Exalted – Vitriolic Octopus Style

May 18, 2010

To celebrate the christening of what I hope will be a regularly updated Exalted blog, I’m posting a Celestial Martial Arts style of my own invention, honed thanks to the help of numerous forumites.  I’ll continue to do updates and overviews of parts of the game world, but I’ll also be mixing that with some of my own work, as well as (hopefully!) insights into game design, game theory, and maybe even some interviews with authors or contributing forumites.


In the First Age, the Lunar Exalted were the pioneers of beast-man hybridization, experimenting with their forms in ways their Lawgiver mates could not duplicate.  One such Solar, his name long since lost to the vagaries of history, felt left behind by his mate’s explorations in a land she held all to herself.  His abandonment, at first, was nothing more than a passing flash of irritation, but as the centuries passed, it grew into something altogether more.  He attempted a number of experiments on himself, attempting to follow his mate, but her expertise was so much more than his, and he found his every foray tainted by his own bitterness.  Eventually, he fell onto the idea of embracing that bitterness, and while his metaphysical explorations did not bear the fruit that would allow him to wholly join with his mate, it did produce a seed that eventually became the Vitriolic Octopus Style.

Vitriolic Octopus Style is a Celestial Martial Arts style that emulates the fluidity of the natural octopus, while eventually exposing and evolving the user through his own bitterness and envy.  The form weapons for Vitriolic Octopus Style include any clinch-enhancers and their artifact equivalents, though it is most often practiced with fighting chains or dire chains.  Vitriolic Octopus Style is compatible with light armor, though anything heavier restricts the user and prevents the full flexibility needed to capitalize on this style’s techniques.

Startling Octopus Feint

Cost: 1m; Mins: Martial Arts 2, Essence 2; Type: Reflexive (Step 2)
Keywords: Combo-OK
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: None

The octopus is a clever fighter, striking suddenly and retreating fluidly, the better to confuse its enemies.  The followers of this style learn how to emulate that distraction, to a small extent.  When the martial artist activates this Charm, for an instant, he takes on the aspect of the octopus.  His movements become more harmonic with his surroundings, applying an internal penalty equal to his Essence on any one attack made against him or to any one Awareness roll made to pierce his Stealth.

Shy Devilfish Disguise
Cost: 3m (+1wp); Mins: Martial Arts 3, Essence 2; Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Combo-OK, Obvious
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: Startling Octopus Feint

The octopus can change the color of its hide, literally blending in with its surroundings.  It is a simple matter for the martial artist to mimic this disguise by altering the flows of Essence through his body.  When the martial artist activates this Charm, he may make a roll to re-establish surprise (Exalted p. 156) as a reflexive action instead of a miscellaneous action.  If he spends a Willpower point when activating this Charm, he adds his Martial Arts as bonus dice to the roll.

Spite-Fueled Venomous Embrace
Cost: 3m; Mins: Martial Arts 3, Essence 2; Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Combo-OK, Obvious, Poison
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: Startling Octopus Feint

The vitriolic octopus does not simply mimic the octopus; he expands on it, infusing it with his own bile and spite.  That spite is infectious, venomous.  This Charm supplements an unarmed Martial Arts attack, injecting the victim of the attack with a poison born of the martial artist’s own spleen.  If the attack deals even a single level of damage, the victim suffers a dose of Vitriolic Octopus poison.  Vitriolic Octopus poison has the following statistics: Damage (Essence)L/action, Toxicity 3, Tolerance -/-, Penalty (Essence).

Vitriolic Octopus Form
Cost: 5m; Mins: Martial Arts 3, Essence 3; Type: Simple
Keywords: Form-type
Duration: One scene
Prerequisites: Shy Devilfish Disguise, Spite-Fueled Venomous Embrace

In combat, the octopus is a plethora of arms, and it seems there is no way to escape its crushing grip.  While the martial artist has Vitriolic Octopus Form active, he adds (Essence) dice to all rolls made to initiate, maintain, or escape a clinch.  While participating in a clinch, he may spend two motes reflexively in Step 7 of combat resolution to count all successes on a roll to maintain a clinch twice for the purposes of determining damage.  Activating this aspect of Vitriolic Octopus Form does not count as Charm use.

Devilfish’s Cunning Grasp
Cost: 3m (+1wp); Mins: Martial Arts 3, Essence 3; Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Combo-OK
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: Vitriolic Octopus Form

Once enveloped in the octopus’ coils, shelled prey often finds its natural armor insufficient to deter the beast’s probing tendrils.  This Charm can be activated to supplement an attempt to initiate or maintain a clinch.  All clinches have the Piercing tag, but a clinch supplemented by this attack has its victim’s soak from armor further reduced by two points.  If the martial artist spends a point of Willpower when activating this Charm, the reduction in the armor’s soak value is permanent until repaired.  This secondary activation has no effect on artifact armor.  Armor permanently reduced to 0 soak by this Charm is destroyed.

