Exalted: Modern – The AlchemicalsMay 5, 2011
When Autochthon left Creation, he shaped his own plane of existence from his world-body. He populated it with stolen mortals from Creation and set his Alchemical Exalted to watch over them, to serve them and serve him while he hibernated. In this manner, he set himself apart from the world, and placed the Seal of Eight Divinities between him and the Exalted he so feared. He was thus absent for the Usurpation and the following cataclysm.
Autochthon had always been a sickly Primordial, infected with some manner of cancerous disease that resisted his best efforts to cure himself. During long centuries spent in hibernation, that illness grew worse, despite the best efforts of his Chosen and his people to cure him. Gremlins grew wild in the Reaches, poisons filled the internal nations of the Great Maker, and one by one, his people died. The Well of Souls grew dim and overtaxed, and the Magical Materials within Autochthon dwindled. In their desperation to survive, his people cannibalized more and more of their god-world, striving simply to exist.
In the end, they failed. The light in Autochthon’s Core dwindled to nearly nothing. His people died out, and even the gremlins, when they had no more to feed upon, fell into comatose slumber and were in turn consumed by the Great Maker’s internal processes. Autochthonia became a lifeless husk, a slumbering relic that had dwindled to no more than a meteorite drifting endlessly in Elsewhere. For millennia, Autochthon lay in a dormant coma, unaware of his surroundings. He came dangerously close to becoming a Neverborn.
However, he had planned ahead. Across the span of galaxies and dimensions, the Eye of Autochthon remained on Earth, indestructible even in the heat of the Kukla’s wrath. It slumbered in what would come to be called Asia, until it caught the faintest hint of its maker’s distress, broadcast as a subliminal beacon through the rippling multiverse. When it woke, it sent a pulse of Essence to the inert Autochthonia, and long torpid processes began to open the Seal of Eight Divinities, pulling the Great Maker back from Elsewhere.
His arrival was spectacular, in what Earth knew as the early 1900s, with a fiery explosion that leveled more than 800 square miles of forest, leaving a crater in the smoking Earth. Mostly dormant, the slumbering Core of Autochthon was discovered by a lone (and unfortunate) scientist, whose mind could not withstand the power of a Primordial. Autochthon now had a host body on Earth, for as long as it could contain him.
Nearly a hundred years later, a company calling itself Autocorp manifested within the Russian nation. Its branches had spread through every automated nation in the world, subsidiaries splitting like sub-souls. For a century, Autochthon had marshalled his power, scraping together what tiny remnants of the Magical Materials his mortal (and occasionally Dragon-Blooded) agents could find.
Within months of the return of the Celestial Exalted, Autocorp announced that it had perfected an artificial means of Exaltation, and the Alchemical Exalted were reborn. Initially, Autocorp has only enough Magical Material to create a single assembly of Alchemicals, but even the weakest Exalted have widespread influence on Earth. It will not be long before they have harvested more Magical Materials from the secret places deep within the Earth, from ancient storehouses stolen from the weakened Dragon-Blooded, or from eldritch locales hidden between the folds of reality by the Sidereals of old. Their power will spread, and they will be another force to be reckoned with.
However, the depths of Autochthon and his Core programs yet suffer from the void that gnaws at his health. Every day he grows a little weaker, and every day his endemic sickness grows a little stronger. Each of his Chosen bears a seed of that sickness within them, and the possibility of Gremlin Syndrome unleashed upon Earth by a new and horrific race of Exalted is too terrifying to ignore.
Alchemical Exalted are not chosen: they are made. Hidden within what remained of his bulk, the Great Maker retained a few soulgems containing the best of his former Exalted. Those, he used to animate the first assembly. Now, as they spread forth, not only do they seek the Magical Materials necessary to make more of them (and to make and upkeep their Charms), they strive to find the souls of Earth’s most spectacular heroes, from which they can forge new Alchemicals.
If you choose to play one of these mechanical Exalts, the fate of a Primordial rests in your hands. By your actions will Autochthon be rebuilt and reanimated, perhaps as something entirely new, a Weaver of Metal released upon the world to change it into his own workshop paradise. Or, by your actions will he dwindle away and be rendered impotent, leaving you and your assembly to rule over the nations of Earth without Primordial oversight. Or, perhaps, you will succumb to Gremlin Syndrome and become something wholly abominable.
Alchemical Exalted begin play with one free dot of Resistance, one free purchase of the Strain-Resistant Chassis Modification Charm, one free Augmentation of their choice, and two free Dedicated Charm slots. The Artifact Background functions as detailed in the Exalted core, and modern Alchemicals cannot use it to purchase additional Charms. The Cult, Followers, Influence, and Resources Backgrounds are all available to Alchemicals, while the Class Background is not. Those Exalted recruited from Earth’s souls after the initial Assembly cannot purchase the Exemplar Background above one dot without exceptional justification at the ST’s discretion. Aside from those changes, Alchemicals use the standard character generation rules.