Exalted: Modern – The Fallen RacesMay 20, 2011
When the Sidereals usurped the Solars, ended the First Age, and sent Creation itself into apocalyptic spasms, humanity was not the only civilization affected. The Mountain Folk and Dragon Kings suddenly found their entire worlds turned upside down, literally. Shunted into caverns deep beneath the Earth’s surface, both had to find new ways to survive. The Mountain Folk succeeded. The Dragon Kings did not.
For centuries, the Dragon Kings tried. They were warded away from the surface by the Dragon-Blooded, and by their own persecution at the hands of the humans. They were different, and humanity was not prepared to deal with that. They had barely earned their own place in the world, they were not willing to share it with the Dragon Kings.
So, the Dragon Kings delved downward, until they encountered the core of the Earth, where the Elemental Dragons slumbered wrapped around the Jade Prison. They did not understand what it was, and all efforts to open it or wake the Dragons failed. The Dragon Kings began to build what civilization they could, but so far from the Sun, beset by so many failures, and already reeling from their losses, both in the Primordial War and the Usurpation, they had little chance.
One by one, the Dragon Kings died out, or fell into cryogenic slumber within one of the few chambers they had salvaged from the Kukla. Some savages remained, and those drew nearer the surface. Most were slain by Mountain Folk, exploring humans, or the other, stranger things that live beneath the Earth, but some still roam those tunnels, feral and primal. The age of the Dragon Kings had finally come to an end. The lights of their cities died, their vegetative technologies withered, and their crystalline coffins were sealed in underground caverns.
The Mountain Folk, on the other hand, found they adapted quite well, after the initial cataclysm. As horrible as the Kukla’s wrath was for the Mountain Folk, most of them were protected within the Elemental Pole of Earth, which survived more intact than anything else and was eventually reshaped into the majority of Earth itself. Their Darkbrood enemies were not so fortunate. They were endangered as greatly as the humans themselves, and without Dragon-Blooded heroes to protect them, nearly 95% of the Darkbrood perished in the fiery caverns below Creation.
The Mountain Folk lost most of their civilization and technology, but they were adept at rebuilding. For the last several millennia, they have been expanding and exploring the caverns beneath Earth’s surface. They have found more nodes of First Age riches than any other explorers. They retain more Artifacts and relics, more Manses and demesnes, than any other force on Earth. Even the Shogunate cannot compare.
Moreover, they have found such freedom with the lack of Exalted. The Great Geas does not apply to mortals. The Mountain Folk prefer their solitude, and so they remain hidden from the eyes of humanity, but they no longer fear the interference of the Solars. They can experiment, play war games, invent new constructs, all without concern that some enterprising Twilight will come along and sweep them all away for his own amusement.
Though the return of the Exalted means the Mountain Folk must once again deal with the Geas (if the Exalted ever even find them beneath the mountains of the world), it also heralds the return of their Great Maker. The Mountain Folk, staunch and traditional, have never forgotten Autochthon, or what they owe him. If Autochthon remembers them as well, then Autocorp could well have allies and resources it never imagined, literally waiting beneath the Earth’s surface for them to swoop in and pluck it up.
The Dragon Kings, as well, have hope, though they do not know it. Many of the cryogenic stabilization tubes have been damaged with the tectonic movements of the Earth, but many more remain pure, their contents safe. Though they are sealed away from any easy reach, a fortunate Exalt could well find one or more elder Dragon Kings simply waiting to be woken. Who knows what secrets they still retain?
For those who wish to play members of the Fallen Races, the Mountain Folk begin play with one free dot of Resistance, but otherwise use standard character generation rules. Dragon Kings use the rules for elder Dragon King character generation and gain one free dot of Resistance.