Many-Tentacled Entanglement
Cost: 5m; Mins: Martial Arts 4, Essence 3; Type: Reflexive (Step 9)
Keywords: Combo-OK, Counterattack
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: Devilfish’s Cunning Grasp

It is a fool who seeks to grip an octopus without being gripped by it, and fools get what they deserve.  This Charm can be activated in response to any close-combat attack against which the martial artist successfully applies his Martial Arts-derived Parry DV.  As an automatic counterattack, the martial artist can attempt to initiate a clinch at his full dice pool against the attacker.

Strangling the Future
Cost: – (+2m, 1wp); Mins: Martial Arts 4, Essence 4; Type: Permanent
Keywords: Poison
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisites: Vitriolic Octopus Form

Once the vitriolic octopus has a victim in its clutches, that victim becomes the center of its awareness, a struggling, mewling thing that must be killed.  As such, the vitriolic octopus pours all its rage into that subject.  This Charm is a permanent upgrade to Spite-Fueled Venomous Embrace, allowing it to be activated as a Reflexive Charm in response to a failed attempt to escape or gain control of a clinch for a two-mote, one Willpower surcharge.  In this case, Spite-Fueled Venomous Embrace does not need to deal a level of damage; merely clinching the martial artist when it is activated is sufficient to expose the clincher to his spite.

Tenebrous Cloud Technique
Cost: 4m, 1wp; Mins: Martial Arts 3, Essence 3; Type: Simple
Keywords: Combo-Basic, Obvious
Duration: (Martial Arts) actions
Prerequisites: Vitriolic Octopus Form

The vitriolic octopus is not sated by blinding a single opponent, but spreads its hate over all near it, friend or foe.  When the martial artist activates this Charm, he expels a cloud of rapidly darkening Essence from his anima, which spreads from him to cover an area (Essence) yards in diameter.  This area is effectively treated as Fog, Night (see Exalted p. 135).  Anyone who knows this Charm can suffers no penalties from its effects.  The cloud remains stationary and cannot be moved or dispelled by mundane weather, though supernatural wind, rain, or similar effects halve its remaining duration.  The cloud dissipates harmlessly at the end of its duration.

Essence Ink Attack
Cost: 4m; Mins: Martial Arts 4, Essence 3; Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Combo-OK, Crippling, Obvious
Duration: (Martial Arts) actions
Prerequisites: Tenebrous Cloud Technique

The octopus, when threatened, can spew a viscous cloud of ink to blind its opponents.  What would the vitriolic octopus be if it did any less?  This Charm supplements an unarmed Martial Arts attack.  If the attack successfully hits, it deals no damage.  Instead, a stinging ink is sprayed from the martial artist’s hands.  This ink blinds the target (see Exalted, p. 135).  The ink can only be removed by magic that removes Crippling effects, though it dissipates harmlessly at the end of the Charm’s duration.

Blinding Whiplash Barrage
Cost: 8m, 1wp, +3m per additional attack; Mins: Martial Arts 5, Essence 4; Type: Extra Action
Keywords: Combo-OK, Obvious
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: Many-Tentacled Entanglement, Strangling the Future, Essence Ink Attack

The vitriolic octopus is a vicious creature, and could never be satisfied strangling only one enemy at a time.  This Charm is a magical flurry including a number of clinch attacks equal to the number of available limbs the martial artist possesses (to a maximum of the martial artist’s Essence, usually four).  This Charm explicitly ignores Rate, and all attacks are made at the martial artist’s full pool with a total DV penalty equal to the lowest DV penalty for any one attack, plus one additional DV penalty per attack made past the first.  When attempting to maintain these clinches, he makes one roll as a Miscellaneous action as normal and applies it to all those engaged in the clinch.  Ending one clinch, either voluntarily or as a result of losing control, does not end any others.  As a side-effect, this Charm permits the martial artist to remain a participant in as many separate clinches as he initiates with this Charm, though if he should later cease to be engaged in one of these clinches, this Charm does not allow him to resume it without a separate activation.
As an additional benefit, the martial artist may generate tendrils of pure Essence that emerge from his anima (or where his anima would be if he had one).  These tendrils cost three motes each, in addition to the base cost of the Charm.  While this does not allow the martial artist to make additional attacks beyond his (Essence), it does allow higher-Essence martial artists or practitioners suffering from amputation effects (or even just those who happen to have fewer limbs) to gain the full base effect of the Charm.


One comment

  1. […] Resistance Divine (Ability) Subordination – Occult Supernatural Martial Arts: All Charms of Vitriolic Octopus Style. She learned the style from a First Age Lunar from Tzatli, in exchange for certain… […]

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