and any other attribute, feature, or effect that scales with exalted rank. Additionally, the Aspects all share the same pool of permanent and temporary quintessence and concentration slots. However, because they share the same quintessence and consciousness, a deity does not need to concentrate to maintain its Aspects.
 
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dave2008

Legend
CHAPTER 3: DIVINE AUTHORITY
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MATTER
This Authority embodies the concepts sturdiness and stability. Rich in variety, Matter is the building block of all things and is easily mutable to any form. It opposes Time’s attempts to change, resists the attacks of Energy, and provides Thought with order.

FEATURES OF MATTER
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table

ENERGY
This Authority embodies the concepts activity, dynamism, and temperamentality. Energy is creative and expressive, resisting attempts at control and confinement. Energy seeks to alter and transform, consuming Matter, speeding up Time and exciting Thought.

FEATURES OF ENERGY
???
table

THOUGHT
This Authority embodies the understanding of the relationship of all things: matter, energy, and thought, to each other and how that changes. Time is everywhere, flowing ever forward, recycling the lessons of the past to remind the present. Time is opposed to Matter’s stability, relentlessly consumes Energy, and teaches Thought the lessons of history.

FEATURES OF THOUGHT
???
table

TIME
This Authority embodies the pursuit to comprehend all of existence. Thought is realization, philosophy, understanding, and the very principle of consciousness. Thought opposes the excess of Energy, attempts to control Time, and to create form and order in Matter.

FEATURES OF TIME
???
table

ENTROPY
This Authority embodies the concept of rot, decay, destruction, and the weakening of the fabric of the universe. Its purpose is the ultimate destruction of the multiverse. All the other Authorities oppose it. Entropy seeks to destroy Matter, dissipate Energy, stagnate Time, and stifle Thought.

FEATURES OF ENTROPY
???
table

DIVINE INFLUENCE
Mortals have little to no connection to the essential Quintessence of reality and therefore cannot fully grasp the fundamental nature of a deity's Authority. Instead, mortals interpret a deity's Authority in relation to how it impacts their lives. This dissonance in understanding is referred to as a deity's Divine Influence.

AUTHORITIES AND DOMAINS
AuthorityDomains
MatterDeath, Forge, Grave, Protection (UA), War
EnergyAmbition, Life, Light, Nature, Tempest, Trickery, War
ThoughtArcana, Knowledge, Order, Peace, Trickery
TimeDeath, Grave, Order, Peace, Twilight
EntropyDeath, Destruction, War

NEW DOMAINS
Beauty (UA), Protection (UA), Unit (UA), City (UA), Mind (EE), Blood (TDCG), Zeal (Amon), Ambition (Amon), Strength (Amon), Solidarity (Amon), Darkness, Love, Chaos, Fire, Water, Air, Earth, Luck, Harvest, Hunt, Moon, Sun, Stars, Strife, Pain, Vengeance, Virtue, Plagues, Beasts, Travel, Exploration

USING AUTHORITY


A
LTERING REALITY


INFLUENCING REALITY
Mortals have little to no understanding of quintessence and Authority. Therefore, when they try to understand a deity’s actions they do so from a mortal frame of reference. Deities refer to this misunderstanding as their Divine Influence. Divine Influence is the mortal understanding of how a god exercises its Authority. This misunderstanding has given rise to the portfolio of Domains associated to a god by mortals. The relationship between Authority, Influence, gods, and mortals is further detail in the Divine Authority article.

Multiple Authorities
 
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dave2008

Legend
CHAPTER 4: EXALTED POWERS
Just wait - this isn't ready yet!

General Powers
Powers by Authority
Creating Powers
Exalted Spells
 
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dave2008

Legend
CHAPTER 5: EXALTED COMBAT
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base damage from table, multiplied by ER(?)
Reach
Range
Stances
Maneuvers
Aura
 
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dave2008

Legend
CHAPTER 6: EXALTED ADVENTURES
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Resting
Exalted Society
Exploring the Multiverse
Exalted Downtime

Acquiring Quintessence
If an exalted wants to increase its primary it must actively seek out and acquire it. Primary is not awarded for defeating enemies, solving puzzles, or negotiating deals. It must be found and taken. This process is called appropriation. To appropriate primary, an exalted must be within range, 120 feet per rank of the source, and succeed on a Greater Talent check. The DC for the check is 15 plus 5 for each exalted rank of the source of the primary. On a successful check, the exalted immediately increases its quintessence maximum and current total by the amount determined.

