Archived: Pressed Beyond The Veil-1R
A simplified high-fantasy setting based on the world of Exalted, Pressed Beyond The Veil takes place in the world of NERITES. The Exalted themselves are kin to the heroes of mythology, larger-than-life figures empowered by the Gods, prone to greatness... as well as unhealthy extremes of behavior.
The threats of Creation and realms beyond do not reach the continent of Nerites. Spanning fifty thousand square miles, it was isolated from the rest of existence by powerful sorcery during a dread event that wiped out the Celestial Exalted and drove their followers to the edges of existence. Mirroring the Age of Glories in many ways, it would seem that Nerites should be a perfectly-preserved jewel of the First Age.
Yet, all is not well in the land that ought to have been a safe haven and paradise. Though many conveniences (if not the greater infrastructure) of the First Age have lingered on with it, the excesses of the Exalted carried on within its borders until they destroyed themselves and eachother... but their Exaltations did not depart from their sanctuary.
Even as the Dragon-Blooded and mortals they brought with them fanned out among their lands and flourished, twenty five Celestial Exaltations continued to circulate within the developing world of Nerites...
Hello, and thank you for your interest in our theme!
Due to the limited number of Exaltations in Nerites, there can only be two of any type of Solar or Lunar, and only one of any type of Sidereal. This file is here to provide a list of those that have already been taken.
There are NO Infernals, Abyssals, or Alchemicals!
Applying for the bondmate of a played Solar or Lunar does require consultation of that player, and they are allowed to say no.
There is no limit to the number of Dragon-Blooded that may be applied for.
Collectively, the 25 Celestial Exalted are known in Nerites as the 'Twenty-Five Heavenly Monarchs.'
Silent Starfall, Night Caste
Unyielding Rampart of a Thousand Blades, Dawn Caste
Radiant Red Wing, Full Moon Caste
Tender Whisper of Gentle Twilight, No Moon Caste
Xue Baihu, Chosen of Battles
The world of Nerites never went through the devastations that destroyed Creation's Age of Dreams. It goes without saying then that many of the amenities of the First Age still linger on there in the major metropoli: The I AM network still exists in New Meru and in select manses throughout the world, giving some measure of internet-like communication and information exchange.
The capitol of each province is also host to a railway station, which is a relatively recent innovation designed to replace failing First-Age artifact transportation with an inferior, but more practically maintained method of long-distance travel. In addition to steam locomotives, the odd steam ship services the rivers and oceans of Nerites, offering a more upscale form of transportation.
Outside of New Meru, however, no standardized form of the I AM network exists, and transportation methods become substantially more primitive outside of the capitols of each province. The most advanced form of lighting in most cities is gas lamps, and transportation is much more likely to involve beasts of burden, sailing ships, and stagecoaches or wagons.
The average home or business is a building with a stone foundation and wooden structure, with simple sliding doors and clay-tiled roofs.
Weapons development in Nerites has advanced a little, culminating in the creation of something resembling modern firearms. Breech-loading matchlock rifles that come with crutch-like sticks (similar, but not identical to the firearms found in Hayao Miyazaki's 'Princess Mononoke') to steady them with are the gold standard, with mundane fire lances following closely behind them.
For Exalted nuts, weapon stats:
Speed 6, Accuracy +0, Damage 7L/7L, Rate 1, Range 175, Cost ****, Tags 2, O
Firearms inflict half their damage rating in Bashing damage to any supernatural creature, as well as mortals with an Essence score of 2 or higher.
Older hand-cannons also remain in style, but are unwieldy and difficult to use.
True industrialization has not occurred in any of the ten provinces as of yet, as the development of high technology that mortals are capable of creating or maintaining is very slow.
Additionally, the creation of new artifacts is very rare. Jade and Adamant are the only magical materials that occur naturally in Nerites, and while they seem to replenish themselves when mined there is never enough to meet the demand of both the local Exalted, and any would-be construction projects.
The Heaven of Nerites is not the same as the Celestial City in Creation. Rather than being an altogether different realm of existence, it is a co-operative effort by all the Gods of Nerites to re-create the Heavenly City that they once knew by... essentially... stapling their sanctums together.
Though still a place of wonders unimagined, Ambrosia and Nectar -- the food and building materials of the Gods -- are much more hard to come by in Heaven, there are far fewer Gods, and much to the dismay of those Gods that are present, Elementals are an essential part of keeping things running.
