Bannor, Titan of Unyielding Resolve
A Dawn Caste from the western paradise of An-Teng, Bannor has been a brawler since he was old enough to pick up his first opponent. Known throught the Martial Arts world as a warrior of unmatched strength and sportsmanship, his valor and courage both in and out of combat have followed him from his days of temple tournaments to his Exaltation. Only the unfortunate targets of his ire have changed.
Imay be presumptuous, but I see Bannor as someone who’s been in the Martial Arts world for a long time, and prior to Exalting was some kind of fighting champion on the tournament circuit, and still has quite some level of renown for it. So until I get a bio for him, here’s what the Scroll of the Monk (p.24+) says about Reputation and Tournaments. If you decide to go with something like this for a background, pages 24-26 should give you everything you need to know to throw something together!
REPUTATION : Reputation matters a great deal in the Martial Arts World. The respect of other martial artists is one of the chief emotional rewards for mastery. If a martial artist decides to teach students, obviously she’d better have a reputation as a fighter of exceptional skill. Combat prowess is the chief source of respect in the Martial Arts World, but not the only one. Martial artists often respect good sportsmanship, selfless courage, wise use of power and other traits that most people admire. On the other hand, being known for vicious cruelty or brutality provides a degree of respect as well, or at least fear. Good or bad, a strong reputation can provide practical benefits as well. Other martial artists might hesitate to fight someone with a stronger reputation (because they either fear the consequences of losing or fear becoming unpopular for beating up someone other martial artists admire). At the Storyteller’s option, such hesitancy can provide actual benefits in combat to a character with a strong reputation. See the Appendix for an optional new Background, Face, to represent the advantage one martial artist can have over another because of her reputation.
TOURNAMENTS : Supernatural martial artists from throughout Creation flock to tournaments where they can face each other in battle. Here, they learn who really is the best. The victor’s prize might be nothing more than the crowd’s acclaim or as grand as an artifact or a fortune in jade. The audience, in turn, receives spectacular entertainment. Some tournaments are pure sporting events. The Guild sponsors tournaments because people pay to attend, either as contestants or spectators. Nobles might sponsor tournaments along with other sporting events to amuse and distract their subjects. Debauched tyrants are notorious for gladiatorial spectacles where criminals, slaves, warriors and beasts all meet their death in blood-soaked arenas. Heads of state can use a tournament to find supremely skilled and powerful warriors. The usual plan is that the tournament’s victor becomes the ruler’s chief bodyguard, the commander or trainer of his troops… or his assassin. The Guild keeps an eye on tournaments to recruit elite mercenaries with exotic fighting skills. Unlike a monarch, the Guild doesn’t need the best of the best. It settles for someone better than most likely opponents. The greatest tournaments attract the Dragon-Blooded, martially inclined gods and other supernatural martial artists. Until recently, Immaculate monks were usually guaranteed victory if they deigned to display their skills in the arena. Out in the Threshold, tournaments have erupted in uproar when competitors were revealed as Anathema. Solars, Lunars and Abyssal Exalted have left arenas in ruins… but they’ve also set audiences cheering with the most incredible displays of combat anyone has ever seen. Fear of the Anathema (and danger to spectators) struggles against people’s desire to witness a mind-staggering show.
CELEBRATED TOURNAMENTS : Any of the great cities in Creation might host a tournament now and then. A few, however, stand out from the rest. The Heaven-and-Earth Invitational is held every 25 years in Yu-Shan. The Unconquered Sun himself invites the 100 greatest martial artists in Creation to participate, whether mortal (rarely), Exalted or divine. The gods have never invited anyone from the Underworld or Malfeas. The Incarnae themselves don’t compete, and neither do the older Sidereals (though they watch the tournament closely). The prize is said to be a handshake from the Unconquered Sun, one move in the Games of Divinity and one day’s training with the Maiden of Battles—and, of course, eternal glory. Some unusual conditions must apply to the tournament, because a few un-Exalted mortals have won. The Empress sponsored the All-Creation Tournament of Dragons, held every fi ve years in the Imperial City. The Tournament of Dragons includes separate contests for armed and unarmed combatants. Although it’s an open contest, the dozens of Immaculate monks and Dynastic heroes in attendance—not to mention the Empress herself—made the tournament too risky for Anathema to attend. With the Empress gone, the next tournament might see some interesting new competitors who think they can hide their true natures. For its prize, the Tournament of Dragons offered a boon from the Empress: anything that was within her power to grant, within the limits of political prudence. Martial artists tell many stories of warriors who fought their way to victory in the Tournament of Dragons so they could ask the Empress to destroy a hated enemy, to change the rule of a nation or to force a lover’s parents to permit their honorable marriage. With the Empress gone, the last tournament’s winner received a talent of jade and a promissory note of a boon. In the Far South, the god Kokage, Master of Duels, sponsors yearly tournaments at the Flaming Arena. Despite its well-deserved name (and the oppressive heat of the surrounding desert), the arena remains constantly temperate, with abundant refreshments and victuals for spectators and combatants. Kokage’s tournaments offer prizes from Yu-Shan (minor by divine standards) and god-forged artifact weapons for the victor. The Mask of Winters has announced that he will soon host an open tournament in Thorns to celebrate the anniversary of his conquest. The prize to the victor is immortality. It remains to be seen who dares to attend.
