Archive for September, 2010

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A Few Abyssal Charms More

September 29, 2010

So, for whatever reason, I’ve been really looking at Abyssals over the last week or so, and some strange Charms have come to me (some of them in fever dreams). I’ve written them up, tested them mechanically (by letting the forums pick them apart), and now I present them for your enjoyment!

Subsuming the Pious Spirit
Cost:
10 motes, 1 Willpower; Mins: Larceny 4, Essence 4; Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Avatar (2), Combo-OK, Obvious, Touch
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Face-Drinking Bite

It is often not enough for the murderers of the world to simply annihilate a body.  Sometimes, they need a body to murder hope itself.  This Charm enhances an Abyssal’s innate bite attack (see Manual of Exalted Power: Abyssals, p. 95).  Instead of draining life from the victim, however, this Charm allows the Abyssal to force herself into the victim.  As with Face-Drinking Bite, the Abyssal gains no motes from the attack, but must have been able to do so for this Charm to function.  Further, the target must have a physical body for this Charm to affect them, meaning it cannot affect spirits.

As this Charm takes effect, the Abyssal begins to dematerialize, her body growing misty and faint.  When she is entirely immaterial, a process taking no more than an instant, she flows into his victim through the wound she just made, commandeering his body and shunting his consciousness to the back of his mind.  Until she is evicted, the Abyssal uses the body’s Physical Attributes and Appearance, but all her other stats remain the same.  She gains literal (and possibly legal) possession of all the body’s possessions, though she does not gain metaphysical ownership.  She respires Essence as the host does.  Most relevant, however, the Abyssal looks, in every way, like the victim.  In effect, she is him.  Though social analysis may show the Abyssal is not, in fact, the victim, she physically matches him in every way, with one small difference.  Though it inflicts no Health Level damage to the Abyssal, the wound through which she entered the victim will never heal so long as she inhabits the body.  For the duration of this effect, the original inhabitant is considered Inactive, and is not a valid target for most effects, with the notable exception of Social attacks made by the inhabiting Abyssal.

The victim can expel the Abyssal by spending three Willpower, but the victim cannot spend more than one Willpower per day.  Worse, for the victim, while he is inhabited by the Abyssal, he does not regain Willpower daily.  He instead rolls once per week to regain Willpower.  Killing the host is also an option, albeit one that is somewhat final.  Should the body die, the Abyssal is ephemerally ejected from the body, and stunned and Inactive for one Miscellaneous Action as she suddenly and violently shifts back into a material state.  If the Abyssal runs out of willpower points for any reason, this charm ends, ejecting him in the same manner as if the host body had died.  If, for some reason, the original inhabitant suffers damage, this damage is instead inflicted upon the Abyssal, with no chance for avoidance as though the Abyssal had paid Health Levels as a Charm activation cost.

Hollowed Locust Shell
Cost:
15 motes, 2 Willpower; Mins: Larceny 5, Essence 5; Type: Simple (Dramatic)
Keywords: Avatar (3)
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Subsuming the Pious Spirit

There are those who are content to dwell within others’ shells, and then there are those who insist those shells become their own.  While inhabiting a body, the Abyssal may activate this Charm, which renders her Inactive for five days (or one day if activated during Calibration).  At the end of this time, if the Abyssal has not been evicted from the body, the body’s original owner perishes, and the body becomes the Abyssal’s permanently.  The body’s previous owner’s hun and po souls immediately depart, most often becoming ghosts (and usually with a negative Intimacy toward the Abyssal).  Any alteration in the Abyssal’s Physical Attributes must be paid for as a Training effect (and should the Physical Attributes lower, the Abyssal has the relevant XP refunded immediately).  Further, the Abyssal must immediately raise (or lower) the body’s Appearance to match her Essence rating, though doing so requires no training time.  As a final benefit, the Abyssal gains metaphysical ownership of the body’s possessions.  For all intents and purposes, it is now her body.  As an unfortunate side effect, she resumes respiring Essence as normal for a deathknight.

