Exalted – Storming the Gates of Yu-Shan


No you can’t come in!

The first, and most generally accepted, way to get to Yu-Shan is to take one of the usual gates. It is, after all, a pocket-dimension of its own, so a “gate” is pretty well guaranteed to come into it somewhere.

Sidereal teams are issued minor artifacts – Guarded Doorway Openers (GDO’s) which are equipped with Inter-Dimensional Codes (IDC’s) with which to signal the Celestial Lions to open the gates of Yu-Shan – thus preventing enemies such as the Deathlords, Raksha, or Yozis from launching direct assaults on Yu-Shan. The codes are regularly updated just in case a GDO should fall into enemy hands.

Even the use of GDO’s and other safety measures has occasionally proven insufficient.

  • When a Gate accidentally locked onto the Green Sun of Malfeas during Calibration, it proved necessary to apply a tremendous burst of essence to disrupt the link before its  power corrupted all of Yu-Shan.
  • The First and Forsaken Lion once deployed a Primordial energy weapon that caused the gate on the other side to gradually superheat, heading towards the point where even the magical materials it was composed of would fail, allowing him to enter Yu-Shan. Fortunately, an indirect assault on his position destroyed the weapon before the gate failed.
  • The Unshaped (possibly with the advice of the Ebon Dragon) once attempted to transfer motes into the gate itself, with the intent that the resulting overload would overload the constraints on it – allowing it to expand wildly, and so flooding Yu-Shan with the energies of the Wyld. Luckily, the attempt was detected in time for the excess energy to be drained away, thus preventing what might have been the greatest disaster in Yu-Shan’s history since the Primordial War.

Well, OK. More seriously…

  • Twelve of those sixty-one well known gates are scattered around the Blessed Isle in the classical setting, and around Earth in the modern one/ They open onto a plaza near the Jade Pleasure Dome, creating one of the best fast-transport hubs around, at least if you happen to be commuting between two of those gates.
  • The Calibration Gate opens on to that plaza as well, providing the potential for instant transport to or from any location in creation – and possibly to some spots outside it. Sadly, of course, it takes a GREAT deal of power to relocate the earthly end of the Calibration gate from the Yu-Shan side – enough so that it may not be practicable (or even possible in some games).
  • The other forty-eight are scattered around the perimeter of Yu-Shan, and – in the classic setting – open to locations all across creation, with a few evening into the wyld beyond. In the modern setting a number few of those gates open to earth, and most of the rest are long sealed. Some of those long-sealed gates doubtless open into the wyld. Others doubtless open into deep space, upon alien worlds – or into nothing at all, where the forces that reforged the world sufficed to damage or destroy their egress points.

To use one of these gates to enter Yu-Shan you need to be either brought in by a god, become immaterial, use some method of opening spirit doors, use a thaumaturgical ritual to open the gate (the most common method for mortals and god-blooded bringing in cargo), use a keying artifact, use some special power, or just wait for Calibration – when the outer gates will often let anyone pass.

Of course, then you have the secondary problem of getting past the Celestial Lions who guard the INNER gates – but being a resident of Yu-Shan, being on official celestial business, having diplomatic privileges, being accompanied by a celestial god, arriving for the Carnival of Meeting, or any of lots of other reasons suffice. They aren’t easily fooled though.

Leaving, of course, is generally quite easy.

In the Exalted: Modern setting apparently the old Lookshy Gate (probably number 17) is located in or near Atlanta on the earthly end. This may or may not be convenient for Charles – his Factory-Cathedral job (and presumably his Yu-Shan classes) are located over between the Salient of the Unconquered Sun and the Hall of Celestial Stability – more than two and a half thousand miles from the Yu-Shan side of the gate. Fortunately for Charles, he can always take the bus (below).

There are other gates of course.

  • Manses can be built to generate gates to Yu-Shan or to a wide variety of other places – and can be linked by gates. Given that, it’s quite possible that there are hearthstones – which are, after all, simply foci for the power of a manse – which can transport their bearers, or open gateways, to and from Yu-Shan. It’s likely that private gates are at least somewhat frowned upon, but the fact that they can be constructed unilaterally implies that it may be possible to move the unanchored side somehow.

