Let me sing you a song, of a world not warped,
Twisted into a tiny marble, hurtling through the void,
Wandering through the darkness, cold and alone.
Let me sing you a song, of a world level and without end,
Stretching into chaos on all sides,
Into wonder above and horrors below.
Trapped between a chaos that would extinguish,
A void that would consume,
The very Makers who would enslave,
And other forces, dark and terrible.
Against these horrors stand a thin veil,
A few whom have been Chosen,
For though their task is impossible,
They may be enough,
For they are the Exalted.
And here I humbly invite you,
To take your rightful place as a Chosen,
So that as I sing my song to you.
That you may sing me that saves the world.
Or sing me the song that dooms it.
If you are not familiar with Exalted - or even if you are familiar with it, allow me to present this snippet from Hávamál
Those songs I know, which nor sons of men
nor queen in a king's court knows;
the first is Help which will bring thee help
in all woes and in sorrow and strife.
A second I know, which the son of men
must sing, who would heal the sick.
A third I know: if sore need should come
of a spell to stay my foes;
when I sing that song, which shall blunt their swords,
nor their weapons nor staves can wound.
A fourth I know: if men make fast
in chains the joints of my limbs,
when I sing that song which shall set me free,
spring the fetters from hands and feet.
A fifth I know: when I see, by foes shot,
speeding a shaft through the host,
flies it never so strongly I still can stay it,
if I get but a glimpse of its flight.
A sixth I know: when some thane would harm me
in runes on a moist tree's root,
on his head alone shall light the ills
of the curse that he called upon mine.
A seventh I know: if I see a hall
high o'er the bench-mates blazing,
flame it ne'er so fiercely I still can save it, --
I know how to sing that song.
An eighth I know: which all can sing
for their weal if they learn it well;
where hate shall wax 'mid the warrior sons,
I can calm it soon with that song.
A ninth I know: when need befalls me
to save my vessel afloat,
I hush the wind on the stormy wave,
and soothe all the sea to rest.
A tenth I know: when at night the witches
ride and sport in the air,
such spells I weave that they wander home
out of skins and wits bewildered.
An eleventh I know: if haply I lead
my old comrades out to war,
I sing 'neath the shields, and they fare forth mightily
safe into battle,
safe out of battle,
and safe return from the strife.
A twelfth I know: if I see in a tree
a corpse from a halter hanging,
such spells I write, and paint in runes,
that the being descends and speaks.
A thirteenth I know: if the new-born son
of a warrior I sprinkle with water,
that youth will not fail when he fares to war,
never slain shall he bow before sword.
A fourteenth I know: if I needs must number
the Powers to the people of men,
I know all the nature of gods and of elves
which none can know untaught.
A fifteenth I know, which Folk-stirrer sang,
the dwarf, at the gates of Dawn;
he sang strength to the gods, and skill to the elves,
and wisdom to Odin who utters.
A sixteenth I know: when all sweetness and love
I would win from some artful wench,
her heart I turn, and the whole mind change
of that fair-armed lady I love.
A seventeenth I know: so that e'en the shy maiden
is slow to shun my love.
These songs, Stray-Singer, which man's son knows not,
long shalt thou lack in life,
though thy weal if thou win'st them, thy boon if thou obey'st them
thy good if haply thou gain'st them.
An eighteenth I know: which I ne'er shall tell
to maiden or wife of man
save alone to my sister, or haply to her
who folds me fast in her arms;
most safe are secrets known to but one-
the songs are sung to an end.
Now the sayings of the High One are uttered in the hall
for the weal of men, for the woe of Jötuns,
Hail, thou who hast spoken! Hail, thou that knowest!
Hail, ye that have hearkened! Use, thou who hast learned!
You may wish to search for Neil Gaiman's American Gods
for a more meaningful translation - charms instead of songs, as Exalted uses.
Of Exalted's setting, story, and potential, I absolutely adore it. The rules, however, leave an immense quantity to be desired.
I am hoping to run something, with these twin songs - the twin which I will post later - a bit in between the extremes of having no rules and of having many. In fact, I plan to have very little in the way of system.
The first rule
is that you may only play one major character, in either song. So you may sing the song that saves the world, or the song that dooms it, but not both.The second rule
is that, if you going to play a major character, I would hope that you have enough commitment to be able to make a graceful in-character exit during your leaves of absence.The third rule
is that all who play must have an instant messenger, and be willing to share with all others who play. I would much prefer to see dialogues posted from a chat than to have them waiting.The fourth rule
is that there are going to be many minor characters, of my creation and yours. I expect you to be able to handle these within their realms and to do so appropriately to them. You will for the most part play your own minor characters, but may hand them off as needed.The fifth rule
is that all players must add to the background. This includes 'background characters' or 'extras'. If you wish in a city scene to end up planting your face into a random woman's bosom, and to determine her reaction, so be it.The sixth rule
is that knowledge between characters and players must remain separate. Violating this is called metagaming - either by telling the other Song what is going on, or by applying knowledge of Exalted's setting that your character does not know.The seventh rule
is that, within reason, limits set by players for their major and minor characters should be respected. Limits for minor characters are by necessity going to be lesser than major.The eighth rule
is that characters will
perish. Two songs oppose each other, and as the chorus reaches its climax, notes will be lost routinely, and near the end, an entire chord may vanish for good. I expect all players to be prepared for this. I will be asking everyone who wishes to play one major character to have a minor character of theirs to assume that mantle.The ninth and final rule
is that those who are familiar with Exalted's setting assist those who are not in learning it.
This is going to be Creation-spanning - and shaking. I wish to include every element of Exalted in these songs. This means that I hope to have a few people who can familiarize others with alternate aspects of the setting.
I am not going to set a hard limit on the number of major players, but I can only handle a few. I hope that you will be able to take the initiative to handle a considerable amount on your own. People wishing to create minor characters may come and go so long as they suitably hand their characters off.
I do not have any set limits for what the game may end up including. I will be sure to label descriptions of torture and so on - not necessarily of player characters - accordingly. Major characters are not going to be forced into so much as a bondage situation without their consent to the matter - they are powerful and will truly shake their realms. If someone wishes to place limits on what happens to a minor character, they must be clear about these things up front, and I will veto anything that would let them be effectively 'major'.
If there is interest, I shall post the mechanics I wish to use for this; they are not terribly complex. They are quite loose, however, and will require that you improvise a fair deal about your own capabilities, while keeping in mind the limits that they impose.
Thank you for your interest.