As the light of dawn burns away the dark of night, the warriors of the Dawn Caste destroy the enemies of light. During the First Age, the members of the Dawn Caste were the generals and champions of the Realm. They carried the Unconquered Sun’s light to every darkened corner of Creation, guarded the borders of the Realm against the destructive forces of Malfeas and the Wyld and led the armies of the Realm to victory in battles that became legend. During the Usurpation, those few members of the Dawn Caste who survived the Dragon-Blooded’s initial ambush fought to the death, slaying dozens or hundreds of their enemies before they finally fell to the weight of superior numbers. Since their return, the Children of the Dawn are again gaining notice as the greatest warriors in all Creation. Unparalleled masters of every martial discipline, they fight the armies of the enemies of life as well as all who oppose the Solars’ return. A warrior of the Dawn Caste can swiftly destroy dozens of lesser foes, while a group can lay waste to entire armies. Only warriors are chosen to be members of the Dawn Caste. Yet master swordsmen comprise only one possibility. The Unconquered Sun also Exalts to the Dawn Caste brutal gang leaders, hulking gladiators, charismatic generals, swordsmiths of legendary skill, martial thaumaturges who provide combat support for armies and philosopher-monks who spend a lifetime perfecting a single martial art. The Bronze Tigers, as they are also known are most often the defenders of their circles as well as the ones who charges into battle to defeat their circles’ enemies.
Motivation: Bannor smash!
Attributes: Strength 5, Dexterity 5, Stamina 4; Charisma 2, Manipulation 3, Appearance 2; Perception 3, Intelligence 2, Wits 4
Virtues: Compassion 3, Conviction 1, Temperance 1, Valor 4
Abilities: Athletics 5, Awareness 4, Dodge 4 (Projectiles +1), Linguistics 1, Martial Arts 5 (Improvised Weapons +3, Grapple +3), Resistance 4, Ride 1, Stealth 2, Thrown 5
Essence Pool: 20/42
Health Levels: -0/-1/-1/-1/-1/-2/-2/-2/-2/-2/-2/-4/Incap
Join Battle: 8
Other Notes or Constant Effects:
- Bannor’s boots are “the most comfortable footwear” ever, always keep his feet dry and warm, allow him to march all day without getting fatigued, and he’ll never develop blisters from them. They also allow him to run faster and jump higher than normal. (See “Perfected Boots” below)
- The artifact Breastplate he wears appears to made of normal steel (the Orichalcum spikes are retractable) and can be concealed beneath a cloak.
- He can dash at almost 35 miles an hour… Usain Bolt only hit 27.78.
He’s a martial arts practitioner of “Solar Hero Style”
Core Book p. 242, Scroll of the Monk p.83
The combat forms known as the “supernatural martial arts” require intense study, discipline and training. They do not flow naturally out of the paramount spirit of the Solar Exalted, any more than ordinary martial arts come naturally to mortals flailing in bar brawls. To learn supernatural martial arts, one must understand the Essence flows of the world and harmonize oneself with them. These Charms are not specific to any Exalt type. The Solar Exalted have incredible strength of spirit and anima, but they must still learn the proper forms, katas and spiritual insights of the martial arts through dedicated experimentation or diligent study. For the other Celestial Exalted, it is no different—and any Celestial Exalt or Immaculate Dragon-Blooded can learn these Charms. Some supernatural martial arts, called the “Terrestrial” Martial Arts, are even available to mortals and ordinary Dragon-Blooded. Supernatural martial arts styles are complete. It is possible to create new styles but not to augment existing styles with new Charms.
The Charm tree beginning with Fists of Iron Technique comprises the “natural” Solar style of unarmed fighting. The form weapons for this style are the cestus, fighting gauntlet, khatar, tiger claws, pankrator’s cestus and improvised weapons. Solar Hero Style Charms treat attacks and blocks with these weapons as unarmed attacks and blocks. This includes the artifact versions of these weapons. A weapon is an “improvised” weapon if it has a maximum Accuracy of -3 and a maximum Rate of 2, such as a barstool, keg of brandy, omen hound or unattuned daiklave. For the other Exalted, this Charm tree is a Celestial Martial Arts style that emulates and imitates the power of the heroes of the dawn. Celestial Exalted and Immaculate-trained DragonBlooded can learn these Charms, but they cannot develop or learn additional Charms for this tree. For the Solar Exalted, these Charms are ordinary combat Charms—they bring the grace, speed and power of the Sun’s Chosen to bear. Solars can invent new Charms for this tree—such as Thunderclap Rush Attack and Knockout Blow, on page 190. These new Charms are treated as Solar Charms, not supernatural martial arts: Only Solar Exalted (and Moonshadow Caste Abyssal Exalted) are capable of learning them.