While the Gods and Elementals try to get along, the former Celestial Order to which they all belonged treated Elementals as lessers, producing a substantial amount of strife and tension even after a thousand years.
There are no supernaturally addicting Games of Divinity in Nerites, but a copy of the Loom of Fate -- an artifact that enforces causality and stability in Nerites -- is worked by Gods called "Pattern Spiders", as well as their half-mortal progeny.
Though it is a secret to all of Nerites save the Twenty-five Heavenly Monarchs, the Highest of the Gods -- called "Incarnae" -- are not truly who they claim to be. They operate as stand-ins for their counterparts in the world that came before Nerites, and while few even among the Twenty-Five know the truth, they have grown very powerful indeed since Nerites came into being.
The False Incarnae have yet to grow to sufficient power to truly be considered Incarnae were they to return to an intact Creation, but slowly and surely their old natures melt away and their new natures take dominance and evolve.
The Sidereal Exalted of Nerites work alongside the Celestial Bureaucracy to keep Nerites stable and secure.
As many of the things that rendered Creation unstable and difficult to manage are gone however, they have much more free time and spend a great deal more of their personal time engaged in more earthly matters in Nerites proper.
There are few laws in Nerites that are set in stone universally, but there are a few. They were laid down at the founding of the new world shortly after the flight from Creation, and are as follows:
- Nerites is to be divided into 10 Provinces.
- Of the Twenty-Five Heavenly Monarchs, each Solar-Lunar pair shall rule over a single province as they see fit.
- Of the Twenty-Five Heavenly Monarchs, the Sidereal Exalted shall act as neutral arbitrators, and are entitled to embassies or other suitable accommodation in the capitol of each province. Most cities have passed laws requiring the local City-God to accommodate visiting Viziers.
- The Twenty-Five Heavenly Monarchs are free to take concubines, but for reasons of practicality may only marry from the Exalted.
- Solar-Lunar Bondmates are considered to be engaged until such time that their union is determined to be impossible due to incompatibility or other complication.
- The Dragon-Blooded Gens are entitled to lands within their Monarch's province, and are charged with ruling in the place of their monarchs when they are inbetween incarnations.
No mandatory provisions are made for mortals, enlightened or otherwise. Though the vast majority of provinces allow mortals to be elected as officials of smaller holdings, the message to the people of Nerites is understood and accepted:
The Exalted are in charge.
Although in some regards artifacts are simply a way of living in Nerites thanks to remaining First-Age infrastructure, in others they are distressingly rare. The truth is that while Nerites has self-replenishing supplies of all variants of Jade (save for yellow) and Adamant, the other popular magical materials simply do not occur naturally. Exactly why this is, is a mystery.
In accordance with this, the vast majority of non-jade magical materials that exist is in the form of artifacts brought into Nerites by the first generation of The Twenty Five Heavenly Monarchs. These wonders are also the only examples of Artifacts rated above 3 in all of Nerites, and most of them were squirreled away by prior incarnations of the Heavenly Monarchs or placed in their tombs when they died.
This does not mean that PCs should not ever get artifacts of this strength, or of these types. However, it does mean that they probably went through ordeals to get them, OR they they found a way to acquire the materials and make them personally.
On the other hand, one powerful resource is available in great abundance: Demenses. The geomancy of Nerites seems to have been engineered to be absolutely perfect, mirroring the Blessed Isle of Creation in its entirety. Creating a manse is a complicated and time-consuming process, but there are no shortages of demenses over which to construct one.
Nerites is the setting of the Pressed Beyond The Veil, an original setting for the world of Exalted. More information on Nerites can be found spread throughout the rest of Silent Starfall's +info, but this particular file gives a general overview of the setting.
Nerites is a single continent that is divided into 10 Provinces, each of which officially belongs to a Solar-Lunar Exalted pair. While the intent is that they should rule together, it is not at all uncommon for them to decline to rule at all after a death and reincarnation.
The current IC year is N.Y. (Nerites Year) 1968.
Although overall conditions are similar to the Blessed Isle in Nerites, the overall status of a given province is up to the applicant as long as the general setting details outlined in these +info files are followed.
Note that the City of New Meru is neutral ground located in the middle of the continent. Officially, all of the Celestial Exalted are entitled to a manse there and have a say in the governings of the city. Unofficially, it is run by a myriad of Gods and Terrestrial Exalted... though they would be forced to defer to the Twenty Five Heavenly Monarchs were they to take up residence and re-form the Deliberative.