Whenever multiple exalted have succeeded on their appropriation check for the same source of primary, the amount gained by each exalted is divided amongst them based on their exalted rank. Simply add up the exalted rank of all who succeed on their check and divide the available primary by the total. An exalted gets the resulting amount of primary for each rank it has.

Sources or primary are rare or difficult to obtain or both. The three most common methods for gaining primary quintessence are through artifacts, founts, and ruin.

Artifacts. When an exalted makes an artifact, it imbues the creation with some of its essence. The quintessence remains in the artifact and is the source of the item’s wonderous traits. It is also a source of primary that can be extracted by those who know who to do it. The most straight forward method to extract the primary is to destroy artifact (not an easy task), releasing its power in a flood of primary.

Founts. Geysers of primary quintessence, founts gave birth to the original exalted and the nascent planes of existence. Over time, as the multiverse coalesced into its current state most, if not all, of the founts have dried up and gone out. Exalted continue to search the multiverse for new founts as the few known active founts are highly coveted resources and can be the foundation of Pantheonic wars that devastate cosmos.

Ruin. When an exalted’s True Form is destroyed it is said to be Ruined. A ruined exalted is forced to discorporate, and in doing so a portion of its primary quintessence is lost. The range and distribution of the primary that can be appropriated is the same as for a destroyed artifact.

What is a god?
Deities are mystical beings of great power. Some are forces of good and patrons to heroes; others are the source of evil and sponsors of sinister plots; and still others are silent watchers content to be left to their own devices.

Gods do not die of old age, mortal diseases, or even damage to their physical form; though it is possible for deities to die under special circumstances. They do not need to eat or drink, though they often enjoy these activities, or even to breathe. They possess abilities which mortals can only dream of and they live in fantastic domains mutable to their will and power.

Gods can alter reality and …influence the fates of nations and manipulate mortals in their obscure games to achieve their enigmatic goals.

Divine Goals

Gods are the prime motivators of the course and direction of the multiverse. Their actions may seem inscrutable to mortals, but their goals generally fall into one of the following categories:


  • Authority. Deities seek to advance the influence of their Authority (more on that later) in the cosmos.
  • Pantheon. Deities seek to advance the influence of their pantheon (if they have one).
  • Personal. A deity seeks to gain personal power, status, or achieve personal agendas.
Gods advance the influence of their Authority by countering the activities of the gods and exalted of differing Authorities; by infusing projects with their Authority; by cultivating worshipers which follow the tenets of their Authority, and by learning more of the secrets of the multiverse than the exalted of other Authorities.

They can advance the goals of their pantheon in several arenas: recruit new divine members; spread the worship of the pantheon’s members; participate in pantheon wide projects; overcome competing pantheons though cultural expansion, converting worshipers, or even possibly war.

Deities can gain personal power, quintessence, in several ways: by serving a greater deity or their pantheon, which may result in rewards of additional quintessence; by exploring and discovering hidden wells or artifacts that can grant quintessence; by directly overcoming other exalted and taking some of their quintessence; or by cultivating their relationship with mortal followers and worshipers, thereby receiving gifts of quintessence from them.

Gods also have personal goals. These may be lingering interest from a past mortal life, or new desires fostered by the vastness of immortality. Deities have a vast array of options to achieve their goals: through careful influence of followers to direct them to achieve their divine desires, research into the fabric of the multiverse, direct intervention, or any number of other methods that a being with nearly limitless time, resources, and power has.



What Gods Aren’t

One important thing to keep in mind when playing an exalted campaign is: gods are not monsters. This may seem obvious as players; however, divine adventures often require interaction with other gods or exalted. If your approach is to simply kick down the door, take the loot, cut down the exalted bad guy and move onto the next one; then you have missed the point of an exalted campaign. Gods are different than mortals and not just in their individual power. They are connected to each other and the multiverse in ways that mortals cannot comprehend and there are ramifications for running rough-shod through divine Pantheons. There are better ways to play a god and the hope is that Ascension will help you do that.
 
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dave2008

Legend
CHAPTER 7: EXALTED DOMINIONS
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What is a Dominion
Creating a Dominion
Altering a Dominion
Capturing a Dominion
 
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dave2008

Legend
CHAPTER 8: EXALTED EQUIPMENT
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Mundane & Magical Items
Exalted Items
Artifacts
Regalia
 
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dave2008

Legend
EXALTED TRAITS
Exalted Actions. Exalted have a different set of actions than standard Monsters and player characters. Each turn an Exalted can take two basic actions and move up to its speed. It also gets one reaction for each of its turns. Additionally, an exalted gets one turn, plus one additional turn for each exalted rank, per round. For example, a greater god (ER 4) can take 5 turns in one round. The deity can move its speed five times, take 10 basic actions, and has 5 reactions in one round.

