Beyond the borders of the world the limitless sea of chaos – the true wyld deeps – seethes and changes, it’s only fundamental law being that self-awareness may lay it’s will upon the tides of madness and shape it, at least until some greater surge rises from the chaos to wipe such awareness away. It’s infinite expanse endlessly throws up creatures and worlds, some truly newborn, some with “histories”, and some with qualities that no mind born of our particular bubble in the chaos can understand.
Most of them do not understand why or how, but the lesser creatures of the “wyld” – the fey, and even the Unshaped which rage upon the edges of this particular bubble of orderly space and time – are just as dependent on the massed will and shaping power of the beings of the bubble as those deep within the bubble who believe that their “universe” is all that is.
Within the debris at the borders of a bubble – the relics of the last great wave of chaos which had threatened to overwhelm it – lay a piece of geomantic magic, a Hearthstone who’s power lay in transporting things back to the manse which generated it. Normally that would have meant little – but at the interface between the Wyld and the World, nothing can be counted upon to remain “normal” forever. A group of Raksha discovered the Stone, and experimented with it, and eventually found a way to channel a stream of power from the Wyld through it into the very depths of creation. There, inside the hearthstones’s manse, it took the form of a bubbling spring of pure, liquid, power which flowed out into the world and was rapidly assimilated into it’s chaos-founded deep structure.
The Hearthstone grew in power, and began to resonate with the Raksha.
In the depths of the bubble lies safety. On it’s borders lies freedom… To have both the stability of creation and the freedom of the wyld, to change freely and reshape the world when you wish, and to remain stable otherwise, was a dream that began to seem attainable. As long as the “waters” of the cauldron flowed, a stable life within creation WITH the ability to reshape it (at least locally) when it’s delights grew dull seemed within reach.
Unfortunately, it proved impossible – by the very laws they wanted to exploit – to bind the graces of a Raksha to the soul of the creation-born; first the mortal spirit, and then the flesh, warped and changed until it could not endure.
So it stood for long centuries, until a group of young Dragon-Blooded, seeking power, stumbled into the manse – and found the spring. Unprepared, they fell to the blandishments and temptations of the Raksha soon enough.
They, too, were warped and changed, and were somewhat limited vessels – but the powers of the wyld could be bonded to the powers of their Exaltation – which was bonded to their mortal souls. That meant that the Raksha could, themselves, bind with Exalts – if those Exalts were strong enough.
The Raksha needed Exalts of greater power. Figures out of legend.
The Celestial Exalted.
A trap was laid. The glamours of the Raksha, supported by the ever-flowing energies of the Cauldron, wove a dozen baits… hints of ancient artifacts, of the rise of “deathlords”, of terrible powers, of enlightenment, of ancient beasts of terrible power, of gates to the underworld (or to other worlds entirely), of contained remnants of some terrible plague of legend, of stockpiles of magical materials, of archives of sorcery and magical secrets…
The Sidereals eventually took note – and dispatched a young Sidereal to gather some agents and see what was going on.
That Sidereal – Demion, the Amethyst Fury – was secretly a member of the Gold Faction, and took the chance to bring along a few of his friends. If even one-tenth of what his investigations implied was true, this little trek might lead to a cache from long ages past, and his friends could DEFINITELY use some of the things that might be found in such a cache…
And so, eventually, a group of the Celestial Exalted came. They forced the gate, entered the manse, fought it’s creatures, interacted – without suspecting it – with some of the beglamoured baits, and claimed a few trinkets. They reached the chamber of the Cauldron – where a few of the remaining Dragon-Blooded pawns awaited.
The deaths of those pawns released the wyld energies which had been bound up inside of them, and united with the energies of the Cauldron itself to fuel a mighty beglamourment… Five of the young Exalts – Demion, the Amethyst Fury (a Sidereal Assassin of the Gold Faction), Mace Arnheim, Stalking Death (a Jaguar-Favoring Lunar Exalted mercenary), Tierna the Phantom (a Raccoon-Favoring Lunar Exalted thief), Reku Valen (a gunslinging Dawn Caste Solar Exalted), and Windhiam (a shamanistic Twilight Caste technomancer) fell to that glamour, and accepted the power of the Cauldron into themselves.
And were transformed, as the Graces of the Raksha bonded with their Exaltations, birthing the Cauldron-Born – creatures with many of strengths of both the Raksha and the Exalted hosts – in a blaze of Essence.
Kiko (Ikcho Taquka, a punkish Night Caste Solar Exalted) and Charles Dexter Ward (apparently a god-blooded Thaumaturgist-Sorcerer and Artificer) resisted – and opted to escape; these new entities were unknown factors – but might well know too many of their secrets to confront and had apparently just gained a great deal of power.
