The savage, warlike Lunar Exalted are the champions of Luna. The Lunars were once the mates of the Solar Exalted, as well as their bodyguards and commanders of their armies. The Lunar Exalts either fled to the hinterlands of the Threshold after the murder of the Solars or died alongside their mates in futile battle. Today, the majority of these shapeshifting warriors set themselves against the hated Realm, champions of the barbarians the Scarlet Dynasty despises, working towards the day they can finally bring it down.
Rules for creating and playing as Lunar characters are presented in Exalted: The Lunars for Exalted First Edition and Manual of Exalted Power: Lunars for Exalted Second Edition, and will be presented in Lunars: Fangs at the Gate for Exalted Third Edition.
In the First Age of Man, the Lunar Exalted were the counterparts of the Solars, capable of being ferocious and terrible while by and large the Solars were free to be shining and beautiful god-kings. Often, whether by personal attraction or political alliance, the two wed, and even today the Lunars remember their time as spouses of the Solar Exalted. These memories are sometimes fond and sometimes terrible, but the result is the same on at least one level: the Lunar Exalted rarely react with ambivalence to the reincarnation of their First Age spouses.
It is implied that there was a certain amount of complicity from the Children of Luna. Whether this is fleeing rather than protecting their spouses, deliberate ignorance, outright conspiracy, or a case-by-case mix of the three is not fully detailed, and perhaps best left to the imagination of individual Storytellers. A great number of the Lunars survived by fleeing to the edges of Creation.
At the edges, the Lunars were forced to change themselves on a more thorough level than had been accomplished before—the Wyld loosened their minds and their shapechanging abilities, until many completely succumbed and became Chimera, mad and protean things that could only be killed, their spark of Exaltation passed on to a new host.
The protean nature of the Lunars was apparently always at the forefront: even in the First Age, they needed to earn their caste, being Casteless up to that point. Overexposure to the Wyld, however, could and did wear this away, and it was only as the whole matter seemed lost that certain No Moons discovered a solution.
Rituals that involved scarification and tattooing with Moonsilver were devised to maintain their shapes, sanity, and castes, though at a certain cost. No force save the Lunar's own charms (not even Sorcery enacted by the Lunar him or herself) can change the lunar's form at all. Also, three of the castes of the Lunars were lost: The Waxing Moons, Waning Moons, and Half Moons were combined into a single caste that took a little from the social prowess of all three: the Changing Moons. Comparatively, the warrior Full Moons and sagacious No Moons are relatively unchanged. Thus, unlike all other Exalt types, the Lunar Exalted are today divided into three castes instead of five.
A few Lunars from the First Age still survive—the Usurpation was to wipe out the Solar Exalted and their children. Leviathan, Tammuz, Raksi, Lilith, and Ma-Ha-Suchi are each given some level of detail in the course of this book (although the last two had already appeared as early as the original Exalted Rulebook).
There are new Lunars, of course—unlike the Solars whose Essences were locked in the Jade Prison, the Lunars have been free to reincarnate again and again, despite the Wyld Hunt going after them as often as it can: the barbarian raids often attack satrapies and other tributaries of the Realm, and thus put a dent in the coffers of the Dynasty.
While a Lunar may add to her library of forms freely, consuming the Heart's Blood of animals and people she slays to take their form later, expenditure of Essence can force her to revert to her true forms: Her human shape, the form of her totem animal, or a bestial humanoid hybrid. The two nonhuman forms come from charms: Finding the Spirit's Shape is possessed by almost all Lunars, and is the prerequisite to Deadly Beastman Transformation, granting the final "True Form." Other charms allow for freely changing details about these true forms, from hair and eye color to sex.
In addition to the moonsilver tattoos (which can be covered up with yet another charm, barring minimal Essence expenditure), a Lunar may be identified by their Tell, a trait that remains constant through all their forms and may be used to identify them.
Also well-detailed in the Lunar hardcover is a tribal network called the Silver Pact, a Lunar meritocracy that upholds the virtues of Cunning, Glory, Succor, and Mettle. Not all Lunars are a part of this society—or even barbarians. Luna values the tenacity to survive and overcome adversity more than anything else, and many exist in the cities.
- Full Moon: Fighters and War-machines among the Lunars.
- Changing Moon, a merging of three older castes: Waxing Moon, Half Moon, and Waning Moon
- No Moon
Lunars are aligned to the metal Moonsilver, that can be shaped as the wielder wishes.
There are 300 Lunar Exalted in Creation. Some of them became Chimeras, Lunars that become a Wyld tainted-creature after a shapeshifting experience without a Lunar tattoo; others are in the Silver Pact, a loose order consisting of several factions of Lunars based around different ideologies. The factions are the Sword of Luna, an order that thrusts it self into defending creation from threats beyond it's borders, some times enlisting the assistance of the Solars, though this is mainly for the sake of efficiency. The Crossroads Society, a group of scholars, craftsmen and masters of the arcane. The Wardens of Gaia, a group of protectors of the natural world, which is unfortunately plagued with many extremists. The Winding Path, the largest faction, dedicated to using cunning and political wheeling and dealing to build societies. And finally, the Seneschals of the Sun, an order which stays loyal to the Solars.
- Unlike most Exalted fatsplats, Lunars' charm prerequisites are based on Attribute ratings rather than on Abilities. Given that the Lunar Exalted's 3-caste system aligns well with the tripartite attribute spread, much like the other Exalts' 5-caste system meshes with the 5x5 ability spread, it has been posited by fans that to First Age Lunars, this may not have always been the case - a thorough warping of all the Essences of Lunars, not just the three combined into the Changing Moons.
- The Lunar experience point costs are often sharply debated in some parts of the player community. Deadly Beastman Transformation is generally cited as a justification for some of the most expensive charms in the game: while die-adder charms for other Exalted are limited to a given total, DBT adds dice to attributes that not only do not count against this limit, but in fact add to the total number of dice that can be added using such a charm.
- Lunars often have success charms along with or in place of die-adder charms, converting dice to successes without rolling them.
- Unlike other Exalts, Lunars run a risk of limit breaking regularly not owing to their actions or presence at certain emotionally-inciting events (though such things can contribute), but owing to the phase of the moon: when their patron goddess Luna is full in the sky, they may begin to accumulate limit automatically, or even spontaneously break.
- Beastmen are often in the company of to Lunars; when a Lunar copulates with a human or animal, while himself in the opposite form, the result is a hybrid creature. Such things were apparently part of Old Realm society, but these days exist primarily as barbarians, often under the sway of their Lunar ancestor. Such creatures are often God-Blooded Half-Castes as well, if their Exalted Parent was Essence 4 or higher.
- Lunar Exalts may learn and create Celestial Circle Sorcery freely, and Celestial Martial Arts as well. Any artifacts that would allow one to practice Solar Circle Sorcery are rare to the point of being unheard of, and there is no known way for one to learn Sidereal Martial Arts.
The Lunars, perhaps, hearken most back to the original "Before there was a World of Darkness" tagline for Exalted. While Hunter: The Reckoning was the first to bring up the game and its modern-day correlations, with the title characters being lesser things than the Solars once were, the Children of Luna have the clearest ties, in many ways. Natural shapeshifters with an animalistic bent, often warlike and eschewing civilization, tied to the moon and prone to fits of unwanted and occasionally destructive animalistic behavior, the Lunar Exalted correspond on many levels to the Garou and other Fera of Werewolf: The Apocalypse.