Solar Bonds [Exalted 3rd Edition]

Exalted

Today, we’re focusing on the Solar Bond. Inspired by mythic duos like Gilgamesh and Enkidu, Achilles and Patrochlus, and Xbalanque and Hunahpu, as well as fantasy romances that persist beyond lifetimes, the Bond has always been an essential feature of Lunars. For 3rd Edition, we’ve refined and revised its presentation in both the setting and mechanics to make Lunars as awesome and as fun to play as they should be. Enjoy!

Eric & Vance

History of the Silver Pact

The Silver Pact’s roots trace back to the early First Age. Today’s few surviving First Age Lunars each describe these events through different lenses of fading memory and personal interpretation. That which became the Pact was born out of violence. Near the dawn of the First Age, a coalition of Lunar princes and their Circlemates challenged the supremacy of a Solar monarch who claimed authority over Creation as the chief surviving general of the Divine Revolution. The war drew in more Lunars and Solars across a period of years, eventually embroiling much of the Exalted Host. In the end, the two sides made peace through a series of sacred marriages, Solars and Lunars forging bonds that persisted across the millennia.

Character Creation

Some Lunars have a deep spiritual tie to a Solar — or an Abyssal or Infernal. At character creation, you can decide your Lunar definitely has a Solar Bond, decide she definitely doesn’t, or let the Storyteller decide. Let the Storyteller know your choice, so she can plan accordingly.

The Solar Bond

Not all Lunars have a Solar mate, but for those who do, the experience of meeting him is unmistakable — the Lunar instantly recognizes that person as her bonded mate, and forms a Minor Tie towards them with an emotional context chosen by the Lunar’s player, if she doesn’t have one already. The Lunars’ feelings for their Solar mates run the gamut of human emotions, but they are all passionately felt. If a Lunar’s Tie for her Solar mate is ever fully eroded, either voluntarily or with social influence, she forms a new Minor Tie towards him with a player-chosen context at the scene’s end. Many Lunar Charms expand upon the Solar Bond, protecting the Lunar’s Tie for him against unwanted influence or empowering her when she acts in accordance with it.

A player who wants to guarantee her Solar mate will be a prominent and positive figure in her Lunar’s life should take the Allies Merit at the five-dot level to represent him. Otherwise, his appearances and role are up to the Storyteller — Solars mates can be friends, rivals, enemies, lovers, and more.

If a Lunar’s Solar mate dies, he still counts as her mate for purposes of the bond and related Charms until she meets his next incarnation. In the Time of Tumult, some Lunars have discovered their mates reincarnated as the Abyssal and Infernal Exalted. This doesn’t change the Solar bond’s effects, though it often complicates the Lunar’s relationship with their reborn mate.

Charms

Divine Paramour’s Embrace

Cost: 4m; Mins: Appearance 4, Essence 2
Type: Supplemental
Keywords: None
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Irresistible Silver Spirit

The Lunar watches over those who take her into their hearts, bestowing her strength upon them. When she makes a persuade roll to seduce a single target, that character may opt not to resist, allowing the roll to succeed automatically. A character who does so is comforted and affirmed by the Lunar’s affections; following at least a scene of physical intimacy, the Lunar may transfer up to (his positive Tie towards her + 1) points of her temporary Willpower to him.

Once per story, when the Lunar uses this Charm to benefit her Solar mate, he loses one point of Limit.

An Appearance 5, Essence 3 repurchase of this Charm waives the need to engage in physical Intimacy in order to grant the beneficiary Willpower — the Lunar’s affectionate words alone embolden him. This allows this Charm to be used in combat and similar scenarios.

Shining Moon-Child Mark

Cost: 2m; Mins: Charisma 3, Essence 2
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Stackable
Duration: Indefinite
Prerequisite Charms: Guiding the Flock

The Lunar lays her sign upon a beloved companion or hated foe, marking them with the touch of monstrosity and divinity. After placing a visible mark on a character she has a Tie toward — such as war paint, a tattoo, a ceremonial diadem, or a crippling injury — all who see the mark recognize it a sign left by a powerful supernatural force, and are aware of the emotional context of the Lunar’s Tie. This Charm’s cost is waived if the Lunar uses it on her Solar mate.

Characters with Resolve lower than the Lunar’s Charisma are treated as having a Minor Tie towards the marked character with an emotional context that’s either identical to that of the Lunar’s Tie or appropriate to the nature of the mark. They will shun someone who has provoked a monster’s wrath, or attempt to placate a divinity’s trusted envoy.

This Charm ends if the Lunar fully erodes her Tie towards its recipient or if the mark is removed. She may stack multiple activations to mark multiple different characters.

