Exalted: Modern – Gods and ElementalsMay 18, 2011
Not all of the gods (and precious few of the elementals) were fortunate enough to be in Yu-Shan when the Sidereals sealed it off. Many were trapped in Creation when the ground split and the Kukla roared forth on a wave of fire. Some of these spirits sought to aid the Dragon-Blooded as they protected the last remnants of humanity, while others sought only to save themselves. Both groups saw varying levels of success.
When the earth cooled, many of the elementals that had once roamed Creation were dead or dying. The dragon lines were completely altered. The geomancy of the world had become something entirely new. The sanctums those few fortunate elementals had dug out of the firmament were buried or annihilated. The flows of elemental Essence did not bubble to the surface to feed them. They had no connection to the suddenly new landscape, no familiar landmarks or even friends. The Courts were in shambles.
Those few gods who remained fared better. Many of them chose to rally supporters from amongst the elementals, trying to reform the Courts with themselves as the heads. Some succeeded. Others chose to seek worship from among the mortals, either openly or subtly, but most of those quickly encountered the Dragon-Blooded and were slain or driven into the wilds.
The elementals learned to make good use of their ability to become incorporeal, as the gods once had. They remained out of sight, for fear that any mortal could potentially have Dragon-Blooded allies. They were frightened and harried, and they began a pattern of secrecy that would last for millennia. They chose not to reveal themselves to mortals, but instead to do their best to tend the new world, to shepherd the natural resources as the Dragon-Blooded shepherded the mortals themselves. The Courts reformed, often around gods, but they remained out of sight (mostly).
Worship was scarce, but for a time, pre-industrial cultures still venerated nature spirits of various kinds, and so the elementals actually had a stronger flow of Essence than the gods of Yu-Shan. However, as industrialization and science spread, the worship of supernatural beings shrank, and many of those beings ceased functioning in the material world for lack of motivation. Industrialization slowly spread and drove back the spirit world with a spiritual malaise.
And yet, some spirits proved to be remarkably adaptable. Yet others were born wholly new from the industrial world. Elementals that seemed more metallic began to grow in industrialized nations, especially those that would later boast the initial seeds of what would become Autocorp.
The spirit world still exists. The spirit world is not a separate world. It exists on Earth, coterminous with the mortal world, but all its inhabitants can become incorporeal. It interacts with humans on its own terms. Mostly.
There are no few mortals who retain the thaumaturgical rituals to communicate with gods and elementals. Some of them were taught by their ancestors, with rites preserved through history. Others have stumbled upon ancient texts or been taught by the spirits themselves. Others still have accidentally researched the rituals, re-engineering them from first principles.
Now, with the return of the Exalted, things are changing. Exalts can summon and bind elementals and can command gods. They can see the immaterial. Many gods hope this means a return to the glories of Yu-Shan, but most elementals fear the same outcome. They were never more than second-class citizens of Heaven at the best of times. On Earth, they can find some small veneration, some niche where they are appreciated. If Yu-Shan opens its gates again, many elementals fear a return to the oppression and bigotry of days past.