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The Great Curse is a curse leveled by the Primordials on the Exalted as they died. The Curse was elaborate and vast, but its core was that the Exalted would forever be cursed with the hate, immoderation and treachery they'd shown in the Primordials' murder. The Great Curse has dogged all the Exalted since that day, but it settled most squarely on the shoulders of the Solar Exalted. Ever since, the Solars have been subject to terrible melancholy and violent emotional outbursts. The Curse is not common knowledge, with relatively few parties (notably Lytek, God of Exaltation and the Maiden of Secrets) aware of it.

The curse affects each type of Exalted differently. For Solars and Lunars a specific aberrant personality trait (such as deliberate cruelty) will rise to the fore after specific actions. Narratively, this becomes more extreme and violent the longer an Exalt lives. The curse is less powerful for the Dragon-Blooded who, while still subject to it, can control the effects. Sidereal Exalted deal with their curse in a largely narrative fashion: they are prone to overweening hubris, such as organizing the slaughter of the Solar Exalted and ruling Creation from the Shadows.

Abyssal Exalted are subject to an alternate curse, the Abyssal Curse of Resonance, which means that they will cause pain and misery to those around them regardless of how much they would like not to. In the highly unlikely case that the Abyssal is redeemed and his Exaltation cleansed and freed from its Monstrance, the restored Solar will be completely and permanently cured of the Great Curse, and all those who bear the purified Exaltation after his/her death will be free of it. Forever.

Alchemical Exalted are not subject to the Great Curse, as they did not participate in the Primordial War.

The Great Curse is intended to emulate the actions of classical heroes such as Hercules, who slew his wife and children in a fit of madness.