Exalted: Modern – The SolarsMay 6, 2011
The Solars have had, literally, no influence on the world since the Usurpation. The effectiveness of the Sidereal pogrom ensured that all three hundred Solar Exaltations have spent the last eight millennia trapped in the Jade Prison, guarded by the Elemental Dragons and trapped in the burning core of the new Earth. Their influence is entirely forgotten, their once-great empire now little more than half-glimpsed thematics even in ancient myths. The Garden of Eden. Atlantis. Shangri-la. The First Age is utterly gone.
And yet, that is the Solars’ greatest advantage, now. As they return, they have no preconceived notions. They have no existing antagonists. They have no masters to whom they are even nominally shackled. Every Solar, as it chooses a mortal host, is free to use their considerable power to do as they please.
And their every action will have consequences. While there may be those Solars, particularly the Night or Eclipse Castes, who choose to remain hidden to better prepare against the other Exalted in the world, most have no reason to conceal their identities or powers. After all, who can threaten them? The soldier who stands in the path of the onrushing tank, only to casually lift and hurl it at its allies instinctively understands that he cannot be stopped by such crude methods. The scientist who cracks the mysteries of quantum physics because he can perceive Essence instinctively knows that there is no mystery he cannot solve. The diplomat who casually brings peace to the Middle East with a flick of an Essence-infused pen instinctively comprehends that no existing world order can resist him.
Furthermore, there is no Immaculate Order to prejudice the nations against the Solars. “Anathema” is not a term used frequently to describe them. They do not know about the Incarnae. When a Zenith Caste Exalts and feels the power of the sun flowing through him, he does not automatically understand the socio-political ramifications of being Exalted. He filters this new power through the lens of his heritage and upbringing, whatever that may be.
This, quite naturally, means every Solar Exalt is going to be different. Some may see themselves as angels, empowered by a Christian deity to spread His word to the world. Some may see themselves as gods themselves, either reincarnations of ancient deities or something wholly new. And some may not care. Some will see only that they have power, and they will use it, for good or ill, for themselves or for the world.
Only one thing can be conclusively stated about the Solars as a whole: they will change the world. National boundaries will be redrawn. High-Essence battles will occur in crowded cities. Technological advances will change the fundamental understanding of science and reality as we know it. No matter their motivations, no matter their intents, the Solar Exalted cannot help but change the face of the world, simply by existing within it.
Solar Exaltations have not changed their selection criteria in the last eight thousand years. Solars-to-be will be chosen from those who are exceptional, who stand out, and who, if given power, will use it. They are heroes in the Greek sense (or, perhaps, the Greek heroes are echoes of ancient Solars themselves). They are larger than life, epic, and powerful. But the Exaltations do not seek morality above other qualities. Every Solar is a law unto himself, and some are much nicer people than others.
If you choose to claim one of these Solar Exaltations, who will you be? Will you be an incarnation of justice and righteousness, spreading the tenets of the Unconquered Sun even without knowing him or knowing his methods? Will you be another warlord, carving the world up for your own gain? Will you be a scholar, a seeker of knowledge, an assassin, a drug lord, a soldier, a king? The decision is yours, more than with any other Exalt.
Solar Exalted begin with one free dot of Resistance, one free level of Ox-Body Technique, and the Body-Mending Meditation Charm at no additional cost. Aside from those changes, they use standard character generation rules (and, indeed, all Exalted use the core book rules for Artifact, as those magical items are few and far between).