Archive for July, 2011

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Exalted: Modern – Headlines, Week Three

July 18, 2011

Once again, all fictional.

Russian Corporation Announces Artificial “Exalted”

Autocorp, a multinational corporation headquartered primarily in Moscow, announced Wednesday that they have been able to replicate some of the characteristics of the recent rash of superhuman individuals via advanced cybernetics and robotics in what they are calling “Artificial Exalted.”  Although spokesmen claim actual realization of fully autonomous robotic Exalted is still decades away, Autocorp’s advances are being lauded as the first step toward a comprehensive defense against hostile biological “Exalted.”

Electromagnetic Disturbances Detected over Antarctica

Scientists at NASA have detected massive bursts of electromagnetic energy emanating from the South Pole, sources claim.  First detected by use of satellite photography, more recent aerial surveillance has confirmed the reports.  Visible to the naked eye, these as-yet unexplained phenomena include light displays akin to the Northern Lights and erratic electrical discharges reminiscent of a severe lightning storm.  The cause of this occurrence is unknown, but representatives from various research corporations have indicated that their agents are in the field to investigate.  Any connection between this event and the unusual solar flares earlier this year remains unclear.

Pyramids at Giza Explode

The Great Pyramids of Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, exploded into torrents of brilliant white light on Saturday.  Local archaeologists and researchers are baffled as to the cause.  One witness said he heard the sound of clear trumpets just before the event, while another claimed she saw a humanoid figure of pure light walk through the wall of the Pyramid of Khufu.  While visual examination is impossible due to the quantities of light being constantly emitted from the Pyramids, the structures themselves seem to be fully intact, according to thermal and sonar readings.  NASA confirms that the beams of light are powerful enough to exit the atmosphere without any appreciable loss in intensity.

Self-Titled “Bull of Africa” Conquers Angola

In a military coup that swept the African nation of Angola, the so-called “Bull of Africa,” a local warlord, has conquered the capital of Luanda.  His forces marched into Luanda early Monday morning, meeting little resistance.  Reports indicate that more than a hundred Angolan Republic forces were killed in the clash, though the Bull himself claims no more than ten of his own men were slain.  Resistance throughout the remainder of Angola is limited, and reporters on the ground indicate that the majority of the Angolan people, who were until yesterday staunchly opposed to the Bull and his coup, seem now to support the actions of this warlord.  Reports also indicate that the Bull displayed obviously superhuman powers during his military action, and may in fact be one of the newly dubbed “Exalted.”

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Exalted: Modern – Headlines, Week Two

July 11, 2011

Further headlines from the fictional Exalted: Modern setting.  Once again, these headlines are fiction.

Superhuman Phenomenon Sweeps Globe

Headlines from every major news outlet all say the same thing: a rash of bizarre, unexplainable phenomena has been occurring across the planet.  Random individuals have suddenly and inexplicably displayed abilities and characteristics that seem impossible.  Recorded symptoms include exceeding conventional physiological limitations regarding strength and speed, sudden and startling insights, and radiating a brilliant, golden light.  Experts have been unable to provide any conclusive scientific explanation for these phenomena, though wilder hypotheses have been posited by religious and political organizations worldwide.  For now, readers are advised to use extreme caution if encountering these superhuman individuals, as many are considered extremely dangerous. 

Pope Denounces Superhumans, Commits Suicide

Pope Benedict XVI issued a public statement Sunday, officially denouncing the recent rash of superhumans in the name of the Catholic Church.  He claimed these individuals were, “not agents of God, not angels, and not to be trusted.”  Religious furor ensued, as opposing factions within the Vatican began a heated debate that would turn into a riot that lasted for twelve hours.  The riots ended when Pope Benedict XVI hurled himself from the balcony of the Vatican Church, falling to his death.  His successor, Pope Implacable I, was named within minutes by the Sacred College of Cardinals.  How this will affect the Catholic Church as a whole has yet to be determined.

