Backgrounds

Backgrounds represent the allies and items you character has acquired over the course of an adventure. You are given Five Dots of Backgrounds at character creation, plus extra for your Origin. Backgrounds may also be acquired through play, but cannot be bought with XP.

When purchasing Backgrounds at Character Creation, consult your Storyteller before buying any Background with a Rating of 4-5, as Backgrounds of that rating tend to shape the course of a campaign in dramatic ways.

Allies (1, 3, 5):

Allies represent characters that will aid the character in their time of need—valuable, ST controlled assets. Although they can be of great assistance, they have their own lives and desires, and thus, may not always be available.

  • Ally 1 represents a character around the scale of a Heroic Mortal in terms of power.
  • Ally 3 represents a character around the scale of a Terrestrial Exalt, or Spirit in range of power.
  • Ally 5 represents a Celestial Exalt, or God.

Artifacts (1-5):

Artifacts are rare and unique wonders, the masterworks of legendary craftsmen. Dailkaives, Warstriders, chameleon-cloaks and gameboards that read the future, self-playing harps, and singing statues—all of them are Artifacts. Often, they require the use of Essence to even function, but some can work without a host.

  • Artifact 1: A minor wonder-A goblet that nullifies all but supernatural poisons within it, a torc that keeps the wearer fresh and clean, no matter what may befoul him.
  • Artifact 2: What many people think of when they hear of Artifacts-Jade, Orichalcum, or Moonsilver Weapons and Armor.
  • Artifact 3: Masterworks, anomalies, and often, a craftsman’s life’s work, an artifact 3 resembles an artifact one or two, but it likely has evocations—custom charms, available to those who unlock it’s secrets.
  • Artifact 4: Objects of story. If it’s a weapon, it’s the stuff of stories—it’s line of wielders known to scholars and children. Personal transport artifacts often fall into this category of artifact.
  • Artifact 5: The current apex of craft; magical warships and vessels, and siege weapons. Those who are fortunate to possess such a legendary treasure are extremely unlikely to escape common notice. Warstriders fall into this category.

Backing (1-4):

The character holds a position of power within an organization, and thus, can draw upon its resources when the situations requires. Of course, assistance is a two-way street. Usually, the character is also beholden to the organization in some fashion, and backing can be taken away when their superiors see fit. Each dot of this resource is equivalent to a like amount of followers, resources, or contacts—as the organization can provide, with the limitation that it must be used for organization-approved purposes.

  • Backing 1 represents a low-level position of power-a local captain of the guard, a minor government official, a sergeant of a fang.
  • Backing 2 represents either a low-level position within an organization of significant
    power (such as a dues-paying Guildsman of no particular standing), or a solid post in a less powerful organization, with most disagreeable duties pawned off on subordinates (an officer within the Market Guard of Gem).
  • Backing 3 represents middling rank in a powerful organization (a merchant prince of the Guild), or standing as one of the elite in a smaller organization (a captain of the Market Guard).
  • Backing 4 represents elite rank in a mighty organization (a Guild factor) with significant support.

Followers (1-5):

Followers represents minor NPCs, usually extras, that are personally loyal to the character. Often, they are military trained, but sometimes they represent servants, priests, or functionaries. Each dot of followers represents a magnitude of characters bound to the Exalt.

Familiar (1-3):

A familiar is essentially an exotic pet, though a particularly useful one. The owner has a supernatural bond to the familiar, and is able to roughly understand it’s chirps, barks, or growls. A familiar is also more intelligent than a common example of it’s species, though not at human level.

  • Familiar 1 provides a small and relatively weak animal, such as a cat, hawk, or dog.
  • Familiars 2 are either dangerous, or rideable (Or both). A horse, a tiger, or a lion are example.
  • Familiars 3 is either incredibly impressive, or magical, or both. A Tyrant Lizard, one of the children of a Horse-God, a Wyld-Mutated Ox that breathes fire.

Contacts (1, 3, 5):

Contacts represents a character’s information network. It can be as formal as a spy network, or as loose-knit as a large collection of merchant friends. When purchasing this Background, the character must specify the nature of his contacts.

  • Contacts 1 represents a network of information that spans a city, or a network of villages.
  • Contacts 3 represents a network of information that spans a nation, or several nations, but with a limited focus.
  • Contacts 5 represents a network of information that spans a Direction.

When making an investigation, socialize, or similar roll that draws upon areas her contacts may be able to assist with, the character adds 1, 2, or 3 dice to the attempt, as well as gaining access to information they may not normally be able to.

Cult (1-5):

Cult represents a character’s worshippers—believers who offer sacrifices and prayer to them. The rating of this Merit dictates the size of the character’s cult and the power she can draw from its prayers.