This is a list and brief explanation of how things are in a given province, including the names of their intended Celestial Rulers. Note that applicants are not expected to actually have their characters ruling if they don't want to, but they should generally at least give their province a name.
It is, essentially, their 'sandbox' within Nerites, though they should be prepared to share it to an extent.
A seaside province whose intended Heavenly Monarchs are the Night-Caste Silent Starfall, and the Full Moon-Caste Radiant Red Wing. Currently it is ruled by the Dragon-Blooded Gens which owes allegiance to the two, as neither of them are fully aware of their birthright... or inclined to seek it out.
Its rulers are not entirely unreasonable, but embrace their birthright as Princes of the Earth with unequaled zeal, and so sometimes step upon mortals under their control. The technological level of Jilin Province is modest, but it boasts exceptional naval strength and controls many of Nerites' trade routes.
Located in southern Nerites, Luanjin's intended ruler is the Dawn-Caste Unyielding Rampart of a Thousand Blades. It is currently ruled by his Lunar mate, a No Moon Sorceress of considerable power. Luanjin is called the "Province of the Sword", and its banner is a trio of golden swords crossed at the blade within two red squares. It deals primarily in the production of armaments, and is the largest exporter of military equipment in Nerites.
Because Luanjin Province is a heavily mountainous region and most of its cities are built into the sides of mountains themselves, the region is rich in ores of all kinds, and is often called a "Blacksmith's Paradise". However, it relies heavily on the import of vital supplies like food, as it has little arable land and relatively poor coastal regions. Its architecture favors Eastern Asian designs, with generous inclusion of Greco-Roman structures.
For more information, see Luanjian Province.
Sorcery is alive and well in Nerites, though in most places it is regulated to varying degrees. Most Provinces have laws against mortals learning or using sorcery without a license, and some even have laws against mortals learning or using sorcery at all.
By contrast, the Exalted, Gods, and Elementals of Nerites are allowed to do much as they please with sorcery, without telling anybody about it. A few exceptions exist, as follows:
- Celestial Exalted are expected not to use large-scale sorcery in the provinces of their fellow Heavenly Monarchs without permission to do so. Everyone understands if it is an emergency, and often beneficial effects of large scale are overlooked. But casting Total Annihilation to kill a group of bandits is considered poor form, and retribution will generally be sought.
- Demon-Summoning does not function, with sorcery or with thaumaturgy. Elemental-Summoning works as normal, save that it cannot summon elementals that stayed behind in Creation.
- Necromancy is strictly forbidden in all provinces, with the exception of a few spells that require a license. Nobody knows if a shadowland could be opened in Nerites, and nobody wants to find out. On the other hand, licensed ghost summoners are frequently used to force the restless dead into reincarnation.
Much like there was in Creation, there is a zone of 'Wyld' -- or in more simplified terms, lands of inconsistent physics and pure potential that -- that surrounds Nerites. The difference between the Wyld of Creation and the Wyld of Nerites is that there is no real persistent threat of Fair Folk invading. The wyld is partitioned off, difficult to reach... and also difficult to escape from.
The only way to enter the Wyld of Nerites is to sail out from the landmass of Nerites and to keep going. This in itself will not allow one to reach the Wyld, however. Under normal circumstances one will simply sail on for a time and loop back around to the opposite side of the Neritesian continent from where they set out in the first place.
"For certain, ye have to be lost to find a place that can't be found. Else ways, everyone would know where it was." - Hector Barbossa, Pirates of the Caribbean
In order to reach the Wyld of Nerites, which is often referred to as "Fiddler's Green" by sailors, one must set sail to a fantastic place that exists only in rumors and legend. The means to do so varies:
Some get themselves intentionally lost, others follow maps with no real basis in reality (whether the map-maker realizes it or not), and others yet follow directions with no actual sense to them ("Second star to the right, and straight on 'til morning!").
The place that they reach is the Wyld zones of Nerites. The severity of the chaos here is low, but not sufficiently so that the Fair Folk do not form and live there, and certainly not sufficiently so that the place is not always in flux.
Those who go in rarely find their way out again, and a fair few ships have disappeared completely after slipping through the cracks into unstable reality. As for those who find a way to visit at will...
They are usually consumed by the fantasies of the Wyld, becoming caricatures of themselves in the grand adventurous narrative of Fiddler's Green.