The First Age passed away long ago. The power of the Realm is failing. The barbarians on the borders of Creation grow bolder by the day. The power of the Fair Folk is rising. The gods of the Celestial Bureaucracy fall deeper into their decadence. The armies of the Deathlords swell. The inhabitants of Malfeas plot their revenge.

While the light of the world fades, the ancient champions of the gods pursue their own goals. The reborn Solars seek to restore the world to an ancient age of wonder where they ruled as god-kings. The Dragon-Blooded quietly squabble over control of the Realm while the glorious and prosperous centuries of the Scarlet Empress's reign rapidly dwindle into nostalgic memory. The Lunars face their reincarnated spouses on the battlefield more often than in the palace. The Sidereals' plans to preserve humanity are rapidly spinning out of their control.

The prophecy of the Sidereal near the end of the First Age has come true. The world is lessened, but it continues. The influence of the Exalted - the chosen of the gods - is gradually fading, or so it seems to all but the most idealistic, sheltered, or deluded among mortals. While the Exalted fight each other or pursue their personal interests, mortals are usually left to fend for themselves against Wyld barbarians, Fair Folk, hostile spirits, and all the other daily terrors of the world. In this faded remnant of the past, hope emerges from the most unexpected quarter.

Into this Age of Sorrows are thrust the players' characters. They are not Exalted. The blood of gods does not flow through their veins. They are not the servants of the Celestial Bureaucracy. They are the soldiers and the scholars of the Second Age. They are the men and women who cling stubbornly to the present and fight desperately to lead humanity into the future. They are mortal heroes, and never has the world had such great need for them.

How will these little heroes walk among the giants that are the Exalted without being stepped on? How can they hope to be victorious over enemies whose individual strength greatly outstrips their own? Will they limit themselves to defending a small corner of the world, or will they seek greater influence and risk the wrath of powerful enemies? Will they ally themselves with the powerful as servants or retain their independence? Will they fight for the dignity of the common man or become despots over them? Will they stir up rebellions or establish centers of learning?

Mortal heroes have nothing to guide their actions but necessity, a craving for adventure, or a desire to make a difference in the world around them. They are not born great or proclaimed great by a god. They must forge their own destinies from the blood, sweat, and tears shed in the pursuit of their ideals. They must have courage enough to stand and fight when they have hope of victory and humility enough to retreat when they do not. They must learn how to even the odds against superior opponents like the Fair Folk, Exalted, and Spirits. They must walk the narrow line of being successful without seeming a threat to those of greater power. They must learn to work together with those who share their ideals, for it is all but impossible for a mortal hero to change the world alone. For those who refuse to keep their heads down and till the soil, the road is littered with thorns, but even a mortal hero may earn a place in the songs and tales of his people. What legends will they tell of your deeds?

How to Use This Guide

This guide contains everything you need to run a game focusing on mortal heroes or to include very detailed mortals in another Exalted game. In structure, it is similar to the main Exalted rulebook, except there are no Setting or Systems chapters. The contents are as follows:


Most of the terminology in this guide was introduced in the Exalted book, Dragon-Blooded, or one of the other hardcover guides dealing with a broad category of the Exalted. The following are either altered from those lexicons to reflect the mortal point of view or specialized vocabulary relevant to mortal heroes.