How an Exalt with Excellencies Seems to a Mortal

Imagine the greatest speech, the most powerful moving piece of persuasion you can remember from human history. Maybe it’s Dr/ King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ or JFK ‘Ask not what your country can do for you’ or Lincoln’s ‘Four Score and Seven Years’ or the Nuremberg rallies or whatever.

Now imagine someone who gives that speech, every time, all the time. Or one equivalent to it. Without fail.

In a way, you have to picture Hollywood or stage plays again. Go listen to a Joss Whedon or Tarantino movie, or watch some Shakespeare or Mamet or an Aaron Sorkin show. Listen to all that snappy dialogue delivered with perfect timing by trained actors. Then compare it to real life.

Listen to actual real life speeches or dialogue sometime. Hear all those ums and ahs and pauses and hmms and people struggling to find the right word? The fact is that people in the real world aren’t very good at talking in a compelling way. It takes the actors in movies and plays months of preparation and rehearsal, and often multiple takes and retakes to get that snappy banter and compelling speech just right. Then you add in a bunch of other stuff; stirring emotional music, expert sound mixing so that you hear exactly what you are supposed to hear, perfect camera angles, body posture done just so.

Then you have to realize that Exalts are like this all the time. At least, the ones with any investment in social skills are. Their casual interpersonal conversations are as witty, well timed and interesting as the best written plays and shows you have ever seen. They are entertaining and compelling, they draw your attention in the same way your favorite piece of entertainment does. And if they decide to bust out the mojo for a major set-piece they are delivering the World’s Greatest Speech every. Single. Time.

Compare it to action heroics. An Exalt who limits himself to just Excellencies is going to basically be John McClane or Rambo. They’re not going to seem like they’re throwing around obviously magical superpowers. What they are going to do is just be insanely, overwhelmingly consistently excellent at their job. In the real world a person firing an assault rifle on full-auto from the hip will be lucky to hit anything more than five meters in front of them. An Exalt has one in each hand and rakes it back and forth, killing entire squads of enemies like a lawnmower. Each individual shot is not anything spectacular in and of itself. A person could shoot another person. The trick is that the Exalt is getting every one of them.

He’s the swordsman from the Kurosawa film, walking through a gang of a dozen enemies and in six neat moves killing every one of them. If you saw it in real life you’d call bullshit but it’s theoretically possible.

The same principle that applies to this level of physical excellence applies to their social and mental excellence. They consistently and routinely perform at the level of Hollywood perfect people. An Exalt with nothing but Excellencies is Hannibal Lector/Sherlock Holmes/Bruce Lee, outsmarting and outtalking and outfighting everyone who meets them with contemptuous ease.

And then they get into post-Excellency magic and they leave ‘Hollywood action hero’ in the dust and ascend into full on mythological/anime superhero bullshit.

All content unless stated otherwise is ©2021 Chris McNeil. He can be contacted here. The banner picture is courtesy of Jason Heavensrun. You can find more of his stuff at Checkmate Studios.