Dreams of the Lost
I think part of the problem with Intimacies is that they don’t hold a lot of weight in Exalted. Sure the +2 to your DV is nice but that’s about all they’re good for. It’s hard to come up with a need for them which means they’re hard to write. “Figure out what’s important to your character” is a little open ended and I feel like it’s easier/more functional to derive intimacies when it has some kind of mechanical weight. So, that’s what I’d like to give them.
What Are Intimacies?
In short, Intimacies are a topic and how your character feels about that topic. While your Motivation is your defining character trait, Intimacies are things you’ve come to care about as well. You have a maximum of (Willpower + Compassion) Intimacies available at any given time but you need not have that many at all times. Example Intimacies include: The Realm (Pride), The All Seeing Eye (Loyalty), Lawbreakers (Contempt), or even Doing the Right Thing (Courageous Resolve)
Intimacies as Exceptions
One of the hardest parts about morality in Exalted is subjectivity. Ultimately the ST decides if and when your character rolls their virtues and the best you can hope for is to argue your case out-of-character if you feel your character has a certain point of view that would not warrant it. Now, we’re quantifying that mechanical benefit. Intimacies can be used to grant your character an exception to Virtues. Should a condition of an intimacy be met, that condition can exempt you from rolling a virtue when you otherwise would. Provided the intimacy makes sense and is congruent with your concept, you can save quite a bit of limit and willpower by quantifying your character’s perceptions. For example:
A Compassion 5 Dragonblooded who has the intimacy Anathema Demons (Necessary and Murderous Hatred) essentially does not see Anathema as people. This particular DB thinks of Anathema as demons, things that are not human and the people they possess are better off dead. Having this intimacy would mean that the character can be exempt from rolling their Compassion when murdering an Anathema since the character’s perception of Anathema is something other than human.
Intimacies for Virtue Conflicts
The next purpose for intimacies I’m introducing is allowing them to help your character with conflicting virtues. If your character finds him or herself in a circumstance where two virtues are relevant but can lead the character to conflicting choices, an intimacy can not only make sure the virtue you want overrides the other and maybe even prevent the roll for the virtue you ignored.
For example, say a Valor 5 and Conviction 5 Dawn caste has an intimacy of Assignments (Absolute Commitment). While on a mission, someone steps forward and challenges the Dawn caste. He finds himself in a situation where he must either roll his Valor if he turns down the challenge or roll his Conviction to give up on the assignment. Thanks to his intimacy, he is free to continue on with the mission and ignore the challenge. Moreover, this particular character probably will not have to roll and suppress his Valor thanks to his intimacy.
Now obviously this solution wont be perfect and moral grays will always exist but the idea here is to make thinking about intimacies more worthwhile and empower your character to fulfill his or her concept without the hindrance inaction and personal conflict bring. There will be situations where your character comes across a circumstance that you think they would feel a certain way about but they do not have the intimacy to back it up. This happens to people in the real world all the time when they’re forced to choose between two things that are important to them. Much like in real life, your character will have to weigh the options and make the decision. Afterwards, you can choose to build an intimacy to help with similar situations in the future if it’s something you think your character would feel strongly about.
These intimacies should be the core beliefs that make up your character so make them count. Think about what your character stands for then put it on paper.