Character creation: Exalted third edition

The new edition of Exalted is already here, at least for the backers of its successful Kickstarter campaign.

In Exalted you are one of the returning powerful Solar Exalted, champions of the greatest god, the Unconquered Sun, forsaken by the Creation they were given to rule.

Step 1: Character Concept and Caste

I’m going to be a freed slave from Makelo, in the western island of Sinti. Picked from among the other slaves thanks to his ability in the forge, Son of Hammer and Fire was blessed by the forge goddess Ninegala herself when she chose him in the Cave of Judgement. Later, Son of Hammer and Fire received his exaltation when rose to defend a pack of slaves from an infiltrated wyld beast: he jumped and picked a ritual spear still red-hot from the fires of Ninegala forge, and used it to vanquish the creature. Now Ninegala has him as prime pupil and honoured guard, but Son of Hammer and Fire is growing restless about the way the rulers of Makelo treat their slaves, and Ninegala is noticing it…

Pick out the Caste that fits best, and note down its anima effects.

Son of Hammer and Fire fits best as a Twilight, as he is a peerless smith and artisan.

As a Twilight, my anima gives me the following powers:

  • For 5 motes (5m), it gives me a Hardness of 5 for one turn.
  • For 10 motes and 1 willpower (10m 1w) the anima consumes my body. It reappears next sunset in a close place of power.
  • For 10 motes I can try to turn an Essence 1-3 elemental or demon into my familiar.

Step 2: Attributes

Attributes are the innate aptitudes of the character. They are divided in physical (strength, dexterity, stamina), social (charisma, manipulation, appearance) and mental (perception, intelligence, wits). They go from 1 to 5 dots.

You have one dot free in each, and then have to divide 8 dots among your chosen primary category, 6 among the secondary and 4 among the tertiary.

For Son of Hammer and Son, physical attributes are the primary, mental are the secondary and social are the tertiary.

  • Physical (primary, 8 dots)
    • Strength ●●●●
    • Dexterity ●●●●
    • Stamina ●●●
  • Social (tertiary, 4 dots)
    • Charisma ●●●
    • Manipulation ●●
    • Appearance ●●
  • Mental (secondary, 6 dots)
    • Perception ●●●
    • Intelligence ●●●
    • Wits ●●●

Step 3: Abilities

Abilities are the skills developed by the character. There are twenty six abilities, but one of them (Martial Arts) can only be bought with the appropriate Merit. Abilities go from 0 to 5 dots, but during character generation you can only raise an ability beyond 3 using Bonus Points (see later).

First, I need to choose my caste abilities: five abilities related to my caste (twilight) which are easier for me to learn. I choose CraftIntegrity, Lore, Medicine and Occult.

Now I have to choose five favored abilities from the full list. These can not be the same as my caste abilities, but are also skills I have a easier time improving. I choose Resistance, Dodge, MeleeThrown and Sail.

Next I have to select one supernal ability from my five caste abilities. I can learn charms of my supernal ability ignoring their essence requirements: it’s the ability I can be a legend in more easily. I choose Craft.

And now to divide 28 dots among all abilities. All my favored abilities must have at least one dot. My ability list ends like this:

  • Archery
  • Athletics 
  • Awareness 
  • Brawl
  • Bureaucracy
  • Craft (supernal) (Weaponsmith) 
  • Craft (supernal) (Artifacts) 
  • Dodge (favored) ●●
  • Integrity (caste) 
  • Investigation
  • Larceny
  • Linguistics 
  • Lore (caste) ●●
  • Martial Arts
  • Medicine (caste) 
  • Melee (favored) ●●●
  • Occult (caste)
  • Performance
  • Presence
  • Resistance (favored) ●●
  • Ride
  • Sail (favored) ●●
  • Socialize
  • Stealth 
  • Survival
  • Thrown (favored) ●●●
  • War

Finally, I have to assign four specialties: narrow fields inside an ability that give +1 when applicable. I choose:

  • Craft – spears
  • Thrown – spears
  • Lore – Gods of the west
  • Resistance – Heat

Step 4: Merits

Next step is buying merits. Merits are miscellaneous advantages. Some are innate (like being very big), some are learned (like Martial Arts), some are social (like Contacts), and so. Every merit has its own cost, between 1 and 5. You have 10 points to buy merits.

Son of Hammer and Fire has the following merits:

  • Artifact ●●●: Slave Salvation, the longfang (artifact spear) made of steel and red and black jade that he used to defeat a wyld beast. It was being made for a Dragon Blooded, who may not be totally happy of it being now of Son of Hammer and Fire.
  • Boundless Endurance ●●: He is very resilient. Difficulties of remaining awake and resisting fatigue are 2 less.
  • Contacts ● (slaves of Sinti): He keeps in touch with as many slaves as he can.
  • Influence ● (blessed by Ninegala): Those who follow  and/or serve Ninegala know Son of Hammer and Fire is favored by her.
  • Language ● (Old Realm): Ninegala didn’t intend to teach him this language, but he learned it anyway, listening to her.
  • Mentor ●● (Ninegala): Ninegala is teaching him about the forge, the gods and the world. But also she is starting to be slightly afraid of how fast he learns, and of how much he infers.

Step 5: Charms

Here comes the meatiest part of character creation: Charm selection.