Ghoul-Corpse Cannibalization
Cost:
None (1 Willpower); Mins: Lore 3, Essence 3; Type: Permanent
Keywords: Obvious, Reactor
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: Essence-Draining Touch

An Abyssal understands that, like all living things, all Essence is dying.  It nestles in the unquiet dead and can be tapped like a keg.  This Charm grants the Abyssal the ability to drain all the Essence from one walking dead he controls.  When activated as an innate, non-Charm, Reflexive action, the targeted zombie shudders, as each Health Level it possesses is converted into a mote of Essence and shunted to its Abyssal master.  The Abyssal cannot choose to take less than the full amount of Essence, and any Essence in excess of his mote pools is wasted.  Motes regained by the Abyssal restore Peripheral Essence first.  This Charm destroys the targeted walking dead, regardless of how many motes the Abyssal takes, and an Abyssal cannot regain more than seven motes from a single zombie.

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Exalted Movie Mondays – Atlantis: The Lost Empire

September 27, 2010

If you’re a fan of Exalted, then I heartily recommend Atlantis: The Lost Empire, created by Disney. With Mike Mignola as a production designer and a script treatment by Joss Whedon, it really has a lot to recommend it. Add a healthy dose of Exalted themes, and it’s an animated movie well worth the watching.

The basic premise is that Milo, an underappreciated linguist in the early 1900s, dreams of fulfilling his grandfather’s dream, finding the lost continent of Atlantis. His wish is granted by Preston Whitmore, a long-time colleague of Milo’s grandfather. Together with a hand-picked team of mercenaries, they seek (and actually discover) the lost civilization of Atlantis. But when returning the treasures of the lost continent means destroying a civilization more than 8,000 years old, Milo and the others have to decide whether or not the civilization itself is the real treasure.

Milo is obviously a Scavenger Lord, probably a Twilight Caste Solar with Linguistics favored. Whitmore strikes me as nothing so much as an eccentric Sidereal, who pulls the strings to get things going (watch the movie and imagine Whitmore as Chejop Kejak. Let me know if you can still breathe for laughing afterward). The crack team are all Dragon-Blooded, especially the ruthless Rourke, who firmly believes he’s right, no matter what it costs him or anyone else. Finally, Kida (and honestly her father) are Lunars, protecting a dying civilization.

The entire power supply of Atlantis could easily be an Artifact in Exalted, something created by the First Age Exalts and used to save a portion of Saigoth’s civilization before it collapsed during the Usurpation. It’s even powered by life-force, which is as much Essence as I’ve ever seen in a movie.

Honestly, Atlantis is one of the most Exalted movies I’ve yet seen (though next week’s flick kicks it out of the running). It’s got heroism, moral conundrums, giant magitech monsters, First Age civilizations, the theme of ultimate power being difficult to use wisely, and hot chicks with glowing tattoos. Seriously, what more could you want?

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Skaven in Exalted – Horned Rat Style

September 24, 2010

With another martial art under my belt, I felt like wrapping up the week with a little more Skaven material. Below is my very first Terrestrial Martial Art, which means it should be less effective than a CMA. I hope you enjoy, and I hope this finds some use in your game, whether wielded by Skaven or by Dragon-Blooded!

Horned Rat Style

Developed by devotees of the Horned Rat and utilized primarily by Clan Eshin, this Terrestrial Martial Art focuses on the Skaven’s inherent strengths: speed, stealth, and cunning. The official designation among Skaven for this martial art is the Way of the Horned Rat, and those who practice it are often called “night runners.” The most skilled assassins among Clan Eshin are called “gutter runners,” a badge of distinction they wear with pride. More than one enemy of the Skaven has died in their beds when a member of Clan Eshin came calling. In fact, this art is so tied into the history and prosperity of Clan Eshin that many of them consider the Way of the Horned Rat to be their sole property, and often treat very poorly with those outside the clan who learn it.

Practitioners of the Way of the Horned Rat treat knives, short swords, tiger claws, and their Artifact equivalents as form weapons. This style cannot be practiced in armor. To learn even one Charm of Horned Rat Style, practitioners must have at least three dots divided any way they like among Athletics, Dodge, and Stealth.

