No mere mortal may stand against the Exalted.
Who wants to? There basically aren’t that many Exalts, and there never have been. Sure, a few may hit the upper levels of power and go round the twist in a big way – but it’s a tradeoff. Put up with the occasional fruitcake disaster – or put up with the occasional hurricane, volcano, mighty earthquake, tidal wave, unleashed demon, or what-have-you. Creation has no shortage of random disasters to inflict on unprotected humans, and even in those areas that Exalts are protecting lots of people will go their entire lives without ever having to deal with one.
Vicious animals and wyld beasties, stray hobgoblins, ghosts, hostile minor spirits, and other such menaces are all over the place though – and for every small child that some passing Exalt generously rescues (and gets hailed as a hero for) another is horribly slain by a malevolent Exalt – and fifty get eaten where no Exalt of either persuasion happens to be at the moment.
But some folk decide to be heroic WITHOUT having massive power and near-invulnerability handed to them on a silver platter first. They too can wrap a bit of the power of a heroic narrative around their souls.
Quixotic Knight Style:
Carapace Of Will Esoteric Training
Resurgent Spirit Heroic Exemplar Med.
The Chivalric Ideal
Heroic Tale Embodiment (Legendary)
Heroic Tempering: Cost: 4M; Mins: Martial Arts 2, Essence 1; Type: Simple, Keywords: None, Duration: One Scene, Prerequisite Charms: None. You may distribute (Martial Arts + Essence) points among the attributes of your unarmed attacks or of a thaumaturgically-prepared weapon. For the duration it is considered unbreakable. This will not work on artifact weapons. At Essence 3+ you may also spend points on thaumaturgic and talisman powers, at one point per level of the rite or talisman.
Carapace of Will: Cost: 3M; Mins: Martial Arts 2, Essence 2; Type: Simple, Keywords: None, Duration: One Scene, Prerequisite Charms: Heroic Tempering. You may add your Resistance to your armors Soak and distribute points equal to your Integrity amongst reducing it’s mobility and fatigue penalties. This will not work on artifact armor but if the armor is thaumaturgically prepared for this use it is considered indestructible for the duration. At Essence 3+ you may also spend points on thaumaturgic and talisman powers, at one point per level of the rite or talisman.
Resurgent Spirit: Cost: —; Mins: Martial Arts 3, Essence 2; Type: Permanent, Keywords: None, Duration: Permanent, Prerequisite Charms: Carapace of Will. You may spend a virtue channel to roll reduce damage by (Successes +1) as long as the cause is appropriate (Valor works in almost any fight, Compassion when you’re defending someone else, Conviction when you’re upholding a position or motivation, and Temperance when you’re trying to stop the fighting or fulfill a promise). If this reduces the damage of an attack to zero, any poisons, shaping, and other “bad touch” effects attached to it fail to work. You may spend a second virtue channel at the same time to further reduce damage at Essence 3+.
Esoteric Training: Cost: 3M; Mins: Martial Arts 2, Essence 2; Type: Simple, Keywords: None, Duration: One Scene, Prerequisite Charms: Heroic Tempering. You may select four points worth of mutations worth no more than two points each, and gain their benefits (but not their drawbacks) for a scene by activating this charm. Once selected these cannot be changed; they represent special martial training not actual physical changes. At Essence 3+ you may select an additional two points worth of mutations, although the two-point maximum remains in effect.
Heroic Exemplar Meditation: Cost: 3M; Mins: Martial Arts 2, Essence 2; Type: Simple, Keywords: None, Duration: One Scene, Prerequisite Charms: Esoteric Training. You may swap up to (Will) ability dots around for the duration of a scene. No ability may be raised or reduced by more than two, be reduced below zero, or be raised above seven. At Essence 3+ you gain an additional ability dot for the duration, although the limits remain the same.
Desperate Guard: Cost: 3M; Mins: Martial Arts 4, Essence 2; Type: Reflexive, Keywords: None, Duration: One Tick, Prerequisite Charms: Resurgent Spirit, Heroic Exemplar Meditation. You may strip all supernatural enhancements from an incoming attack or flurry. Attacks based on extra action charms automatically fail. At Essence 3+ this can be used against unexpected attacks if the user can make a D2 Awareness check.
The Chivalric Ideal: Cost: —; Mins: Martial Arts 4, Essence 3; Type: Permanent, Keywords: None, Duration: Permanent, Prerequisite Charms: Desperate Guard. You may reduce the costs of using this arts lesser charms by two motes and may reflexively activate up to three of them per turn without it counting as a charm activation.
According to legend, there is a Charm above this one – Heroic Tale Embodiment (Cost: —, Mins: Martial Arts 5, Essence 3, Type: Permanent, Keywords: None, Duration: Permanent, Prerequisite Charms: The Chivalric Ideal) – which allows a character who accomplishes some great quest to truly bind the tale to him or her -self and thus take on the powers and abilities of a Heroic Commoner Raksha, although he or she retains his or her soul (which now functions as a heart grace) and may exist and respire without difficulty in Creation. Whether or not such a charm actually exists is up to the game master.
No, this won’t really let a mortal stand up to an Exalt – but it will let them be a speedbump, or possibly even survive long enough to try to run away. Far more importantly, it gives them a reasonable chance to do something about a variety of lesser supernatural menaces.
- Exalted – Mortal Martial Arts (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Exalted – Body And Spirit Symphony Style (Terrestrial Martial Art) (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice XCVII – Button Mashing Not Allowed! (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice LXXXVII – The Azure Depths (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles Of Heavenly Artifice Session XCV – Flowing Waters (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- [Emergence Campaign] The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice LXXXIII — The Dark Tournament (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- 27 Of The Most Insane Martial Arts Battles Ever Filmed [Video] (io9.com)