Paths refer to the supernatural roads of spirituality that grant Dragon Kings their unique Essence-based powers, similar to the Charms of the Exalted and represent philosophical experience and enlightenment. Each Path of Draconic Enlightenment has six Steps, which are the functional Charm-like powers of the Dragon Kings, each of which must be mastered before the Dragon King can progress further along the Path.
The Ten Paths of Prehuman Mastery
Each one related to one of the five elements of Creation—being air, earth, fire, water and wood—the Ten Paths of Prehuman Mastery reflect not only the ways of elemental enlightenment that bring the Dragon Kings closer toward the glory of the Unconquered Sun, but also the truth of the celestial order.
The Ten Paths are as follows:
- The Celestial Air Path
- The Clear Air Path
- The Solid Earth Path
- The Yielding Earth Path
- The Blazing Fire Path
- The Flickering Fire Path
- The Flowing Water Path
- The Shimmering Water Path
- The Growing Wood Path
- The Shaping Wood Path
The Dark Paths
These paths relate to the elements of the Underworld, being ash, blood, bone, pyre flame and void respectively and venerate powers that come from outside of Creation. These shortcuts to power all come with a price to Dragon Kings corrupt enough to try to learn them, and can transform Dragon Kings into Creatures of Darkness.
The five Dark Paths are as follows:
- The Glorious Consumption Path, relating to ash
- The Coagulated Eucharist Path, relating to blood
- The Technomorphic Transcendence Path, relating to bone
- The Ecstatic Armageddon Path, relating to pyre flame
- The Tormented Bodhisattva Path, relating to the void
Steps are the Charm-like powers of the Dragon Kings as they progress along either one of the Ten Paths of Prehuman Mastery or the Dark Paths (which are tied to elemental enlightenments related to Underworld). Each Step logically leads to the next, and Dragon Kings who do not know the next Step on their Path may attempt to practice it anyway by spending Willpower and channeling their Virtues to achieve the desired effect.
Each Step in the Path has a minimum Essence requirement but, unlike Charms, Paths do not have a minimum Ability or Attribute requirement. Essence 1 is required for Step 1, Essence 2 is required for Step 2 and 3, and Essence 3 is required for Step 4 and 5. Step 6 can be acquired after a lifetime of experience. Because of this general rule, Paths are not listed with Essence requirements. Note that, in Ruins of Rathess, it is mentioned that a Dragon Kings cannot take more Steps in any Path than their Essence score. This contradicts the rule above, but this requirement is not listed in the Players Guide which was released later and contains errata for many of the first edition books. Storytellers should use their best judgement in deciding which rule to apply in their games.
- List of Dragon King Paths for a listing of what Steps are available to the Dragon Kings.