To determine the initiative order of additional turn(s), simply subtract 5, cumulatively, from an Exalted’s initiative score for each additional turn. Therefore, if an Exalted’s initiative score is 30, its second turn is at 25, and its third turn would be at 20.
Exalted Advantage. For each rank an exalted has it gains one additional d20 to use whenever it makes a check, saving throw, or attack roll, selecting the best roll from the pool of dice. Therefore a greater god (ER 4) would roll 5d20 whenever it makes a d20 roll that is not a damage roll. Exalted advantage stacks with standard advantage/ disadvantage, but otherwise does not change the rules for applying advantage/ disadvantage.
Exalted Might. An Exalted’s attacks are always considered magical and they are Empowered when targeting anything of a lower rank. Exalted have Resistance to all damage from an attack of a lower rank and when an Exalted's attacks a lower ranked target, it ignores any resistances and the target's immunities are treated as if they are resistances instead. Similarly, a lower ranked target must make a saving throw for a condition or effect imposed by a higher ranked attack or effect, even if the target is immune to the condition or effect. If there is only one rank difference, the target has advantage to save against a condition they are immune too.
Exalted Proficiency. An Exalted has expertise in all skills, saving throws, checks, and attacks. However, they have no proficiency bonus. Instead this proficiency is calculated as part of their Talents (see Chapter 1 - Apotheosis). Therefore, an Exalted uses its entire Talent score when making attacks, checks, or saving throws. They do not use ability modifiers.
Exalted Recovery. When an Exalted's true form is reduced to 0 hit points, and it has uses of this trait remaining, it doesn't die, fall unconscious, or discorporate (unless it wishes too). Instead, all conditions and effects it is suffering end for it, all of its abilities recharge, and it regains all of its hit points. An exalted can use this trait a number of times equal to its ER - 1, before it needs to complete a Minor Rest. Therefore a greater god (ER 4), can recover 3 times before it must discorporate or be ruined when it reaches 0 hit points. Conversely, a demigod cannot use this trait at all.
 
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dave2008

Legend
APPENDIX A: New Conditions

In addition to the conditions provided in the 5th edition Player's Handbook, ASCENSION uses the additional conditions described below.

Dazed
  • Attack rolls against the creature have advantage.
  • The creature can take either one action or move up to half its speed on its turn.
  • The creature can’t take reactions.
  • The creature cannot concentrate.
Dominated
  • The creature can't take actions. Instead, on the creature's turn the dominator chooses the actions it can take and where it moves (up to its speed). The dominator can also force the creature to take a Reaction, but this requires the dominator to use a Reaction as well. The dominator can only force the creature to take actions it knows the creature can take or that it can reasonably assume the creature could take.
  • Attack rolls against the creature have advantage.
  • If the dominator damages the creature or tries to force it into a clearly harmful situation, the creature can immediately make saving throw. If the saving throw succeeds, the condition ends for the creature.
Empowered
  • The creature's attacks and effects deal maximum damage on a hit or failed saving throw.
Fragile
  • The creature is vulnerable to all damage except psychic damage.
  • The creature takes maximum damage on a critical hit.
Slowed
  • The creature's speed is reduced in half.
Weakened
  • The creature is Slowed
  • The creature's attacks and effects deal half damage on a hit or failed saving throw.
  • The creature has disadvantage on Fortitude (Strength) saving throws and checks.

Why more conditions?
The general premise of 5e is simplicity and natural language. So why did we included more jargon in the guise of conditions? Simplicity. We believe that the added complexity of abilities, character sheets, and monster stat blocks that typify divine characters and Exalted monsters warrant the additional jargon. It may take some time add these new conditions to your repertoire, but we feel the inclusion of these additional conditions simplifies power descriptions, character sheets, and monster / npc stat blocks.
 
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dave2008

Legend
Hello my Exalted friends! I am back to working on ASCENSION and plan for it to be the major focus of my D&D energies for the rest of this year. Though I haven't posted much in several months, I have been working behind the scenes and I think I have most of the issues ironed out.

Anyway, I have added Chapter 1 - Apotheosis and updated the Introduction and Chapter 2 (with more updates to come). I hope to get through Chapters 3-5 and maybe Chapters 8 & 9, along with some Friends and Foes by the end of the year. The plan is to have a rough draft of the game pretty much good to go by the beginning do 2022. Then I want to use 2022 to add some more rules, update the rules, and fill out my updated Epic Bestiary with deities and other Exalted.

Finally, as always, I would love any feedback you want to provide. Thank you!
 
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