Fangs of the Horned Rat
Cost: None; Mins: Martial Arts 3, Essence 2; Type: Permanent
Keywords: None
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: None

The Way of the Horned Rat starts with the use of the style’s signature weapons, and any member of Clan Eshin is expected to wield them with precision. When wielding knives, short swords, or tiger claws, the martial artist suffers no off-hand penalty for wielding the weapons in pairs. Further, while dual wielding, they add two dice to all (Dexterity + Athletics) rolls and one to their Parry DVs. These are both explicitly considered dice bonuses from Charms.

Creeping Shadow’s Embrace
Cost: 5 motes or 3 motes; Mins: Martial Arts 3, Essence 2; Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Combo-OK
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Fangs of the Horned Rat

Skaven are notoriously sneaky, especially the Enlightened assassins of Clan Eshin. This Charm is partially responsible for that notoreity. This Charm supplements any Stealth roll, allowing the martial artist to draw the shadows around himself, shrouding him in darkness. He adds two automatic successes to that Stealth roll, provided he is in an area of sufficient shadow. The Storyteller is always the ultimate arbiter, but as a guideline, an area illuminated by sunlight almost always prevents this Charm’s use, while moonlight almost never does. If used to augment a roll to re-establish surprise, this Charm costs only 3 motes.

Hordes in the Night
Cost: 3 motes; Mins: Martial Arts 3, Essence 2; Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Combo-OK
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Fangs of the Horned Rat

Skaven prefer to attack in large numbers, and when a lone assassin springs from a crowd of Clanrats, the results can be devastating. This Charm supplements an unexpected attack made by the martial artist, adding one die to the attack’s damage for each other attack made against the same target in that tick. These attacks must be made by someone (or something) other than the martial artist.

Skittering Claws
Cost: 5 motes; Mins: Martial Arts 3, Essence 2; Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Combo-OK
Duration: One tick
Prerequisite Charms: Fangs of the Horned Rat

Followers of the Way of the Horned Rat are nimble and quick, and often move faster than their enemies expect. This Charm adds the martial artist’s Essence to all Move, Dash, and Jump actions. If this Charm is used when the martial artist closes on a target and makes an unexpected attack, any stunts made in conjunction with that attack are considered one die higher (to a maximum of a three-die stunt).

Horned Rat Form
Cost: 5 motes; Mins: Martial Arts 4, Essence 2; Type: Simple
Keywords: Form-type
Duration: One scene
Prerequisite Charms: Creeping Shadow’s Embrace, Hordes in the Night, Skittering Claws

Children of the Horned Rat are violent, versatile, and voracious. They crawl, they swim. They nest and gnaw. They are they, and they devour. While active, Horned Rat Form grants a number of benefits to those using it. First, any tail the martial artist may possess becomes prehensile for the duration of the Charm. All flurry penalties are reduced by one, and the user may further spend 5 motes as an innate ability to increase the penalty reduction to (Essence) for one tick, provided at least one attack in the flurry is made using a tail-held weapon. Finally, the martial artist can parry lethal attacks barehanded without a stunt.

Ruinous Wyldstone Venom
Cost: 6 motes, 1 Willpower; Mins: Martial Arts 4, Essence 3; Type: Simple
Keywords: None
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Horned Rat Form

While they are less inclined toward the consumption of Wyldstone than the members of some other clans, Clan Eshin assassins nevertheless have found uses for the Wyld-tainted material. When the martial artist consumes a dose of Wyldstone, he may activate this Charm to convert that Wyldstone into a virulent poison, which he can vomit back onto his weapons. He suffers all the normal effects of consuming Wyldstone, though he is unaffected by the poison he creates. The venom in question remains potent for (Essence) days, and has the following characteristics: Damage (Martial Arts)/tick, Toxicity (Essence), Tolerance -/-, Penalty (Essence).

Treacherous Vermin Strike
Cost: 5 motes; Mins: Martial Arts 4, Essence 3; Type: Extra Action
Keywords: Combo-OK, Crippling
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Horned Rat Form

Clan Eshin has become exceptionally good at hiding their attacks until the last moment, then striking out with blinding speed. First, the martial artist makes a flurry. This is resolved as normal. At the end of this flurry, this Charm can be activated, granting a reflexive attempt to re-establish surprise. If the martial artist succeeds, he makes a reflexive attack (which, since he re-established surprise, is an unexpected attack). This attack deals no damage, but instead imposes a -2 (non-cumulative) external penalty on all the target’s actions for the remainder of the scene.

