Essence and Anima

What is Essence?

Essence is one of the fundamental forces in Creation. All energy depends on elemental essence to give it form, and all matter relies on essence to give it shape. Spirits, Gods, Ghosts, and Demons are entirely composed of essence, while it resides in the chakras and souls of mortals. It is the sixth element of the world—spirit.

Beyond that, little is known for certain. Scholars and Sages throughout history have speculated on the true nature of essence, but have constantly been confounded. Essence simply is.

How is Essence Used?

All creatures are naturally open to essence. However, Exalted have a greater ability to draw upon essence than most mortals. Either their Exaltation empowers them, providing a “well” of essence to fuel powers that seem superhuman, or it opens their chakras to greater manipulate essence that already exists. Use of Essence like this manifests itself in two forms—Charms and Spells.

Charms: Charms are the instinctive use of Essence to accomplish superhuman things. They are not magic, nor are they entirely conscious. Using a charm is like flexing a muscle—rather than deciding precisely what will manifest, charms manifest naturally to accomplish a goal. They are innate parts of a being, and though out of game, they are “selected,” in game, they simply appear after practice, responding to the user's instinctive desires.

Spells: Spells—Sorcery and Necromancy are magic, deliberate incantations, rituals, and components to deliberate manipulate the Essence of the world. They are learned through careful study rather than instinctive training, and never used “unconsciously” or accidentally.

XP Costs:

Charms and Spells cost 4 XP to buy if they are Favored, or 5 XP if they are non-favored.


When a creature draws upon Essence, they begin to glow, the essence flowing through their chakras “spilling over” into a pool of energy. For all exalted save the dragonbloods, this manifests as light, a swirling nimbus that starts at a caste mark over their “crown” chakra, then explodes into a bonfire, then finally, a symbol or representation of the Exalted’s nature.

Anima display have three levels for Celestial Exalted. Whenever an Exalted pays more than 2m on a turn, their anima banner increases a level. At the end of each scene, the anima banner subsides a level.

  • Caste Mark: The Exalted’s Caste mark begins to glow with the light of a candle, betraying their nature. The display of light makes stealth difficult, imposing a -2 penalty.
  • Bonfire: A swirling nimbus of energy surrounds the Exalted, laced with the colors of their Exaltation, joining their caste mark. They shed light equal to a bonfire, imposing a -4 penalty to Stealth.
  • Iconic: A personalized display of the Exalted’s nature manifests in the swirling light, proclaiming their legend to the world. Many magical disguises are shattered, and stealth is nearly impossible, imposing a -6 penalty on the user.

Essence Rating and Pool:

Characters capable of channeling essence have an essence rating, measured on a 1-10 level. This represents their ability to channel essence through their chakras and the pool of power they can wield. Exalted begin at Essence 1, and naturally increase in Essence rating as they gain experience.

The amount of essence a character can access is measured on motes. Exalted have an Essence pool equal to their 5+(their essence rating) motes. Charms, Spells, and Magical Artifacts draw from this pool, either instantly, or by requiring a long-term commitment.

Essence Recovery:

The Exalted gradually recover the ability to spend essence as they rest, though strenuous activity strains this recovery. Exalted recover (Essence + Cult + Highest Hearthstone) per scene of rest, or half this amount if they are excerting themselves.


When tested, the Exalted burn brighter than any. Characters also can gain access to an Overdrive Pool, by purchasing certain charms, which is filled by acting in accordance with their legend. This pool can be spent as normal, or used to fuel Overdrive Charms indicated by (O)m, which are extremely powerful.

Unspent overdrive motes vanish at the end of each scene.

Essence and Anima

Green Sun Rising DrTentacles