Hawaiian Volcanoes Concern Geologists

Hawaiian seismic activity continues to concern noted geologists Monday morning, even as the weekend’s frightening volcanic activity begins to subside.  Mauna Loa, as well as Mauna Kea and Kilauea, all threatened to erupt late last week, despite seismic and geological reports that all three were mostly dormant.  Mauna Loa, in particular, was close to eruption, prompting the evacuation of the nearby town of Hilo.  Though all three volcanoes have fallen silent as inexplicably as they first began to erupt, experts advise caution for those living in their vicinity.  The islanders, meanwhile, are taking the danger in stride, planning a revival of ancient festivals to venerate Pele, a volcano goddess prominent in Hawaiian mythology.

Troop Casualties in Iraq Drop Nearly Eighty Percent

Reports of violence against U.S. and U.N. military personnel in Iraq dropped nearly eighty percent over the last month, experts say.  Local sources claim that attacks resulting in military fatalities have ceased entirely, and an estimated ninety percent of the remaining attacks result in only minor injuries.  When asked to theorize as to the cause, researchers were unwilling to comment.  Local military personnel, however, attribute the cause to Colonel Markus “the Lion” Lector, a long-time officer in the Iraqi conflict zone and a staunch supporter of Iraqi integration.  Colonel Lector was unavailable for interviews.

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Another Ebon Dragon Charm?!

July 6, 2011

Yes, another Ebon Dragon Charm.  Cheers!

Knowing is Suffering
Cost: None (+3m or +3m, 1W); Mins: Essence 4; Type: Permanent
Keywords: Obvious, Shaping, Sorcerous
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: Seeing is Blindness

The Ebon Dragon’s spite diffuses from all his actions. It is spread not only by clumsy strikes meant to injure, but also through mere exposure to his subtler hate-filled musings. This Charm is a permanent upgrade to its prerequisite, allowing it to be activated to enhance a single target social attack for a three-mote surcharge. In this case, the victim is affected by Seeing is Blindness if (and only if) he spends Willpower to resist a successful social attack. At Essence 5, it automatically upgrades to allow activation to enhance multiple target social attacks. In this case, Knowing is Suffering’s surcharge must be paid for each dot of Magnitude the Infernal wishes to affect, beginning with those listeners in closest proximity.  He may not choose to exempt allies from this effect; the Ebon Dragon’s spite is all-encompassing. A repurchase, also at Essence 5, allows it to be activated to enhance written social attacks for an additional one Willpower surcharge. Doing so enchants that particular written attack, affecting anyone who reads it so long as it exists.

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Exalted: Modern – Lucha Libre Style

July 5, 2011

So, in the interests of updating modern martial arts styles into proper Martial Arts Styles (note the capitalization difference), I went to town on this.  Thus far, it’s gotten a lot of positive feedback, so now I turn it over to you, the public.  Prepare to face… El Diablo Rojo!

Lucha Libre Style
Originally a form of wrestling beginning in Mexico and spreading culturally throughout the world, Lucha Libre Style has become much more than that since the return of the Exalted. In its initial incarnation, it was a matter of honor and entertainment, a usually friendly competition that distilled the essence of martial arts into its core principles: technical performance, challenge, and honor.

When infused with Essence, Lucha Libre Style has become much more. As a Terrestrial Martial Art, it is literally the metaphysical embodiment of honorable conflict, a style that demands the highest performance from its practitioners (traditionally referred to as luchadores). Combatants wear elaborate masks, hiding their identities behind their martial prowess, metaphorically subsuming their very natures and letting their style speak for itself.

Weapons and Armor: Lucha Libre Style is an unarmed martial art. Luchadores may not wear armor, though many design Artifact masks that give them some protective benefits. Masks of any kind never count as armor for the purposes of Lucha Libre Style. See the sidebar, “The Masks We Wear” below.

Additional Requirements: Luchadores must have at least one Martial Arts specialty in (While Masked). Furthermore, learning Lucha Libre Style requires the potential martial artist to have at least one dot in the Face Background.

