I’m changing up my format a bit as it seems I’m not going to be able to share many of the final paintings from this challenge in these compilations! I’m going to stick to sharing sketches and then once all of my final paintings are done based on my favorite picks from the sketches, I’ll share those in their own collection along with their story snippets.
For now, enjoy my explorations with a bit of commentary for Exalted newbies!
Favorite God – The Plentimon of Dice
Exalted has many gods, all which represent various abstract concepts in Creation who gain power from how many worshippers acknowledge and make offerings to them. Creation is full of offerings a-plenty for the Plentimon of the Dice! He is the God of Gambling and one of the most present and active gods in Creation. This god gets a thrill from watching games of chance unfold and the excitement of high stakes. He’s always circulating Creation, visiting every casino either in his full splendor or a mortal disguise. Those who gamble to him and lose without repaying their debts meet mysterious unexplained deaths.
The Plentimon shows up often in The Uncrucified, as Kalara’s hometown of Gem hosts one of the most magnificent subterranean gambling parlors built with such finery as to please the gods themselves. Games of chance are part of the culture of Gem. One day, a pauper might be a prince. Fortunes are always turning, something Kalara has experienced firsthand as her contract was lost several times in a game of chance, usually during Plentimon’s festival day.
I’ve chosen to depict the Plentimon with a half-mask representing Good and Bad fortune with jewelry and adornments made from various game pieces and jade obols. Perhaps they are the good luck charms from those who have lost to him?
First Age Incarnation
In centuries past, there was such an age of splendor where the chosen of the Gods, the Exalted, ruled with a firm and magnificent hand. These demigods among men stood above Creation stabilizing it during a time when mortals and gods alike had finally freed the world from the tyranny of the ancient Primordial gods who once ruled Creation, much like the Titans of Greek mythology. However, their hubris and their extreme virtues turned against them with the Great Curse hidden in their souls by the vengeful defeated Primordials would be the downfall of the Solars of the First Age.
Each spark of Exaltation resides in a Shard which is passed down from one worthy vessel to another. This gent here is Calym Lang, the Solar and Righteous Devil practitioner whose shard Kalara would eventually inherit. Calym was a shrewd and paranoid master of trade whose cold pragmatism would be his downfall. Kalara is more like him than she would like to admit at times and the two maintain a begrudging respect towards one another. She often communicates with his greater soul in the underworld, the two poking fun at each other’s flaws in a good-natured competition to see who will achieve their goals through more effective ends.
He’s also ghostwritten a series of erotica novels that Kalara is a fan of, but will never tell him.
Calym’s mural venerates his status as one who united the four corners of Creation, all trade routes leading to the compass in his hand. I imagine this to be the centerpiece of a wider mural, each region of the mural depicting the exports of the area they represent (an image our Storyteller described once that never left my mind).
Age of Sorrows Incarnation
When the Exalted of the First Age fell, the Age of Sorrows began, but a glimmer of hope stands on the horizon. The Shards of the Exalted have begun to appear again, imbuing heroes like Kalara with the power to change the face of Creation.
Like Calym, I’ve depicted her in a mural style with some key differences. While Calym’s focuses on veneration from his worshippers, Kalara stands among people who rise up in revolution carrying tools of their trade, as she spends much of her power in Creation empowering escaped slaves like herself with trade skills, creating fair economy through her organization, the Pristine Guild. She struggles between the Gun and the Quill, violence and diplomacy. By the end of her time in Creation, she will have learned to balance both.
She and Calym share the phoenix as a personal symbol, though they oppose each other in gold and silver.
Incarnations Back to Back
While Calym’s time is over, the two remain inextricably bound. The Shard granted to Kalara has also passed on some of his memories and knowledge. She strives to learn from the mistakes Calym made and the emotionless spirit construct of himself he has left behind to tutor her. Should she ever prove unworthy, Calym has made his intentions known that he will destroy her so that a more worthy successor might come along more quickly.
This week’s collection was packed with a lot of fun ideas! While I won’t be able to paint a finished polished piece for every idea here, I want to pick a few out of the bunch to bring to final! I’d like to finish up the Back to Back thumbnail with Kalara and Calym with their weapons drawn and the smarmy Plentimon of Dice with his dice cup and floating cards. The temple mural pieces are also calling to my muse!
Which ones would you guys want to see finished up? Always curious to know what calls to you!