Alternative Progressions – SorceryJune 29, 2010
The second alternative venue for characters outside their native Charms is Sorcery. Originally, when Creation was first made, it was laid over with an operating system, a set of “physics,” for lack of a better term, that guided and oversaw how the world itself functioned. The Primordials also made sure they could hack that operating system, could bend the rules. In time, others learned how to access these hacks to a greater or lesser extent, and this came to be called Sorcery.
As with Martial Arts, there are three tiers of Sorcery: Terrestrial, Celestial, and Solar. Each develops ever-expanding powers, always impressive, but never quick. Even Terrestrial Circle Sorcery takes time to produce its effects, making it nigh-useless on an individual combat scale, but devastating in war or outside of combat.
Terrestrial Circle Sorcery is the most ubiquitous circle, usable by all types of Exalted (except Alchemicals) and even by enlightened mortals. Its effects are small (comparatively) but useful, ranging from creating food and water to hurling devastating waves of razor-edged obsidian butterflies, from binding small demons to sending messages infallibly from one end of Creation to the other in an instant. It is the most practical of all sorcery.
Celestial Circle Sorcery is the next tier, and its effects, while useful, begin to move outside the realm of practicality. Dragon-Blooded and mortals cannot practice Celestial Circle Sorcery, limiting it to Solars (and their tier), Lunars, and Sidereals. Effects of Celestial Circle Sorcery can include teleportation, conjuring tentacles of magma from beneath the ground, binding ever more potent demons, or turning oneself into a bladed behemoth made of cold iron. Its spells can turn the tide of entire wars, or bring nations to power (or ruin).
Finally, Solar Circle Sorcery is only attainable by Solars and Infernals. Even Abyssals cannot manage this feat. The spells of the Solar Circle are world-changing, spells that bind the most potent of demons, annihilate entire cities, levy curses of eternal darkness, or bring rains of blood and frogs. They are events, every one of them, stunning and powerful in their effect. Solar Circle spells have not been seen in Creation since the Usurpation, for obvious reasons, but with the return of the Solars (and the presence of the Infernals), it’s only a matter of time.
Alchemicals have an entirely different method of hacking Creation, called Protocols. Passed down by Autochthon himself, these Protocols are much more direct, but much less powerfully broad. Man-Machine Protocols are roughly on par with Terrestrial Circle spells (and duplicate some of their effects), while God-Machine Protocols are more on par with Celestial Circle spells. Protocols are not learnable by the Creation-born, and Sorcery is not learnable by the Alchemicals (though Autochthonian mortals could, presumably, learn Terrestrial Circle Sorcery).