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I've recently read the Yu Shan book for Exalted and I was intrigued by the unemployed gods — those that lost their domain to the Wyld and have not gained any new position in the Bureaucracy. They don't seem to be statted out anywhere or really talked about all that much.

They live in the slums, may be getting their fair share of Quintessence from the common pool, but they don't get Amrosia through prayer, nor through a stipend for an office they hold.

So I wonder — how much and what kind of power do such gods have? What does the prolonged lack of a job do to them?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Which version of Exalted? This might affect the answer. \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas Jacobs Jun 7 '16 at 10:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Looks like 'The Compass of Celestial Directions, Vol. III - Yu-Shan' - second edition. Have the book, but no recollection on anything related to unemployed gods whatsoever. \$\endgroup\$ – Nox Jun 7 '16 at 13:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ThomasJacobs The question is about rather obscure piece of lore, so any version is welcome. \$\endgroup\$ – ThePiachu Jun 7 '16 at 15:28
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After doing some research, turns out that Exalted: The Sidereals book has a good amount of information on unemployment in Yu-Shan, as well as how gods are affected by their domain changing size. So, all in all:

  • Unemployed gods receive no Salary, nor are they entitled to their share of Quintessence
  • Since there are "celestial edicts that mandate that every inhabitant of Yu-Shan must contribute to the maintenance of the Celestial Order", unemployed gods should not be in Yu-Shan, and they generally leave after a decade or a century of looking for work
  • since gods are exceedingly durable beings, if a god has ever had Essence 2 or more, they will never drop below Essence 2. Gods also almost never lose or gain more than two points of permanent Essence, meaning they will always retain some of their strength
  • Essence can, however, be gained or lost through the use of Endowment or Scourge Charms, but that's usually only done on the request of Celestial Court (for exceptionally good and bad deeds)

So all in all, the unemployed gods lose some of their power, but can still be a force to be reckoned with, even if they have no place to live and should not be in Yu-Shan anymore.

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Mechanically they would probably have no specialized powers as they have no domain to draw a theme from. they might get Hurry Home, Materialize and other common god powers but without prayers they have next to no motes to use them. Prolonged lack of a job might slowly lower their Essence rating over the years and the psychological impact is harder to judge.

I would assume that if the retained any powers from their previous positions they would be loath to use them as it would probably seriously diminish their future potential and they need all the power they can manage to not be passed over when a position becomes available.

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Atop the points mentioned by ThePiachu, 3rd Edition gave us the Exigents, which are empowered by a god. This Process takes a shard of the God's essence and might burn out lesser gods when they have to take a larger part of themseves. This way several gods (like the one empowering the 'iconic' Exigent of the harvest) do cease to be. While this way to create an Exaltation is not really an option for a god without an office and purpose (unless it still has retained some aspects of their former office), there is also mentioned, that there would be something like a "black market" for Exaltations in which an exaltation can be seriously altered.

Now, why do I bring this up? It is because of the very later part: A God fallen to unemployment might come under pressure and become a criminal god dabbling in the black market. While that does not give him office and stipend, he might have contacts and influence still, kind of becoming a mobster and funding his life in Yu-Shan with that income. On the other hand, he might try to get in control of an Exigent-Exaltation and use it on some mortal in order to gain followers and cult on earth, giving him prayers and thus a domain again.

While this information surely might be useful to work out an individual unemployed god, it does hardly give any solid information.

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