The Circle Unbroken

By divinecoffeebingedivinecoffeebinge

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The Stories

I would just love to be able to recount the entirety of The Circle Unbroken's campaign. Sadly, my memory isn't that good; it was a three-year campaign. But the highlights? Oh, I've got some highlights. This was First Edition Exalted, BTW; the campaign started approximately two weeks after the core book hit the shelves.

The Tyrant Lizard Hunt

The two Twilight Caste Solars were building some artifacts; the circle was taking some downtime in the fortress-city they'd reclaimed, which had once been theirs in the First Age. And one of the components they were looking for were teeth from a tyrant lizard. Several other PCs promptly said "sure, we'll go and get some. It'll give us something to do." So they loaded up their flying ship and headed out.

yes - flying ship. This was ~1 1/3rd years into the campaign, and the PCs were at a pretty respectable XP level; as well, my working hypothesis for running games of Exalted is that PCs cannot be too powerful, because they're Exalted, after all, so I handed out Artifacts like candy. The rationale, of course, was that the more Artifacts the PCs had, the more powerful they got, the bigger and nastier their opponents would be as well…

So the Zenith, the Night, and the Dawn load up the ship. The Zenith, who's playing a very 'leader of men' type, decides to take along ten Extras who recently began following the PCs (and started receiving Tiger Warrior Training a week earlier). "It'll be good combat experience for them," he said. "You know, watching us."

Now, it was getting late and I was trying to run this encounter as well as go over more planned/theorized artifacts for the Twilights to build (using, sadly, some really broken creation rules; letting these things get built was a mistake for about three months until I just said 'screw it' and started giving important antagonists several hundred extra XPs), and also my girlfriend was visiting and watching the game, and so I sat the players down and said:

"Okay, look. There's some hunting involved, here. You have to trek through the jungle. Et cetera. And I could go and detail every single step. But y'know what? Screw that. You're Solar Exalted. It's not like you'll fail. Stomp-stomp-stomp-RAWR, look, it's a Tyrant Lizard. Get your dice."

So, naturally, they make short work of the not-a-T-Rex-honest, and are harvesting the requested bodyparts for their Twilight brethren, and I'm thinking, 'Man, that was too easy. Hmm.' So:

"As you're removing the beast's teeth, you hear a crashing in the forest, and a blood-curdling roar as three more Tyrant Lizards burst into the small clearing. Everyone roll Valor, by the way."

The Solars all made their Valor check. Half of the Extras did not, and were frozen stock-still.

"Screw this," said the Zenith, "we have what we came for. Let's get out of here." And they hightailed it back to the ship and took off, and while they were preparing to leave I said quietly to the Zenith that I'd like him to make a Wits+Leadership roll. Which he made.

"Remember those guys that failed their Valor check?" I asked him quietly.

Did I mention that the Zenith had a Compassion of 5, by the way? His face fell - I'd never really understood that phrase until that day.

They turned around and slew the attackers, but were unable to save three of the Extras. The Zenith was crushed, especially when returning back home and learning that two of the dead had families. The small child asking the mythical God-King where her Daddy was absolutely devastated the poor S.O.B.

I did a lot of nasty things to the PCs in that game, but I think that was the one thing he never really forgave me for.

(More to come - I've got plenty more stories from this crew… just not the time to type 'em all out just now!)

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