Charles is somewhat concerned about this one. One of his old companions – now counted among the Cauldron-Born – had a Celestial Manse which generated a Hearthstone that could teleport a group to and from Yu-Shan – and it seems like a BAD IDEA to let the Cauldron-Born have direct and easy access to the place! On the other hand, the only way he knows of to stop it is to break the manse – and that’s very dangerous to everyone around the place until he finds a way to attune to it despite it’s current owners opposition. Besides, it could get him into trouble. Of course, the fact that the Hoenheim Manse contains his own private gate to Yu-Shan – even if he hasn’t been using it much (or perhaps at all) and isn’t even sure if the location of the Yu-Shan side can be adjusted – is yet another source of potential problems.

  • Gates to Yu-Shan (or to Malfeas, or the Underworld, or to other places) can pop up spontaneously in the Bordermarches (Wyld.19). This pretty strongly implies that they can be generated by anyone who can shape the reality of the Bordermarches with sufficient skill – presuming that the would-be shaper knows where he, she, or it is going. Thus a Solar with experience in Yu-Shan and Wyld Shaping Technique, or a powerful noble Raksha with similar knowledge, can open a gate to Yu-Shan (if necessary, by creating a manse with an otherworldly gate in it).

Of course, a Raksha fantasy-gate (at least the easiest kind) could be dispelled by any creation-born character with a point of will or (hopefully) warded out – but that does neatly explain why the Primordials hid Yu-Shan from the Raksha in the first place, and why Yu-Shan is so strong on keeping the Raksha out. Once a bunch of Raksha know how to get in, or perhaps go and develop some speciality charm for that purpose. they’ll never be able to get rid of them. There’s definitely room for some caution here.

  • Certain charms – such as the Mirror Shattering Method – will allow their users to travel between the dimensions. In that particular case the charm even allows the user to bring along a ship and crew. While it does take five days to travel between the worlds with that particular charm, and it does carry the “fate” keyword (implying the involvement of the Loom of Fate, which necessarily has extensive ties with creation), it might be possible to create alternative charms for the purpose – and it’s certainly possible to create artifacts embodying such effects even if no matching charm exists.
  • A few deities seem to come and go pretty much at will. Admittedly, those are mostly Incarna – but “travel” isn’t especially central to most of their natures. It seems likely that other gods of travel and similar concepts will be able to duplicate the trick – especially given that there are so many other ways to get in and out of Yu-Shan already.

This one has seen a good deal of use by Charles in the Exalted: Modern campaigns. Gorim Naku, God of Public Transportation, is one of Charles’s allies – and was his chief method of getting back and forth between Atlanta and Yu-Shan before he found out where there was a gate. He really must come up with some nice presents for Gorim Naku; he’s been giving Charles a lot of lifts.

  • Prayers – patterns of essence which carry information and which become quintessence and ambrosia – also freely bridge the gap between the worlds. There are likely to be some very good filters and barriers along that route, and it’s entirely possible that the bandwidth is too low to carry ENOUGH information to accomplish much, but it is still a theoretical method of entry – even if it is the Exalted equivalent of crawling in through the power conduits.
  • There are whatever secret ways in and out that the Primordials left – and there really are likely to be at least a few, even if some of them were unintentional flaws in the place. Perhaps those mysterious tunnels in basement really DO lead to the underworld or something. It’s quite likely that the reason why demons don’t routinely come to Yu-Shan is legal – a part of the surrender terms – rather than practical.

This simply calls for searching. Yu-Shan is, of course, bigger than North America – so there’s no telling what may still be hidden in it’s tunnels and warded places. Even on the (conspicuous) surface quite a few of the primordial palaces have yet to be penetrated.

  • Sorcery includes a number of spells that can call items or entities from Yu-Shan to Creation, and such things seem to return to Yu-Shan without having to search out gates. It also includes Summon the Celestial Portal (Celestial, summons the Calibration Gate) and Chariot of the Blazing Sun (Solar, which summons a chariot that is explicitly capable of reaching Yu-Shan). Thus a dedicated Solar Circle spell (and possibly a relevant Protocol) can probably open a quick-and-easy gate to Yu-Shan.

For that matter, Necromancy includes Black Faith – which can explicitly sent the user ANYWHERE, including Yu-Shan, regardless of any barriers or attempts to prevent it. Fortunately it’s not generally available and is exceptionally suicidal. 

For good or ill, the borders of Yu-Shan are anything BUT secure.

3 Responses

  1. […] Storming the Gates of Yu-Shan: Just how secure IS Yu-Shan anyway? […]

  2. […] Storming the Gates of Yu-Shan: Just how secure IS Yu-Shan anyway? […]

  3. […] Storming the Gates of Yu-Shan: Just how secure IS Yu-Shan anyway? […]

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