Fever-Inducing Strike
Cost: 5 motes, 1 Willpower; Mins: Martial Arts 5, Essence 3; Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Combo-OK, Sickness
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Ruinous Wyldstone Venom, Treacherous Vermin Strike

The minions of the Horned Rat are known for their virulent pestilence as much as their poisons, and while Clan Pestilens is comprised of disease specialists, Clan Eshin has stolen some of their secrets for itself (much to Pestilens’ dismay). This Charm supplements an unexpected attack. If the attack hits, it deals only a single, automatic level of unsoakable Lethal damage. In addition, it infects the target with a magical disease, which the Skaven refer to as “filth fever” (use the statistics for “Plague,” Exalted p. 353). This Charm can infect even Exalted with this disease, though they cannot catch it from victims of this Charm. Mortals, on the other hand, are not so fortunate.

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Celestial Martial Arts, Mega-Man Style!

September 22, 2010

So, last week, on the Exalted forums, someone (I seriously don’t even remember who) mentioned they kinda sorta wanted a Celestial Martial Art based around Alchemical Essence weaponry. Normally, I ignore things like that… not that it’s a bad idea, mind, but I’m not generally able to conjure mechanics for a martial art off the top of my head. Vitriolic Octopus Style took, like, a year to properly formulate, and it went through three iterations. However, as soon as I read the post, this style popped, almost fully formed, into my brain.

Behold: Celestial martial arts, Mega-Man style!

Overwhelming Ruinous Ordnance Style (Celestial Martial Art)

Originally invented by the Orichalcum Caste Luminiferous Physician, this Celestial-level martial art is focused around not only force, but also using force to shape oneself and one’s surroundings to achieve total victory. It teaches the utilization of precision force in precise amounts when called for, as well as overwhelming (some might say excessive) force in overwhelming quantities when necessary. While initially designed for Essence pulse cannons, the designer of the style was quite surprised to learn that it worked equally well with other hand-held, Essence-projectile weapons, such as concussive Essence cannons and similar weapons. While Luminiferous Physician was the designer of the style, it was most famously used by Overwhelming Yeoman of Adventure to fight his gremlin-nemesis, Deceitful Surgeon. Stories of the great patropolis Oveyead wandering the Wastes are common propaganda throughout Autochthonia.

Overwhelming Ruinous Ordnance Style treats Essence-projectile weapons (most commonly Essence pulse cannons) as form weapons. It can be practiced in armor (and often is).

Elemental Aspect
Overwhelming Ruinous Ordnance Style is aspected to the element of electricity.  As a side note, all Alchemical Exalted are automatically aspected to Autochthonian elements.

Inertial Velocity Exploitation
Cost: 2 motes; Mins: Martial Arts 1, Essence 2; Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Combo-OK, Obvious
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: None

By utilizing the momentum of an Essence cannon, the martial artist can propel herself upward with dizzying speed. This Charm can be activated whenever the martial artist makes a Jump action.  Doing so adds (Martial Arts x4) yards to the distance of the Jump.  Further, if the martial artist pays to fire a burst from an Essence-based weapon, he may add the weapon’s Damage rating to the Jump distance as well.

Paramount Efficiency Enhancement
Cost: 1 mote, 1 Willpower; Mins: Martial Arts 2, Essence 2; Type: Simple (Speed 3)
Keywords: Combo-Basic, Stackable
Duration: One Scene
Prerequisite Charms: None

The cost to fire an Essence-projection weapon is often their greatest weakness. By channeling the flow of Essence through himself and into his weapon, a skilled Overwhelming Ruinous Ordnance practitioner can remove this weakness. Activating this Charm reduces the cost per shot of an Essence-projection weapon by 1 (to a minimum of 0) for the remainder of the scene.

Barricade Purgation Procedure
Cost: 4 motes; Mins: Martial Arts 2, Essence 2; Type: Reflexive (Step 1)
Keywords: Combo-OK, Obvious
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: None

While the power of an Essence blast can often directly solve a problem, a true martial artist understands that sometimes, nothing gets a point across quite like catastrophic property damage. This Charm supplements an unarmed attack against an inanimate object, doubling the attack’s raw damage.