Special Mechanics: In Lucha Libre Style, there are two paths: the technicians (or técnicos) or the rude ones (or rudos). Technicians are the “good guys,” the noble and heroic luchadores that strive to uphold honor and integrity in the face of overwhelming opposition. Rudos are the “bad guys,” or the individuals who forego the rules for momentary advantage. Each Charm in Lucha Libra Style has a different benefit for a Técnico or Rudo. Luchadores must choose one path upon purchasing their first Lucha Libre Charm. This decision can be changed later; doing so converts all known Lucha Libre Charms from one path to the other, at the cost of all the character’s Face Background. Particularly generous Storytellers may opt to refund experience for this loss, but such is not required.

Axe-Handle Strike
Cost: 2m; Mins: Martial Arts 2, Essence 2; Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Combo-OK
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: None

The luchador performs a single, potent strike by clasping both hands together and bringing them downward onto his opponent, like swinging an axe. This Charm supplements an unarmed Martial Arts attack. Técnico: An unarmed attack enhanced by this Charm counts the luchador’s Strength twice for purposes of determining damage. Rudo: An unarmed attack enhanced by this Charm applies an external penalty to his opponent’s DV equal to any Martial Arts specialties that apply to this attack. This is a fear-based Emotion effect that can be resisted by spending one Willpower.

Skin as Hard as Steel
Cost: 1m; Mins: Martial Arts 2, Essence 2; Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Combo-OK
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: None

The luchador calls upon his inner reserves, bolstering his resistance to his opponent’s attacks and letting him endure the most brutal punishment. Técnico: This Charm adds the luchador’s highest Virtue to his Bashing and Lethal soaks and Hardness. Rudo: This Charm adds half the luchador’s Willpower (round up) to his Bashing and Lethal soaks and Hardness.

Observer-Pleasing Performance
Cost: 3m; Mins: Martial Arts 2, Essence 2; Type: Simple
Keywords: Combo-OK, Emotion
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: None

Luchadores do not merely determine victory by who is left broken and bleeding on the mat. A true lucha is determined in the hearts and spirits of the spectators who observe the match. This Charm may be activated during any scene in which the luchador has landed a blow against his opponent that dealt at least one level of damage. The fighter spends an action gesticulating to the audience, pleading for encouragement or shouting derision. He makes a (Charisma + Martial Arts) roll. Anyone who observes the Charm whose MDV is less than the successes rolled instantly gains a positive Intimacy toward the luchador. Resisting this Intimacy costs two Willpower. Técnico: The Intimacy is one of admiration. Rudo: The Intimacy is one of grudging respect.

Lucha Libre Form
Cost: 5m; Mins: Martial Arts 4, Essence 2; Type: Simple
Keywords: Combo-Basic, Form-type
Duration: One scene
Prerequisite Charms: Axe-Handle Strike, Observer-Pleasing Performance, Skin as Hard as Steel

The luchador draws his strength from his style, and his style draws its strength from him. Noble wrestlers find themselves ennobled by their practice, while baser participants grow ever more successful from their depravity. While this Charm is active, the martial artist can parry Lethal and ranged attacks barehanded without a stunt. Furthermore, all stunts that benefit a Martial Arts roll have their die bonus and reward increased by one (to a maximum of three) so long as the stunt resonates with the martial artist’s chosen path. Técnico: Finally, the luchador adds his Integrity to his Bashing and Lethal soaks for the Charm’s Duration. Rudo: Finally, the luchador adds his Manipulation to all attempts to re-establish surprise for the Charm’s Duration.

Theatrical Decisive Clutch
Cost: 2m; Mins: Martial Arts 4, Essence 3; Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Combo-OK
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Lucha Libre Form

Victory in a formal lucha comes from pinning one’s opponent to the mat. Victory in an informal match is often won by similar means. This Charm supplements an unarmed clinch attempt. Técnico: The luchador adds his highest Virtue to the Damage of the clinch, but the clinch cannot deal Lethal damage under any circumstances. Bashing damage that would spill over into Lethal is lost. Rudo: The luchador’s painful clinch inflicts a non-cumulative -1 internal penalty on all the victim’s non-reflexive rolls as a Crippling effect. This penalty lasts for the remainder of the scene and is in addition to any Wound Penalties inflicted by the clinch.

