Exalted Modern – The SiderealsApril 27, 2011
Perhaps the most influential Exalted on the modern world, if not the most influential in it, the Sidereal Exalted have ever been the powers behind the thrones of Creation. They advised the Solar Exalted during the time of the Deliberative, but when their advice was repeatedly ignored, when the Solars began experiments that made any sane man question the very existence of tomorrow, action had to be taken.
As in the Creation we know, the Sidereals cast a great prophecy and saw three potential futures for the world. In the first, they overthrew the Solars, and the world survived, though lessened. In the second, they did nothing, and all that was ceased to be. In the third, they attempted to guide Creation, and they had a chance of success, but not even their auguries could be certain.
In the end, as in the Creation we know, they chose the first option. Little did they understand how much lessened Creation would be. The Usurpation continued as planned, save that it was significantly more successful. No Solar escaped the massacre, and the Jade Prison was filled with the Exaltations of every Solar in Creation, all three hundred. But they did not stop there. Filled with hubris, they determined to change reality itself to suit their whims, though it killed them all.
They raised the Kukla and reshaped the world, murdering billions in their arrogance. Gods and elementals cried out as the cataclysm swept Creation. It is said that Mars herself lifted her head, prepared to enter the Loom of Fate to preserve the world, but Saturn stayed her hand. “There is always an ending.”
One by one, the powerful sorceries and Charms and astrologies tore apart the fabric of the Loom, refitting it to the designs of the Sidereals, and one by one, the Sidereals died, their lives drained by the effort of their undertaking. Normally, Sidereal incarnations are predestined, but with reality unraveling and mortals dying by the millions, their Exaltations fled to Lytek’s cabinet, huddled in on themselves until the storm passed.
Unfortunately, as part of the cataclysm, the Sidereals sealed all the gates to Yu-Shan from within, ensuring that none of the gods could escape and undo their handiwork. It also prevented the Exaltations from leaving Yu-Shan. As the Sidereals died, their numbers dwindled and remained trapped. When the magical energies died, and the Loom stood reformed in its new shape, only Chejop Kejak remained alive.
Heaven itself, stunned from the betrayal of the Viziers, lashed out. Kejak was audited literally to the cusp of death, before being imprisoned in the most secure facility available to Yu-Shan, his biological functions suspended to prevent even the chance that he might die and escape his torment. Sidereals were officially stripped of all their power, and if the Maidens objected, they did not speak of it. Throughout it all, the Unconquered Sun and Luna did not lift their heads from the Games.
8000 years passed. Yu-Shan fell into corruption and indolence. Gods live forever, and with no way to engender worship on Earth or affect their domains, they suddenly had a closed economy, one where excess and indulgence could not simply be waved off with the next appearance of Quintessence. A spiritual blackness fell over Yu-Shan, and without the Exalted to guide them, and no reason to do their jobs, the entire cosmology spiraled into despair and ruin.
When the Solar Exalted returned from their prison, they shattered the bindings on the Yu-Shan gates. Sidereals began to Exalt again, but with no support structure, and the grudges of the everlasting gods, they are more hunted even than the Solars. The Maidens, however, have opened the seals on the Arts of Greater Astrology, and some take that as their covert blessing on the return of their Chosen. Sidereals war quietly now with gods and elementals and Exalted, some seeking to reclaim their place in the hierarchy of Heaven, while others strive to fix the numerous and varied problems with Earth.
And in the center of all the chaos, alone in his cell, Chejop Kejak waits.
Modern Sidereals tend to Exalt from backgrounds of importance and influence, if not celebrity. An influential member of the Department of Health and Human Services might find himself a Chosen of Serenity, while an influential but anonymous conspiracy theorist might suddenly become a Chosen of Secrets. Subtlety and connection are paramount in the Sidereal Exaltations, even after 8000 years. If you choose to play one of the returning Viziers, you must decide whether you will strive to repair the damage your spiritual ancestors have caused, or whether you will carve out your own niche in this new world and make the best of what you and yours have wrought.
Perhaps one of the most important changes to Sidereals in the Modern setting is the existence of the Mask. In the canon setting, the Sidereals broke the constellation of the Mask to hide their guilt over the Usurpation. In the Modern setting, they never got the chance to do so. Among other things, this means that the Arcane Fate rule does not apply to Sidereals. They are as subject to the consequences of being remembered as anyone else. However, they can still shroud their identities by means of Resplendent Destinies… should they manage to convince the Pattern Spiders to grant their petition, of course.
Sidereals begin play with one free dot of Resistance, one free level of Ox-Body Technique, and a free Excellency of their choice. The rules presented in Glories of the Most High apply, as the seals on the Greater Arts of Astrology have been opened. The Acquaintances, Celestial Manse, Salary, and Sifu Backgrounds are unavailable at character generation. Aside from those changes, they use standard Ronin character generation rules.