In Which Lady Blackbird is Converted for Exalted, Courtesy of Delacroix. Game run by Sovem.
The Primordial War
The gods of MOUNT MERU chafe under the labor the PRIMORDIALS--the architects of Creation--have placed them under. Bonded with powerful geas to not attack their creators, the gods have found a way, through the help of rebel Primordials GAIA and AUTOCHTHON, to exalt the humblest and least powerful of the Primordials' creations, HUMANS, into an awesome fighting force called the EXALTED UPRISING! Even now, the Exalted train in hidden fortresses, learning powerful titan-killing Charms and preparing their strategies.
But! The two-timing traitor god NOX has had a change of heart, fearing the Primordials' power. He rides the vitriolic dragon, HYDRA, hoping to reach YU SHAN without passing through the Celestial Gates. If he reaches the fantastic GAMES OF DIVINITY before the Uprising can stop him, he will destroy the Exalted's element of surprise, and perhaps doom the rebellion before it starts!
Autochthon prepares one of his sub-souls, the SHRIKE, for pursuit. Will the Exalted be able to stop Nox in time? Will they be able to keep their existence hidden in the process? And, even if they accomplish these goals, does the Exalted Uprising stand a chance against the creators of the COSMOS?
Tags and Traits
Character creation is as per the Lady Blackbird companion. Four traits, 16 tags, three keys, two secrets.
In addition, every player gets a free trait (X Caste Exalted) and four tags that they can apply to that describing their Exaltation and related skills or assets. This trait and the tags attached to it are a measure of that character's place in Exalted society and what that place allows them to do. "Friends in high places" is a tag that might get you access to the ear of the Deliberative, while "Hierophant's secret weapon" might make such public appeals impossible, but offer another avenue for those less democratically-minded...
Dice pools, Keys, Essence, and Limit Break
Every player starts with a full Essence pool, holding the maximum of 7 motes. Spending 1 mote of Essence enables you to add one automatic success (not die) to any roll. You can spend as many motes as you want for any roll. Motes are replenished by a scene of rest/restoration (replenishes full pool) or respiration through hitting Keys. Every time you hit a Key, you may respire 1 mote. If your pool is full, you automatically add one automatic success to whatever action you used to hit your Key. I use this to model "the Exalted never fail at mundane tasks that matter to them".
Keys no longer have buy-off points. Instead, they generate Limit. Every time you are placed in a situation that would have allowed you to buy off your Key that does not allow you to hit another Key, you gain 1 Limit. You never generate Limit by adhering to your principles: as long as you can hit any of your Keys, you never gain Limit. When Keys conflict (Key of the Loyal Servant vs Key of the People's Champion, when a Solar commands you to massacre the mortal peons of his rival), you do not gain Limit but neither do you gain Essence.
Limit can be removed in two ways: a scene of restoration (you may remove one point of Limit, or fully restore your Essence pool), or by Limit Breaking. Whenever a character has less Essence than Limit, she immediately enters a state known as Limit Break, which lasts for a scene in combat or a day out of it. In this state, she must hit a Key with any action, although she may choose which. If the Key of the Courtesan is not appropriate in combat, she may choose to hit the Key of the Hidden Blade instead. If ever put in a situation where Keys conflict, she turns catatonic (or hysterical, or whatever) and can take no meaningful actions until an alternative course of action reveals itself. Does this mean that an Exalt with their back to the wall and low on resources is more likely to Limit Break? Yes. The Ebon Dragon is pleased.
When Limit Break abates, the character has their Limit set to zero and fully replenishes their mote pool.
Charms and Sorcery
Using a Charm requires no Essence use (crazy, I know!). Instead, you roll all applicable dice against a difficulty equal to the Charm's Essence requirement. If you succeed, the Charm activates. If you fail, nothing happens...well, nothing useful anyway.
Sorcery is not invented yet. But if it were, it would only be a means of describing your world-shaking actions. If you choose to have a Trait or Tag involving sorcery, you may invoke those tags on any action described in a sorcerous manner.
Instead of XP they are fuelled by Essence. Using the active form of any Secret deactivates its passive benefits for the duration of one scene.
Every Exalt gets one free Secret that represents their anima banner. The specific mechanics of these effects are listed here.
Doesn't exist, because some people will hit Keys more often than others and it doesn't seem good to let them advance faster. Everyone advances at set intervals.