Essence Modulation Amplifier
Cost: 4 motes; Mins: Martial Arts 3, Essence 2; Type: Reflexive (Step 1)
Keywords: Combo-OK, Obvious
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Inertial Velocity Exploitation, Paramount Efficiency Enhancement, Barricade Purgation Procedure

A skilled martial artist can learn to focus the power of her own Essence, withholding it from her cannon until the last moment, “charging” it so to speak, in order to fire a massive burst of energy.  When used to enhance an unarmed attack, for every die added to the attack roll from Aim actions, the martial artist adds one die of post-soak damage.

Overwhelming Ruinous Ordnance Form
Cost: 6 motes; Mins: Martial Arts 4, Essence 3; Type: Simple
Keywords: Combo-Basic, Form-type, Obvious
Duration: One Scene
Prerequisite Charms: Essence Modulation Amplifier

The master of the Essence cannon understands its full range of uses, offensive and defensive, and has learned that thought and action are one.  When this Charm is active, the martial artist moves with the speed of honed reflexes, gaining the full +3 bonus to Accuracy from a single Aim action.  Successive Aim actions still cannot raise the total bonus above 3.  Moreover, the martial artist can use form weapons of this style to parry attacks, firing beams of essence to knock weapons and projectiles aside. Doing so is an unarmed parry, treating the weapon’s Defense bonus as being equal to its Accuracy +2. If the martial artist must pay a cost or expend ammunition to fire the weapon, he must do so each time he makes use of this defense.

Sequence Calibration Refit
Cost: 1 mote/die; Mins: Martial Arts 4, Essence 3; Type: Reflexive (Step 1)
Keywords: Combo-OK, Obvious
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Overwhelming Ruinous Ordnance Form

By adjusting the calibration on his weapon and on his own Essence, the martial artist can narrow the pulse for a more potent (but less reliable) strike, or widen the burst, weakening its impact to aid its accuracy.  This Charm supplements an attack with an Essence-projectile weapon. For each mote spent, the martial artist may subtract one die from the Damage rating of the weapon to add one die to his attack,  or subtract one die from his attack roll to add 5 to the weapon’s Damage.  Improving the accuracy of the attack is limited by dice caps as normal, but improving the damage is limited only by the motes available to spend and the Damage rating of the weapon.  Neither attack pool nor Damage can be reduced below one die.

Trajectory Correction Strategy
Cost: 5 motes; Mins: Martial Arts 4, Essence 3; Type: Reflexive (Step 5)
Keywords: Combo-OK, Obvious
Duration: One Tick
Prerequisite Charms: Sequence Calibration Refit

Essence fired from an Essence-projectile weapon is still the martial artist’s Essence, and with practice, he can learn to control it even once it has left his body.  If one of the martial artist’s unarmed attacks misses, he can activate this Charm in Step 5 to redirect it at another enemy, as though they were the original target. Redirected attacks use the same rolled successes to determine if they hit.

Expeditious Impulse Evacuation
Cost: 6 motes; Mins: Martial Arts 5, Essence 4; Type: Reflexive (Step 9)
Keywords: Combo-OK, Counterattack, Obvious
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Trajectory Correction Strategy

Attacks fueled with Essence project an enormous amount of force. With practice, the martial artist can harness this force to control his movements. This Charm may be activated in response to any close-combat attack against the martial artist. Regardless of the attack’s success, the martial artist may immediately make a unarmed counterattack against his attacker, paying the usual cost if he chooses to fire an Essence-projection weapon. Regardless of whether or not this counterattack succeeds, the martial artist is propelled (Essence x5) yards directly away from his attacker by the force of the blow.

Maximum Devastation Onslaught
Cost: 6 motes, 1 Willpower; Mins: Martial Arts 4, Essence 3; Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Combo-OK, Obvious
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Sequence Calibration Refit

Precision is not a virtue to the Ordnance practitioner.  Devastation is.  This Charm supplements an attack with an Essence-based weapon.  Streamers of glowing plasma rocket forth from his weapon, careening wildly around him, leaving contrails of burning vapor and exploding on impact with staggering force.  The martial artist makes a normal attack roll and applies it to all valid targets within (Essence x2) yards.