Honor amongst Luchadores
Cost: None (Varies); Mins: Martial Arts 4, Essence 3; Type: Permanent
Keywords: None
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisite Charms: Theatrical Decisive Clutch

The heart of the luchador is his greatest strength and his greatest weakness. From the strength of his conviction and the purity of his spirit, the martial artist can draw forth the will to endure any hardship. Técnico: Any time the luchador would regain motes from a successful stunt enhanced by a Virtue, he may pay one additional channel of that Virtue to double the stunt reward. Rudo: Whenever the luchador succeeds at a stunt appropriate to his “bad guy” fighting style, he may choose to regain a Virtue channel instead of reaping the normal stunt rewards.

Flying Honor Strike
Cost: 3m; Mins: Martial Arts 4, Essence 3; Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Combo-OK
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Lucha Libre Form

With a bellowing roar, the luchador charges across the ring, hurling himself into his opponent with a fully body strike, be it a kick, elbow drop, or just a bull-headed charge. This Charm supplements an unarmed attack, allowing the martial artist to cover his Move distance as a part of the attack.  Técnico: If the attack hits, both the luchador and his target are knocked prone as a Knockdown effect. The luchador may immediately spend one mote as an innate ability to rise from prone Reflexively. Rudo: If the attack hits, the victim is flung backward a distance equal to the distance the luchador moved in that tick as a Knockback effect.

Tooth-Rattling Combination
Cost: 3m/attack; Mins: Martial Arts 4, Essence 3; Type: Extra Action
Keywords: Combo-OK, Obvious
Duration: Instant
Prerequisite Charms: Flying Honor Strike

With a series of powerful, quick blows, the luchador renders his opponent senseless and defeated. This Charm allows the martial artist to make a stunningly fast flurry of up to (Essence) attacks, ignoring Rate. The entire flurry has a DV penalty equal to the highest penalty of any one attack. Técnico: If the luchador channels a Virtue to enhance one attack, it automatically enhances all attacks in the flurry. Rudo: The flurry’s onslaught penalty is increased by one (non-cumulative). Thus, the first attack in the flurry would inflict a -1 onslaught penalty, the second a -2, and so on.

Complex Submission Hold
Cost: 5m; Mins: Martial Arts 5, Essence 3; Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Combo-OK
Duration: Until released
Prerequisite Charms: Honor amongst Luchadores, Tooth-Rattling Combination

When the luchador’s opponent has tasted the mat, it’s all over but the crying. This Charm may be activated to supplement an attempt to maintain a clinch, inflicting a -1 internal penalty on the victim’s roll for each action the luchador has already controlled the clinch. Técnico: Further, if the luchador wins the contested roll and chooses to pin his opponent and deal no damage, he regains one Willpower. This effect cannot occur again until the martial artist’s DV has refreshed. Rudo: Further, if the luchador chooses to crush his opponent and deal damage, the clinch ignores all armor-based soak and Hardness.

[Sidebar: The Masks We Wear]
To a luchador, his mask is his identity. It is his soul made manifest on his face, his true persona revealed. Each luchador has a special mask made for him, to which he is attuned, much like an Artifact. In fact, some of these masks are Artifacts in their own right, though many are no more than particularly ornate articles of clothing. A luchador’s mask is never less than a Resources 2 purchase, and some opulent masks have been known to cost up to Resources 5.

Attuning to a mask is not as simple as wearing it. Anyone can wear a mask, but not everyone in a mask is a luchador. First, the mask must be made for the wrestler in question. Wearing someone else’s mask confers no benefit. Secondly, the luchador must spend at least one scene attuning to the mask. This costs one temporary Willpower (which is not committed). Finally, the luchador must have at least one dot of the Face Background.

At the moment of attunement, all the luchador’s dots of Face become dependent upon the mask. He selects a name or title to go along with the mask, and only gains the benefits of his Face while using that name. Should the luchador ever renounce or lose his mask, he also loses all accumulated dots of Face. Such loss of Face confers a refund of appropriate experience. Furthermore, he immediately gains a positive Intimacy toward his mask which cannot be eroded unless he renounces or loses his mask.

