The Rise of the Morning Sun
The world of Exaltedis a world of driving passions and dark emotion. Heroes leap into battle with glorious abandon, and lovers dare the very gates of death to be reunited with their beloved. Harsh kings see thousands die of warfare or starvation so that their people may survive, yet weep openly at the death of their favored concubines.
In game terms, there are four Virtues, grouped into two linked pairs. The first pair is Compassion and Conviction, and the second pair is Temperance and Valor. These Virtues represent the extremes to which the soul is capable of responding. The Virtues have ratings that range from 1 to 5, and a character can have a very high or low rating in any or all of her passions: For example, having a high Compassion does not mean the character has a low Conviction.
See Willpower to see how to channel virtues.
Disadvantages to Virtues
As was noted above, having high Virtues represents a passionate commitment. A character with a high rating in a Virtue may find himself unable to resist following his heart, even if that leads him into danger.
Mechanically, this means that a character with ratings of 3 or higher in a Virtue must roll his Virtue rating when confronted with a situation where he wishes to act contrary to the Virtue’s dictates. If the character achieves any successes on the Virtue roll, then he must either act in accordance with the dictates of the Virtue, or else spend a point of temporary Willpower to override the urges of his heart and act freely for the scene.
The Compassion Virtue measures the character’s ability to empathize with and forgive those he cares for or regards as “his people.” Although Compassion can be a painful Trait in a dark and brutal world, not having any Compassion is worse still. Compassion aids the character in helping those in need and fighting against injustice. Characters with a high Compassion are fast friends to the weak or sickly and deadly enemies of the wicked or oppressive.
• You’d sell your mother into slavery.
•• Capable of some feeling, especially for family and friends.
••• You’d succor a stranger, if need beckoned.
•••• You’d risk your life to defend a person who reviled you.
••••• Your nobility of spirit equals that of the storied heroes.
Compassion Aids in: Protecting or aiding the sick, innocent or oppressed. Fighting for justice, or attempting to bring aid to the needy. Fighting for or engaging in romantic love.
Characters Must Fail a Compassion Check to: Allow an enemy to perish miserably. Ignore the pleas of the oppressed or the impoverished. Abandon the diseased to their afflictions. Jilt or throw over a lover.
The balancing Virtue to Compassion, Conviction measures the character’s ability to withstand and (if necessary) inflict hardships and atrocities. A character’s Conviction aids him in situations where he must persevere against great adversity, take harsh measures when there is no alternative and helps him to regain temporary Willpower.
• Sniveling worm.
•• You can be hard-minded when you must.
••• You are inured to hardships and necessary evils.
•••• You could watch a village burn without flinching.
••••• You could put a nation to the sword, if there was need.
Conviction Aids in: Withstanding hardship, disease and oppression. Exercising command and leadership in times of hardship or woe. Fighting in hopeless situations or against the odds. Regaining Willpower.
Characters Must Fail a Conviction Check to: Abandon a cause they have committed themselves to. Give up in the face of hardship or disease. Abandon their companions in times of need.
The Temperance Virtue is what spells the difference between wise men (or women) and fools. Characters with high Temperance act with iron self-control and keep their cool despite extraordinary provocation. Temperance helps a character resist taunting, seduction and even magical attempts to affect her emotions.
•• You bite your tongue around the provincial tax collector.
••• Villagers ask you to arbitrate disputes.
•••• You could resist the advances of an imperial concubine.
••••• A living saint, you see the world and are unswayed.
Temperance Aids in: Withstanding temptation, taunting and other forms of baiting. Keeping your tongue
when intoxicated. Fighting the effects of befuddlement, illusions, drugs, poisons and mind control.
Characters Must Fail a Temperance Check to: Act dishonestly or show bias in a matter of importance. Over-indulge themselves. Throw themselves into a situation without deliberation. Break oaths or abuse trusts.
The Valor Virtue is a measure of a character’s courage and resolve in the face of danger. Valor helps characters resist fear and horror, whether from a magical spell, a monstrous creature or simple intimidation. Valor also helps characters who are fighting in battle, particularly against terrible odds.
• Puling coward.
•• You’ll stand your ground if insulted.
••• You can march against the barbarians without showing fear.
•••• You can march against the dead without showing fear.
••••• You’d face down one of the Five Dragons if you had to.
Valor Aids in: Heroism in battle and single combat. Withstanding magical fear and horror. Feats of daring, physical or otherwise.
Characters Must Fail a Valor Check to:Turn down a duel of honor or a call to single combat. Flee a battle. Swallow an insult without seeking retribution. Turn down a dare or challenge.