Overwhelming Ruinous Barrage
Cost: 2 motes, 1 Willpower; Mins: Martial Arts 5, Essence 3; Type: Extra Action
Keywords: Combo-OK, Obvious
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Maximum Devastation Onslaught

The martial artist can split an Essence pulse from himself into his weapon, arcing the attack into a spread of three, separate particles. This Charm allows the martial artist to make three attacks with an Essence-projectile weapon, each costing the normal firing charge, at the attacker’s full pool, and ignoring Rate. The total DV penalty for this flurry is equal to the highest DV penalty of any of single attack made.  Furthermore, if the first attack in this flurry benefits from an Aim action, all attacks in the flurry gain the same benefit.  It is said that Luminiferous Physician sought to improve this Charm, allowing for additional attacks, but was unable to make any Essence-discharge weapon more efficient.

Luminiferous Annihilation Cannon
Cost: 10 motes, 1 Willpower; Mins: Martial Arts 5, Essence 4; Type: Simple
Keywords: Combo-OK, Obvious
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Overwhelming Ruinous Barrage, Expeditious Impulse Evacuation

Understanding an Essence weapon means understanding its fundamental purpose: annihilation.  This Charm consists of a single unarmed attack, which costs the usual number of motes if made with an Essence weapon.  The attack, if successful, deals Aggravated damage, and automatically converts all post-soak dice of damage directly to levels dealt.  Victims of this attack are most often only identified by black shadows seared onto nearby scenery or pairs of smoking boots left standing amidst ashes.

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Exalted Movie Mondays – The Chronicles of Riddick

September 20, 2010

After some brief (read: six and a half hours) period without internet, I have returned to wreak havoc on an unsuspecting world. I will begin by inflicting upon you my review of a movie that is genuinely better than it deserved to be: The Chronicles of Riddick (I refuse to call it Pitch Black 2). While it’s cheesy, silly, and patently ridiculous, The Chronicles of Riddick has its redeeming features, and a surprising number of them.

For those of you who remember Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Riddick is a sequel in only the loosest of senses. It continues to follow the exploits of the titular character, with a few other individuals besides, but the plot, themes, tone, and… well, basically everything else… are all completely different.

In The Chronicles of Riddick, a new race of “Necromongers” (I swear, I couldn’t make this up if I tried) are spreading like a plague across the galaxy, killing or enslaving everyone they encounter. As a last, desperate move, Riddick is called to battle these Necromongers, and along the way, he discovers his true heritage. No, really, that’s the plot. It has space jaguars, ice planets, knife fights, psychics, and the undead, but that’s the plot. Do with it what you will.

This is a movie one should be able to instantly dismiss… but it’s not. It’s actually really well done for what it is. Obviously, there’s a ceiling on how high it could go, but it hits that ceiling, and it even does its level best to push past it. The cinematography is excellent, the character interaction is spectacular, and Riddick himself (and I can’t believe I’m saying this) is actually a well-developed, three-dimensional character, with realistic conflicts and concerns.

Of course, it’s about as over-the-top as you can get, which is why it’s showing up here. When you think about it, “Necromonger” isn’t much sillier than “Deathlord,” and the leader of the villains is a proper Abyssal. (as one of my friends said, “I like having my villains right out in front where I can see them.” This movie does you justice, Tom.) Riddick himself is probably a Night Caste, considering his specialties and his disregard for authority. Hell, there’s even an Immaculate (for values of “immaculate”) bounty hunter team chasing Riddick and an elemental Sidereal (for all that she’s an air elemental, Dame Judi Dench is as Sidereal as they come).

In the end, this movie isn’t intended to be serious. It couldn’t be serious if it wanted to. It’s a pulp action-adventure romp through distant galaxies, and it’s FUN. Enjoy this flick. It’s pretty much how I view a good Exalted game… dramatic and light-hearted with some interesting social commentaries, but nothing anyone takes too seriously.

And keep your eyes open. They keep talking about a sequel.

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Skaven in Exalted!

