Exalted: The Legend of Denandsor
Changes to Magical Materials
I screwed up the colour orientation for Dragon-Blooded castes pretty early on and to be honest, I’m reluctant to change it back. While it’s a betrayal of the Chinese alchemy associations that inspired the Dragon-Blooded, I feel this way it’s more intuitive for us filthy Westerners.
The colour associated with the Water Caste is now blue, and they gain power from artifacts of blue jade.
The colour associated with the Air Caste is now white, and they gain power from artifacts of white jade.
The colour associated with the Earth Caste is now black, and they gain power from artifacts of black jade.
Fire Caste and Wood Caste associations are unchanged (red and green respectively).
Occult Ability and Thaumaturgy
Even if you never learn Sorcery or more esoteric charms, you may take the time to learn mortal magic provided you have the Occult skill. Characters may learn one Art of thaumaturgy for every odd numbered level of Occult skill (1, 3, and 5) as well as additional Arts for the same cost as specialties. This is entirely optional, however, as Arts are always weaker than Charms and Sorcery.
Ignore all references to “degrees” of Thaumaturgical Arts, replace with levels of the Occult skill instead.
For reference, the Arts are:
Art of Alchemy- crafting lesser wonders in the form of potions, miraculous medicines, drugs, and poisons.
Art of Astrology- divinity the future and generating fortunes for individuals.
Art of the Dead- lesser necromancy, summoning and warding against ghosts.
Art of Demon Summoning- summoning and pacting with (but not controlling) demons.
Art of Elemental Summoning- summoning and pacting with (but not controlling) demons.
Art of Enchantment- crafting lesser wonders in the form of amulets, weapons, etc.
Art of Geomancy- identifying manses and demenses, following dragon lines, and performing feng shui.
Art of Husbandry- summoning, manipulating and warding against animals.
Art of Spirit Beckoning- attracting the attention of spirits and gods.
Art of Warding and Exorcism- warding against and exorcism of spirits, ghosts, demons, etc.
Art of Weather Working- influencing and divining the weather and seasons.
How to learn Sorcery (and Necromancy)
I’m changing the rules on learning Sorcery, in order to open it up a little bit more. Necromancy is provided as a comparative.
In order to learn a new level of Sorcery (regardless of what level that is), your character must undergo five “initiations”. These rites generally preclude someone learning Sorcery during a story arc (though it’s not impossible), but provided you’re willing to undergo the initiations and create your own character’s version of them, you’re good to go.
First is the Initiation of Humility. First, you cannot learn sorcery because of the benefit it gets you- you don’t have to learn sorcery for it’s own sake (like before), but it can’t be for your own empowerment or self-aggrandizement. Second, your character must be humiliated in some way. They need to be taken down a peg in some dramatic way.
Second is the Initiation of Tutelage. Simply put, after being humbled, you need a teacher. This teacher can be an Exalt who knows the level of Sorcery you’re trying to be inducted into, but you can be creative- ancient tomes, bargains with demons, regressive hypnosis, all sorts of things can qualify as “teachers”.
Third is the Initiation of Journey. This is another simple one- you have to conduct a journey over the course of your learning. It can be to your teacher or over the course of your tutelage, but so long as a great journey takes place, and you some greater understanding of the universe along the way, you’re solid.
Fourth is the Initiation of Fear. Once the process begins, in a vision, dream, or hallucination, you will be faced with your greatest fear. The point of this isn’t to overcome or somehow defeat your fear, but to stand resolute in the face of that fear.
Finally comes the Initiation of Sacrifice. You need to sacrifice something, and this sacrifice is enforced by the rites of Sorcery. For example, if you sacrifice the love for your character’s significant other, then that love is gone, and no matter what happens your character will never feel that again.
Necromancy isn’t exactly the same, but is similar:
The first step is the Initiation of Melancholy. No natural part of the Underworld has joy, or even anger or sadness. All emotions are dulled, and everything mourns for the life that they once possessed. By adopting that sense of melancholy and allowing it to permeate your being, you prepare yourself to channel the Essence of death.
The second step is the Initiation of Memory. All things decay, and have decayed in previous lives. By remembering what is feels like to die, this teaches you the secrets of the dead.
The third step is the Initiation of Stasis. To master necromancy, one must stay still and look inward. Meditating in place for long periods in featureless locales- areas of blasted desert, wasteland, or facing the wall in a damp tomb- leads to enlightenment on the meaning of Necromancy.
The fourth step is the Initiation of Infliction. In order to understand how the living fears death, so too must the Necromancer inflict the fear of death upon someone else.
The final step is Initiation of Decay. This is where something that gives your character joy atrophies and dies.