  • Cult 1 comprises only a few full-time priests and a handful of devout worshipers.
  • Cult 2 span several hundred individuals, perhaps an entire large village.
  • Cults 3 mean the character is venerated throughout a significant region, or perhaps openly rules a mighty city-state as its god-king (although this would require additional Merits to represent such influence).
  • Cults 4 mean that an entire nation honors the character; tens of thousands offer up prayers to her, and the Wyld Hunt has surely heard her name.
  • Cult 5 span much of a Direction; few Exalts indeed may claim such a vast bounty of worship, and at present, no Solar Exalt has yet done so in the Age of Sorrows.

A character receives their Cult’s rating in Essence per hours, but only when they could normally recover Essence. For a three-dot Cult or higher, they also receive an extra point of WP per morning.

Hearthstone (1-3):

A Hearthstone is effectively a minor artifact, although a naturally occurring one. Concentrated gems of elemental power, they provide strange and mystical properties to their host when placed in the socket of a weapon, armor, or jewelry. In addition to any other bonuses they provide, they give their rating in motes per hour whenever motes would normally be recovered.

Influence (1-5):

This Merit reflects a character’s standing and pull in society. It might derive from political office, notoriety, leadership of an organization, military conquest, or from awe or fear of the character’s displayed power. Whatever the reason, people take heed of the character’s wants and will. Most Exalted eventually gain some degree of Influence, if they don’t start with it.

  • Influence 1 describes a figure of local note—a tribal family head, a respected physician, a known sorcerer, or the owner of a very popular teahouse.
  • Influence 2 describes a figure of some pull in the city-state or satrapy where he resides—a politically connected magistrate, a shipping magnate, a mercenary company leader with an important contract.
  • Influence 3 describes an influential character, very important to the region in which he resides: a royal advisor, a general, a tribal chief, a merchant prince with investments everywhere in the region.
  • Influence 4 describes a major regional power, whose words carry great weight, and who may possibly rule a small city directly. This also represents leaders of tribal alliances, the right hands of princes, and Lunar Exalted who openly live as gods.
  • Influence 5 describes a character of vast Influence, likely the ruler of a city-state with influence on neighboring principalities. Alternately, the character might be a widely-feared warlord, or the Lunar god-king of an all-consuming horde.

Influence generally means that people will have already formed an Tie toward the character before they have even met them, though usually such a tie will be minor. In addition, when making rolls that deal with people within their sphere of influence, the character adds that many dice.

Manse (3-5):

A sorcerous citadel built upon a Nexus of ley lines, a Manse concentrates the essence from the surrounding area. Often a fortress, palace, or sorcerer’s tower, a Manse serves as a magical base of operations for the discerning Exalt. Purchasing a Manse also grants a Hearthstone of it’s (Rating-2).

Resources (1-5):

Each dot of Resources roughly represents an economic bracket and grants a standard income beyond any Equipmentgained during play. The source of this wealth must be detailed (rents on property, sharecropping, government stipend, interest in a mercantile concern, tax farming, banditry), since it may be increased, decreased, or eliminated completely as the game’s story plays out. Note that note dots of resources not necessarily indicate poverty—it can also simply represent a level of wealth not significant to come into play in the story.

  • Resources 1: This is the level of Resources appropriate to agrarian landlords, respected mortal craftsmen or artisans, renowned performers in local demand, owners of successful small businesses, mid-ranking criminals in urban cartels, or corrupt mid-ranking or honest high-ranking local government officials.
  • Resources 2: This represents the wealthiest people common folk are ever likely to interact with meaningfully, and is appropriate for urban slumlords, gang bosses, corrupt high-ranking local government officials, famous mortal artisan and performers, investors in successful regional trading concerns, or the stipend of a poor Dynast or a Realm Patrician in good standing with her family.
  • Resources 3: This level of Resources represents a take in the spoils of empire. It’s the income of the heads of established patrician houses, multi-city criminal syndicates, extremely successful Scavenger Lords, powerful Warlords, Guild Merchant Princes, and is also the usual discretionary stipend or income for a Dynast of one of the Great Houses.
  • Resources 4: Dynasts who’ve established successful business interests often possess this level of Resources, as do members of especially well-off patrician families, the most successful Guild merchant princes, the wealthiest and most fortunate scavenger lords, rulers of small but healthy Threshold states, and mortal craftsmen with skills of singular value to the Chosen and the will and connections to demand their worth—for example, renowned mortal manse architects.
  • Resources 5: The rulers of City-States, renowned and successful Dynasts and established Guild Factors possess this level of personal wealth.

Once per arc, an Exalt can acquire an item with a Resource cost equal to their points in the merit without requiring a roll. Once per session, they can acquire equipment with a Resource cost one point lower than their points in the merit without requiring a roll. Equipment two points lower can be acquired at whim within reason.

Backgrounds

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