Taboo-Enforcing Beast

Cost: 3m, 1wp; Mins: Charisma 4, Essence 3
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Protean
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Herd-Reinforcement Stance

Speaking harshly against those who would transgress the sacred traditions and mores she’s sworn to uphold, the Lunar deters those who would violate them. When she is aware a member of a culture she has a positive Major or Defining Tie towards attempt to do something that would violate one of the culture’s customs, she can reflexively make a special (Charisma + [Presence or Socialize]) persuade roll against him. If she succeeds, he must enter a Decision Point, calling upon an Intimacy whose intensity is greater than or equal to that of his own Tie to that culture and spend one Willpower in order to proceed with that action. If he doesn’t, he must abandon the attempt, and can’t retry it for the rest of the scene.

This Charm can only be used once per scene.

Once per story, when the Lunar uses this Charm to reinforce a custom of a society ruled by her Solar mate, she may force her target into a Decision Point without needing to make an influence roll.

Protean: In a human shape that holds a position of authority within the culture, or an animal shape that is attributed special significance by the culture, the Lunar adds (Essence) automatic successes on the roll. In animal shapes, she ignores the Resolve bonus for employing body language.

Blood Geas Binding

Cost: 10m, 1wp; Mins: Intelligence 3, Essence 1
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Mute
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: None

The Lunar stands witness to the oaths and pacts that bind families and tribes together, a sacred monster empowered to enact awful vengeance on those who forsake their vows. Whenever a human makes a promise to the Lunar, or swears a vow in the Lunar’s presence with the intent that she will be an official witness to it, she may sanctify that oath. Henceforth, if that character breaks his oath, the Lunar is alerted to this fact by a sharp spike of rage, and takes the oath- breaker’s shape as though she had performed a sacred hunt.

This Charm can’t be used to seal oaths made for no purpose other than allowing the oath-giver to easily grant the Lunar his shape by breaking it.

Special activation rules: If the Lunar’s Solar mate uses his anima power to seal an oath while she is present, she waives this Charm’s Willpower cost, and may use it on that oath even if it is not made to her or by her.

History-Divining Scent

Cost: 7m, 1wp; Mins: Perception 4, Essence 3
Type: Simple
Keywords: None
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Blood on the Wind

The Lunar breathes in the Essence of the world, beckoning forth the scent of the past. She makes a (Perception + [Awareness, Investigation, or Survival]) case scene roll over the course of a few seconds to reconstruct an event that occurred at a location, subtracting successes equal to the number of days since event occurred. This penalty can’t be negated by Sense-Sharpening Change or Heightened Sense Method.

Success allows the Lunar to mentally reconstruct the details of a single scene based on scent, distinguishing the identities of any characters she knows, a general description of any unknown characters, and the movements and emotional states of all characters present in the scene. She generally can’t discern visual or auditory details, such as an unknown character’s appearance or the content of a conversation, although creative stunting may allow her to reconstruct details not normally tied to scent.

Certain conditions increase the interval of time used in determining the penalty applied to her roll. For each applicable condition, the interval increases by one degree: from days, to weeks, to months, to seasons, to years. The conditions are as follows:

  • The Lunar has memorized the scent of a character who was present at the scene with Catching the Prey’s Scent.
  • The Lunar is pursuing an investigation that upholds or protects one of her Defining Intimacies or her Solar mate’s Defining Intimacies.
  • A character the Lunar has a Major or Defining Tie towards was present at the scene. Her Solar mate always counts, including his past incarnations.
  • The Lunar has Essence 5+.

Omniscient Instinct Concentration

Cost: —(1wp); Mins: Perception 5, Essence 5
Type: Permanent
Keywords: None
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: Grandfather Spider Mastery

Standing at the center of the changing seasons, the Lunar can scent distant strife on the wind, read portents written on the stars, and discern secret wisdom from her dreams. Whenever an event occurs within (Essence x100) miles that threatens or strongly impacts the object of one of the Lunar’s Defining Ties, or her Tie to her Solar mate, she feels a tingle of prescient instinct. She may spend one Willpower to focus her senses on the distant event, receiving a brief description of it as well as the direction and distance to it. Any Survival rolls she makes to navigate her way towards the event’s location double 7s. While Watchful Spider Stance is active, the Lunar can sense events at any range, as long as she is within the same realm of existence.

The Lunar can always sense the death or reincarnation of her Solar mate with this Charm, regardless of range or being in a different realm of existence, and without needing to spend Willpower.

Blood-and-Tear Elixir Cultivation

Cost: 5m; Mins: Stamina 3, Essence 2
Type: Simple
Keywords: Totemic (Intelligence)
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Scorpion and Toad Absolution

Redirecting her internal processes, the Lunar distills efficacious medicines and antivenins from her body. She produces a single dose of medicine, which counts as exceptional equipment (Exalted, p. 580) to treat a specific malady. Additionally, if the Lunar or her Solar mate uses the medication to make a Medicine roll in the same scene she used this Charm, they reroll (Essence) 1s. If the disease or poison being treated is one the Lunar has suffered, they reroll 1s until they cease to appear instead.

Totemic: A Lunar whose spirit shape is venomous or poisonous may learn this as an Intelligence Charm, with Night’s Mercy Panacea as a prerequisite.