The Sidereal Elders were not pleased with Charle’s proxy report – “How should I know? I just got taken along to evaluate artifacts and such, and I guess I got away because they weren’t interested in me.” – but, as yet, their resources are stretched too thin to even consider the possibility of another attempt (and the possible loss of another of their very limited number).
The Original Cauldron-Born:
Demion, the Amethyst Fury (Sidereal Assassin)
Demion was shuttled from foster home to foster home after his father disappeared and his mother overdosed on something and had a lot of bad experiences – to the point where, when the old man abruptly pulled him into an alleyway when he was sneaking back home after a night out, his first impulse was to pull a knife.
The fact that this more amused the old fellow than frightened him was a shock. Being taken away to Yu-Shan, and inducted into his “true heritage” was a marvelous fantasy. Demion readily turned his back on the world, and accepted it’s forgetfulness of him without a qualm.
Demion’s basic abilities were fairly straightforward; sneak around, appear and disappear, always go first with a massive flurry of attacks – which he occasionally somehow extended into cones of effect, although that effect seemed to cost him a lot of essence motes.
Mace Arnheim, Stalking Death (Jaguar-Favoring Lunar Exalted mercenary)
Mace wasn’t being paid NEARLY enough to die in some piddling little south american conflict – no matter if he was gravely wounded, out of grenades, out of ammo, almost out of dirty tricks (he’d never be quite out of THOSE until he was dead), gravely wounded, and down to the last of his three knives.
He took out the first two of the men that stood between him and escape with his knife, and broke the neck of the third with his bare hands – but the fourth shattered his knee with another slug and was moving in for the kill as Mace attempted to wrench a fragment of sharp steel from the earth to use as an improvised knife.
The fragment was too deeply embedded, and simply scored his palm – but the arm that came up to strike had sprouted claws and talons, while his wounds had suddenly become far less severe…
Mace was a hugely oversized human, liked really large weapons – giant mauls, rocket launchers, and machine guns – and pretty much specialized in tanking and regeneration. and absorbing vast amounts of fire.
Tierna Prasit, A.K.A “Hela the Phantom” (Raccoon-Favoring Lunar Exalted thief)
Tierna had grown up to a life filled with luxury, safe and guarded – and bored. She’d developed sneaking out to a fine art, and had learned to bypass security systems and waft past guards like a wisp of mist…
The progression to a dual identity – the well-connected child of wealth and influence on one side and expert cat-burglar on the other – seemed to flow naturally. Tierna never revealed when or how she Exalted, but it apparently had something to do with a nigh-impossible job…
Tierna had several spirit-allies, and seemed to have the ability to take spirit-forms and use at least some spirit-charms (although those may have been derived from stolen artifacts), as well as considerable array of dexterity-based charms and fair social skills.
Reku Valen (Dawn Caste Solar Exalted gunslinger)
Reku’s family followed the old ways. Most of the world did not care to recognize it, but there were spirits out there, both dark and light, and they had to be dealt with. She learned the martial arts from an early age.
The path of the gun was not really one of the classical choices, but it did supplement the classical martial arts quite effectively.
Reku exalted after she’d been beaten to the ground for the third time by a spirit-beast. When she got back up for the fourth time, the beast was impressed. Not many mortals had that kind of determination – or the toughness to manage it.
When she blew its body away with a fullisade of shots, and then bound it’s spirit to service, it was even more impressed. It hadn’t encountered anyone powerful enough to bind it in several centuries!
Reku was pretty straightforward: a defensive charm or two, a couple of martial arts charms, and a selection of firearms charms to go with a minor artifact-pistol. She did have some spirit allies however, and a modest arsenal of other weapons.
Windhiam (Twilight Caste Solar Exalted shaman).
Windhiam was a bit odd… He was a technomancer-shaman specializing in talking to the small gods of various machines, and thus awakening them to do things that machines had absolutely no right to be doing. If he ever confided how he’d exalted in anyone, it was probably in his car.
Windhiam had a selection of spirit, technology, and driving-related charms, but – once again – never revealed much about his actual abilities.
Creating a Cauldron-Born:
Add one dot to each attribute and to essence.
Add ten points worth of abilities.
Add eight raksha charms. As a rule, these will offer a second set of options, rather than trying to build on the character’s original focus.
Add eight bonus points worth of mutations. Most Cauldron-Born resemble beastmen, but a few are just weird.
All Cauldron-Born are more than a bit mad. Decide just how this particular character has gone over the edge.
- Exalted – the Hoenheim Manse from Emergence Campaign Weblog (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Exalted – New Merits from Emergence Campaign Weblog (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Exalted – Hearthstones II from Emergence Campaign Weblog (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Exalted – The Orrery of Istalian from Emergence Campaign Weblog (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Exalted Occultism – Solar Charms from Emergence Campaign Weblog (ruscumag.wordpress.com)