Wrestlers will occasionally enter into luchas de apuestas, or “betting matches,” where the loser must remove his mask. Such a loss comes with an accompanying loss of Face, and though the luchador may continue to use his mask, he must reattune to it and rebuild any Face he has lost.

Martial artists who change from técnicos to rudos or vice versa go through a similar process, though their loss of Face is not normally refunded. They must reattune to their mask and often acquire entirely new masks, with entirely new names to reflect their altered philosophy. However, many choose to keep their names and masks, building a new legend atop the old. Attunement to a new mask or redemption of an old mask requires a meditative ritual that differs from culture to culture but usually requires at least six hours of contemplation on the nature of the mask and the luchador’s personality, as well as the consumption of some manner of mind-altering substance. A silent vigil atop a Tibetan mountain under the effects of an opium pipe qualifies as thoroughly as a drunken evening of self-pity in a Tijuana dive.

Lucha Libre Style Charms do not function unless the martial artist is wearing an attuned mask.
[End Sidebar]

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Exalted: Modern – Headlines, Week One

July 2, 2011

Below are a few headlines ripped from various news agencies throughout the modern Exalted Earth.  Some of them are based on the actions of my player’s characters, and some are not.  Enjoy!

CNN Talk Show Host Announces Candidacy for President

Daniel Harrison, host of CNN’s highly-rated political crossfire series Truth Hurts, announced his candidacy for the office of the President of the United States on live television, interrupting his grueling interview with Secretary of State Hilary Clinton last night.  His revelation came during an unusual electrical disturbance that caused the station’s lighting to grow to blinding intensity.  However, his intentions were much clearer than what actually happened.  According to Harrison, the sun told him to run for office.  Despite initial suggestions, however, it seems that Harrison has strong, heretofore unknown grass-roots support, and may in fact be a real challenge to President Obama or the GOP candidate.  Harrison’s platform is, at this time, unknown.

First Moon Landing Since 1972 Suffers Mishap

NASA reported late last night that the Ignis I, the first manned moon landing since the Apollo 17, has lost contact with agents on the ground.  The mission, led by Lt. Cal Saint-James, was intended to recover samples of previously untapped potential resources and return them to NASA for study.  According to NASA officials, the space shuttle Ignis last made contact as the vessel was preparing for the actual lunar landing.  No word yet on the condition of Lt. Saint-James or his co-pilot, Second Lt. Neville Marsh, but rumors from sources inside NASA suggest the mission has made contact and that some sort of accident may have occurred.

Tsunami Daydream Tour Off to Rocky Start

Japanese-American pop singer Tsunami Daydream started her Ultimate Wonder Force Neon Tour on a sour note yesterday when equipment malfunctions during her performance of “Glitter Hurricane” nearly ended her first show.  Sources within Eight Foot Records, Daydream’s recording company, cite faulty wiring for amplifier failures that cut out sound during the performance of the star’s chart-topping single.  This followed an apparent attempt on the singer’s life by a crazed fan earlier in the evening.  Daydream’s fans, who refer to themselves as “Daydreamers,” have shown an almost cult-like reverence for the star, sometimes bordering on the obsessive.  Rolling Stones interview with the star on that very subject will be available in next month’s issue.

Black Hills Fire Threatens Hundreds

A wildfire in the Black Hills region of South Dakota grew rapidly out of control Tuesday, forcing the National Parks Service to issue an evacuation warning for the surrounding area.  Though the area is sparsely populated, the fire was dangerously near Ringtail City, and residents were advised to seek shelter away from their homes.  The National Parks Service did conduct a daring rescue of a couple who had been exploring the Black Caves, and no fatalities were reported.  The fire was contained before it reached civilized areas, and the cause of the fire remains unknown.

Unexplained Solar Phenomena Concern Scientists

A series of unexplained solar flares, spanning the last week and a half, have been the cause of concern for a number of astrological officials at NASA, sources say.  Experts have been unable to cite the cause of these unusual bursts of activity, though their effects have been measurable.  According to researchers, these solar flares could cause electronic devices to malfunction or shut down, interfere with radio or digital communication, and could even have far-reaching effects on ultraviolet radiation levels across the globe.  Citizens are advised to use caution during extended periods outdoors.