Moon-Follows-Sun Assurance

Cost: —; Mins: Wits 1, Essence 1
Type: Permanent
Keywords: None
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: None

The sacred vows that once bound the Lunar and Solar Exalted are reborn, blossoming in the hearts of the Moon’s Chosen. The Lunar’s positive Ties to her Solar mate can’t be weakened or altered by other character’s social influence, except that of her Solar mate. She can still erode them voluntarily.

Once per story, when the Lunar forms or strengthens a positive Tie to her Solar mate, she gains a point of Willpower, which can raise her above her permanent Willpower. Additionally, if her Solar mate forms or strengthens a positive Tie towards her while in her presence, he can also gain this bonus once per story.

Moon-and-Sun Panoply

Cost: 10m, 1wp; Mins: Wits 4, Essence 3
Type: Simple
Keywords: None
Duration: Indefinite
Prerequisite Charms: Moon-Follows-Sun Assurance, Quicksilver Legend Evolution

The Lunars of the First Age took up the arms of their Solar mates in times of need and peril, fighting with blades consecrated by the power of their sacred bond. Now that the Lawgivers are returned, the Chosen of Sun and Moon may have new cause to share their treasures. The Lunar attunes an artifact weapon or armor that her Solar mate is already attuned to without disrupting his attunement, replacing the normal attunement cost with her commitment to this Charm. Both of their bonds to the artifact are rendered inviolable, immune to any effects that would break attunement. If the Lunar’s Solar mate is resonant with the artifact, the Lunar is also treated as being resonant with it for any Evocations she uses that her Solar mate has also awakened.

The first time the Lunar uses this Charm on an artifact, she rolls (Wits + [Craft, Lore, or Occult]) against (artifact’s rating + 2; 10 if N/A). Every two extra successes lets her to awaken an Evocation that her Solar mate has already mastered, gaining it at no experience point cost as long as she meets its prerequisites. If she crafted the artifact for her Solar mate, she may awaken Evocations he has yet to master, granting them both to him and herself if they both qualify.

This Charm’s cost is reduced by the Lunar’s (Intimacy) for her Solar mate.

Moon-and-Sun Panoply may only be used once per story. Using it to attune an artifact that the Lunar has previously used this Charm to draw Evocations forth from does not count against this limit.

  8 comments for “Solar Bonds [Exalted 3rd Edition]

  1. Blackheartz
    September 6, 2018 at 11:33 am

    Simply delicious!!!

  2. YOLF
    September 6, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    These charms look like a lot of fun. I really like the detail on the origin of the Silver Pact and how it ties in with the history of the Bonds. By all means, the Bond looks like a mechanic and story element worth being interested in, this time!

  3. Werner van Voorst
    September 6, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    Wow. Just… wow.
    I’ve always loved Lunars, they’ve been my favorite Exalt since the day I heard of this game.
    The Lunar-Solar bond always felt like a great concept that was held back by mechanics that didn’t offer the myriad of relationships Solars and Lunars could have.
    I’m so happy Third Edition makes the Lunar-Solar bond awesome. It’s never forced on you, but if you embrace it, it’s powers are both versatile and fitting with the Lunar’s themes.
    A massive thank you to everyone who made this possible!

  4. shkspr1048
    September 6, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    Now I’m curious, would the Solar Mates have similar Charms, or do only Lunars feel a Solar Bond’s effects?

  5. Mike E
    September 6, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    Very interesting! Does the Solar Bond reflect any connection between the Unconquered Sun and Luna at all? It certainly works on the thematic level of sun-moon duality, just curious if that makes its way up to the Incarnae at all. I’m not familiar with previous versions of this lore so maybe this is an old question.

    • Advent Anunna
      September 6, 2018 at 11:39 pm

      In general, Luna is paired with Gaia. Sol Invictus is more or less his own thing. It’s only the Lunars and Solars that are bonded…because reasons. XD

    • Toroid
      September 15, 2018 at 7:26 pm

      The previous lore was that when Exaltations were being rolled out, Luna was afraid that Unconquered Sun would insist upon making her Lunars universally subservient to his Solars. She headed that off problem with a flattering proposal: Every Solar gets their very own, unique Lunar mate. Thus any one Solar would have no special connection to or power over the other 299 Lunars. (Lunars 2e p.20)

      In 3e, they seem to be making a decision to specifically move away from things being set in stone by gods and toward things being developed over the course of history. This makes them more mutable for players and Storytellers.

      It fits a pattern I’ve noticed in the writing. I saw something similar when Mage: the Awakening changed from 1e, where Orders were enforced by the Oracles in the Supernal Realms, to 2e, where Orders were developed by mortal mages around the time of Alexander the Great.

  6. Toroid
    September 15, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    I’m pretty on board with the backstory, but I feel like the resolution might be too broadly worded. Why would the “sacred marriages” be limited only between Lunars and Solars? If it involved “much of the Exalted Host” then wouldn’t there have been Sidereal-Solar, Solar-Solar, etc. bonds forged at that time as well? I’m not asking for mechanics for all that; I’m just pointing out that the story opens the door very wide.

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