Charms are the standard magical abilities of the exalted. There are a lot of charms to choose from in third edition, and in one ability (the supernal ability) you can buy them regardless of Essence requirements. As some charms will have higher ability requirements, I’ll note down which abilities I need to rise with bonus points.

So, I have to select 15 charms. Let’s go to it.

  • Craft
    • Arete-Shifting Prana (change one crafting speciality into another)
    • Sublime Transference (change one crafting xp into another)
    • Brass Scales Falling (win additional silver crafting xp)
    • Craftman Needs no Tools (can shape rock, metal, etc… just with hands, breath and voice)
    • Shattering Grasp (destroy things)
    • Flawless Handiwork Method (reroll 10s on crafting rolls)
  • Dodge
    • Reed in the Wind (spend initiative to improve evasion)
  • Integrity
    • Enduring Mental Toughness (ignore penalties to Resolve or Guile)
  • Lore
    • Wyld-Dispelling Prana (defend against the wyld)
  • Medicine
    • Ailment-Rectifying Method (cure illness)
  • Melee
    • Excellent Strike (one automatic success and reroll 1s)
    • Fire and Stones Strike (add damage)
    • Dipping Swallow Defense (ignore penalties to parry and win initiative when parrying)
    • Call the Blade (bring weapon to hand)
  • Resistance
    • Ox-Body Technique (get one -1 and two -2 health levels)
  • Sail
    • Salty Dog Method (hardened sailor)
  • Thrown
    • Precision of the Striking Raptor (attack as if close range)

That’s 17 charms in total, and I need to raise my craft to 5 and my dodge to 3. I’ll check later if I have enough bonus points, or if I have to shorten the list.


Step 6: Intimacies and Limit Trigger

Intimacies are things, people or ideas that matter to my character. I have to choose at least four, and one has to be Defining (a very, very important thing, a base of his personality), one Major (a very important thing). And one has to be positive and one negative.

I choose:

  • Ninegala (trust) (Major)
  • I think that slaves should live better (Defining)
  • Fair folk (hate) (Major)
  • The sea (love) (Minor)
  • The fire of the forges feels like home (Major)

I also need to choose a Limit Trigger, a stressful situation which makes Son of Hammer and Fire win Limit and get closer to the cathartic meltdown of a Limit Break, when the Great Curse that haunts the exalted is made manifest and their immense passions can cause immense disasters.

As a Limit Trigger, I choose witnessing slaves being treated wrong, unfairly or being hurt.

Step 7: Bonus Points

Now I have 15 bonus points to raise anything. Each thing has a different cost.

I need three ability points. As they are for caste/favored abilities, that’s 3 points spent.

Two favored/caste charms are 8 more points.

Now I have 4 points left. I use them to raise my Intelligence to 4.

Step 8: Finishing Touches

Final things to note down.

My Essence rating is 1. It will go up as I win experience.

My personal essence pool is 13, and my peripheral essence pool is 33. These pools are used to pay for charms, and using the peripheral motes can make my anima appear and flare.

I have the following health levels: -0, -1, -1, -1, -2, -2, -2, -4, Incapacitated.

My Willpower is 5.


I also want to calculate my static values:

  • My Parry is 5 with Slave Salvation.
  • My Evasion is 4, without armor.
  • My Soak is 3.
  • My Resolve is 3.
  • My Guile is 1.

Finalized Character

Son of Hammer and Fire, Twilight Exalted


Strength ●●●●, Dexterity ●●●●, Stamina ●●●, Charisma ●●●, Manipulation ●●, Appearance ●●, Perception ●●●, Intelligence ●●●●, Wits ●●●


Athletics ●, Awareness ●, Craft (supernal) (Weaponsmith) ●●●●●, Craft (supernal) (Artifacts) ●●, Dodge (favored) ●●●, Integrity (caste) ●●, Linguistics ●, Lore (caste) ●●●, Medicine (caste) ●●, Melee (favored) ●●●, Occult (caste), Resistance (favored) ●●, Sail (favored) ●●, Stealth ●, Thrown (favored) ●●●

Specialities: Craft (spears), Thrown (spears), Lore (gods of the west), Resistance (heat)


Artifact ●●●: Slave Salvation, a Longfang.
Boundless Endurance ●●
Contacts ● (slaves of Sinti).
Influence ● (blessed by Ninegala).
Language ● (Old Realm).
Mentor ●● (Ninegala).


Arete-Shifting Prana, Sublime Transference, Brass Scales Falling,
Craftman Needs no Tools, Shattering Grasp, Flawless Handiwork Method, Reed in the Wind, Enduring Mental Toughness, Wyld-Dispelling Prana, Ailment-Rectifying Method, Excellent Strike, Fire and Stones Strike, Dipping Swallow Defense, Call the Blade,
Ox-Body Technique, Salty Dog Method, Precision of the Striking Raptor


Ninegala (trust) (Major)
I think that slaves should live better (Defining)
Fair folk (hate) (Major)
The sea (love) (Minor)
The fire of the forges feels like home (Major)

Limit Trigger

Witnessing slaves being treated wrong, unfairly or being hurt.


Essence 1 (13 / 33)

Willpower 5

Health Levels -0, -1, -1, -1, -2, -2, -2, -4, Incapacitated.