September 17, 2010

Following the success of my N.E.C.R.O.N.s, I’ve decided to go ahead and start converting other things I love into Exalted, starting with Skaven. Behold, the verminous fruits of my labor! (All Skaven-specific names and individuals are property of Games Workshop, and I do not claim that I created them. I have merely adapted them into Exalted.)

In the First Age, a young Lunar began a breeding program, seeking to create a civilization of hyperintelligent rats. He started, as most Lunars do, with beastmen, Half-Caste hybrids that spawned their own mutant offspring. Unfortunately, when the Usurpation happened, this experiment was thwarted, and the Lunar was chased into the Wyld.

He returned some two centuries later, after many generations of beastmen had perished at the hands of the Sidereals, to find that a sizeable number of these creatures had fled to the tunnels beneath the Imperial Mountain, contending with the Mountain Folk for space and spreading out through the bowels of Creation. They had become twisted, interbred with various species of Darkbrood, and further mutated by exposure to a substance they called Wyldstone, glowing green veins of rock that channeled the energies of the Wyld even into the heart of Creation. The rat people had become more intelligent, larger, and even developed something resembling a civilization.

The Lunar, who had never received the tattoos, came to them as a ram-horned rat-man, and they venerated him as their dark god. The Great Horned Rat, as he came to be known, initially aided his people, trying to rebuild them into a weapon to retake the Deliberative. However, his own incipient madness, combined with exposure to Wyldstone, soon drive him irrevocably insane. He dwells now in the depths of the tunnels beneath Creation, fed by thousands of rat-slaves, and ravening mad prophecies between meals. He believes himself to be exactly what the rats tell him he is, their dark, apocalyptic god.

The Skaven, as they have come to call themselves, have spread throughout all Creation by now, their society growing and evolving, fracturing. It is now led by four Great Clans, each led by an extremely long-lived Half-Caste. These clans each have their own focus. Clan Moulder focuses on the breeding of Skaven with other Darkbrood and harnessing the chaotic power of the Wyldstone to do this. Clan Skryre focuses on enlightening its “gray seers,” and utilizing thaumaturgy and sorcery to invent powerful new magitechnological weaponry. Clan Pestilens develops new and horrifying diseases to unleash upon Creation, diseases to which the Skaven themselves seem terrifyingly immune. Finally, Clan Eshin focuses on the esoteric “Horned Rat” style of Terrestrial Martial Arts, becoming terrifying spies and assassins.

Clanrats
The vast majority of Skaven are clan rats, rat beastmen with little to no training, poor craftsmanship weapons and armor scavenged from other Skaven or from other races, and only the most basic leadership. They are not particularly sturdy, nor are they particularly vicious. Their advantage comes in their numbers; they breed like rats. Clanrats are nearly infinite in their masses, pouring from boltholes and tunnels beneath Creation, their teeming hordes numbering in the millions. As the most basic representatives of Skaven culture, they are the most likely to be encountered, especially as advance scouts for some invading Skaven army.

Motivation: Survive another day.
Attributes: Strength 2, Dexterity 3, Stamina 2; Charisma 1, Manipulation 3, Appearance 2; Perception 3, Intelligence 2, Wits 3
Virtues: Compassion 1, Conviction 2, Temperance 2, Valor 2
Abilities: Athletics 4, Awareness 2, Dodge 3, Investigation 1, Larceny 2, Martial Arts 2, Melee 2, Resistance 2, Stealth 3, Survival 2, War 2
Backgrounds: Backing 1
Join Battle: 5
Attacks:
Bite: Speed 6, Accuracy 5, Damage 2L, Parry DV -, Rate 1
Claw: Speed 5, Accuracy 7, Damage 2L, Parry DV 3, Rate 3
Short Spear: Speed 5, Accuracy 7, Damage 6L, Parry DV 3, Rate 2
Short Sword: Speed 5, Accuracy 7, Damage 5L, Parry DV 3, Rate 2
Soak: 5B/5L (Breastplate 2B/4L, -1 Mobility, 1 Fatigue)
Health Levels: -0/-1/-1/-2/-2/-4/Incap. (Often extras)
Dodge DV: 2 Willpower: 5
Essence: 1
Other Notes: Clanrats gain the benefits of the Claws, Fangs, Fur, and Tail mutations (included in the above stats).

