So yesterday I started chatting with Elizabeth (dissolvegirl) about my Exalted hack and also posted about how I could use The Keywork to make a game about Coheed & Cambria’s space-fantasy emo rock operas. Somewhere in the middle there, while I was thinking about both Exalted and the burning of Star IV, I experienced revelation.
As I told Elizabeth, I’m thinking now that each of an Exalted’s First Age crimes is both a chakra and a charm tree. So, as you process your misdeeds of the past, you unlock the dark powers that enabled you to perform them, but then you have to navigate the chakra to refine your powers and absolve yourself of the crimes, so that you will not simply repeat them in the present Age of Sorrows. So an Exalt is basically an assortment of chakra that intertwine amongst themselves like divine clockwork, the handiwork of the gods that created them, and a Circle of Exalts is likewise a larger essence machine, a reflection of the proper ordering of the world, though that machine is, of course, corrupted by numerous imperfections.
All that sounds great, of course, but now I have to figure out how to make that work, which probably means creating a chakra for each charm tree (each ability, basically) or at least creating rules on how to make them and giving a bunch of examples. The great thing, though, is if we tie crimes more directly to charm trees, you’ll be able to figure out an Exalted’s past crimes by looking at the charms they developed through the process of committing them, or vice versa (picking your characters charms based on their crimes, Poison’d-style).
Additionally, I think the way that a Circle is tied together is through shared crimes. If two characters have the same charm tree, then they literally share that chakra in play. Both their tokens are placed on the same map/dial and they are forced to resolve it together. So, when you look at the table that a game of the hack is placed on, you see a bunch of interconnected chains of chakra, perhaps all connected into the ultimate destiny of the Loom of Fate, the World-Encompassing Spider Pattern.