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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