Mass Combat Stats
Armor Color: Motley mismatch of scavenged armor and clothing
Motto: “Not in the face!”
General Makeup: 40 Skaven armed with spears, swords, and (maybe) shields.
Overall Quality: Poor
Magnitude: 2
Drill: 1
Close Combat Attack: 2 Close Combat Damage: 2
Ranged Attack: – Ranged Damage: –
Endurance: 3 Might: 0 Armor: 2
Morale: 2
Formation: Clanrats usually huddle in relaxed formation, though as their battle frenzy grows (either through hunger or fear), they often shift into unordered formation.

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More Fiend Charms

September 15, 2010

Holden made an announcement yesterday that has, quite frankly, gotten me into a tizzy. Anyone who’s read this blog in the past probably knows exactly how much I love Infernals, so knowing there’s more crunchy goodness waiting in the wings is enough to make me giddy. In honor of the unofficial announcement, I’m posting a couple of homebrew Fiend Charms. Enjoy!

Fraudulent Commodity Inception
Cost: 5 motes (or 5 motes, 1 Willpower); Mins: Essence 3; Type: Simple
Keywords: Combo-OK, Illusion, Shaping
Duration: Indefinite
Prerequisite Charms: Loom-Snarling Deception

The Ebon Dragon’s lies can fool even Heaven. What challenge, then, is simple bureaucracy? This Charm creates a forgery of a mundane (i.e. non-magical) item, whether that is a sword, a document, or a priceless jewel. Upon activation, the Infernal rolls (Manipulation + Larceny) and adds his Essence as successes to the final roll. He requires no materials or tools, though he must in some way obfuscate that he is crafting the object in that instant (such as by sticking his hand in a pouch or even just behind his back). Finally, if the Infernal spends a point of Willpower when activating this Charm, the final forgery is considered to have one net success over any roll to pierce its falsehood. This is an Illusion effect that explicitly cannot be pierced via Willpower expenditure, though appropriate non-Excellency Charms allow a roll-off as with Loom-Snarling Deception.

Items created by Fraudulent Commodity Inception last as long as the Infernal keeps the motes committed to them. While they may mimic any mundane item, no matter how fine its quality, these items are never mechanically more useful than common representations of their type. A forgery of a perfect slashing sword functions as a common sword, for example. Should the Infernal give the item away, however, it will fail catastrophically the first time it is used. Treat this as though the user of the “cursed” item suffered one botch as if from breaking an Eclipse-caste oath. This botch invariably involves the destruction of the item.

Purloined Ipseity Credence
Cost: None (+1 Willpower); Mins: Essence 3; Type: Permanent
Keywords: Illusion
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: Loom-Snarling Deception

When the Ebon Dragon adopts a new persona, even the Loom of Fate is fooled. How can mortal organizations hope to resist? This Charm is a permanent enhancement of its prerequisite. Whenever the Infernal activates Loom-Snarling Deception, he may choose to pay a one Willpower surcharge. If he does so, Purloined Ipseity Credence grants the Infernal the illusion of a place within mortal society. He may choose up to (Essence) points of social Backgrounds, such as Allies, Backing, Contacts, Influence, Mentor, or Resources. Until he ceases to commit motes to Loom-Snarling Deception, all those fooled by his disguise believe he has those Backgrounds. He gains the benefits of the Background in question so long as he maintains his disguise, but it is only an Illusion. The Infernal does not actually possess any Allies, but those he seeks to impress will believe he does. He does not hold a place of rank within an organization, but he can fool even the organization into believing otherwise.

These Backgrounds are subject to the normal rules for losing Backgrounds (subject to Storyteller discretion), though the Infernal cannot alter them without dropping the disguise and re-activating it. Thus, an Infernal with fake Backing could be demoted, while an Infernal with fake Resources could well spend all her “credit.” As soon as the disguise is removed, the Illusion retroactively fails, usually eliciting a cry of disgust and shock from those the Infernal has fooled. These cries are delicious to the Ebon Dragon, and he savors them like fine wine.