Archive for June, 2016

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Anti-Fair Folk Weapon

June 30, 2016

I wonder if this is too niche…

Faekiller (Orichalcum and Starmetal Powerbow – Artifact ***)

The Fair Folk have ever been a threat to Creation, for it stands for all that they hate: stability, definition, reality. The Exalted of the First Age knew this and forged numerous weapons to do battle with the shapeless hordes beyond Creation’s rim. One of the least of these weapons is Faekiller, an orichalcum powerbow forged into the shape of a roaring lion’s mouth, with fangs of starmetal and starmetal filaments running through the bowstring. Faekiller was wielded by Night’s Prurient Scythe, an Eclipse Caste of the high First Age, and was placed in his tomb during the Usurpation. When the Fair Folk invaded Creation, a daring Sidereal whose name has never been successfully recorded broke into the tomb, daring the anger of the Solar’s hungry ghost, and retrieved the bow. Where it has gone since that time, no one knows.

Evocations of Faekiller
When a Solar or Sidereal attunes to Faekiller, its attacks deal aggravated damage to Fair Folk. Note that this does not include Wyld mutants, but does include hobgoblins. For an additional 2m commitment, the bow deals aggravated damage to anyone it strikes.

Subverting the Pretense
Cost: Varies; Mins: Essence 1
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: None
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: None

The magic of the Fair Folk is nothing but dreams and whispers, no match for the harsh truth of reality. This Evocation may be activated when the wielder makes an attack against a target and that target uses Fair Folk defensive magic. The wielder may pay motes equal to the activation cost of the defensive magic to nullify that magic against this attack. If the magic has a duration greater than Instant, it functions normally against further attacks unless the wielder of Faekiller again pays the mote cost to nullify it.

Ignoring your Imagination
Cost: 6m; Mins: Essence 2
Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Dual
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: Subverting the Pretense

It is not enough to pretend to have armor or weapons. Against Faekiller, you must actually have them. An attack supplemented by this Evocation ignores all soak and Hardness from gossamer armor. Against Fair Folk, it is also unblockable by gossamer weapons.

Fate Becomes You
Cost: 5m (+1W); Mins: Essence 2
Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Uniform
Duration: Instant (One Scene)
Prerequisites: Subverting the Pretense

This Evocation represents the ultimate weapon against Fair Folk: Fate itself. When an attack supplemented by this Evocation hits a Fair Folk, that Fair Folk is temporarily hauled inside Fate and given a destiny. That destiny is almost always death at the hands of Faekiller’s wielder, and so is very short. For the remainder of the scene, the wielder of Faekiller re-rolls 6s on Archery attacks made with Faekiller against that Fair Folk until 6s no longer appear. For an additional Willpower cost, that same destiny (and its resultant re-rolls) can be applied to any target.

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A Pair of Artifacts

June 21, 2016

This particular pair is intended to work together for a specific character who specializes in Defend Other actions.

Shield of Melthar-Khun (Orichalcum Shield – Artifact ***)

Currently hanging in the trophy room of Satrap Ledaal Gao, the Shield of Melthar-Khun was forged by and for its namesake, a shining Solar Exalted of the Dawn Caste in the high First Age. When one of his circlemates fell in battle against a rampaging behemoth, Melthar-Khun swore he would never again allow such a thing to occur. In preparation for his circlemate’s reincarnation, he undertook a training regime of strict defense, becoming one of the finest vanguards in the Solar host. Thanks largely to this shield, Melthar-Khun and his young, reincarnated circlemate were among the last to fall during the Usurpation.

The shield itself is a concave hemi-cylinder, emblazoned with a turtle-shell pattern and lacquered with a pair of twin lightning bolts. It seems almost to leap to the defense of others, which has occasionally proven detrimental to the wielder’s personal safety.

Evocations of the Shield of Melthar-Khun
A Solar Exalt who attunes to the shield and takes a Defend Other action subtracts one additional Initiative from any attacker who beats his defense and chooses to strike his defended charge. The Solar steals this additional Initiative.

Under My Protection
Cost: 3m; Mins: Essence 1
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: None
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: None

Those who would strike the defended see their blades turned aside by the edge of the shield, for it will not tolerate their temerity. This Evocation can be activated when the wielder has taken a Defend Other action, his Defense has been overcome by an attacker, and the attacker chooses to strike the defended charge. Each 1 on the attacker’s roll to strike the charge subtracts a success from the attacker’s final roll.

Iron Body Stance
Cost: None; Mins: Essence 1
Type: Permanent
Keywords: None
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisites: Under My Protection

Let it not be said that the Shield of Melthar-Khun does not protect its wielder as well. Whenever a Solar who knows this Evocation and is wielding the Shield of Melthar-Khun takes a Defend Other action, his Soak is increased by 2 and his Hardness is increased by 1 for the duration of the Defend Other action. This soak and Hardness explicitly stack with all other sources.

Guardian’s Retributive Strike
Cost: 3m; Mins: Essence 1
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Counterattack, Decisive-only
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: Iron Body Stance

Woe to those who would strike the charge of the wielder of the Shield of Melthar-Khun. The wielder may use this Evocation in response to any attack while he is using a Defend Other action that beats his defense and chooses to strike at his protected charge, creating a Melee counterattack with the Shield of Melthar-Khun that occurs after the opponent’s attack result but before the damage has been rolled. This attack functions as a regular decisive attack. Guardian’s Retributive Strike does not count as the wielder’s combat action and cannot be used in response to another counterattack.

And its companion piece –

Mushi Armor – Orichalcum and White Jade Articulated Plate (Artifact ***)

Forged during the Shogunate for a sworn brotherhood, five identical suits of this armor were initially created, though only three are known to exist in the Time of Tumult. Each is a suit of immaculately crafted articulated plate, white jade decorated in orichalcum trim. One suit stands in the hallways of the Imperial Manse, one in the storehouses of Lookshy, and one is wielded by a newly-Exalted Anathema in the threshold.

The armor is designed to protect the wearer even as he or she protects her sworn brothers. It tightens the bonds of friendship until they are themselves armor against even the most grievous attacks. A full brotherhood of Dragon-Blooded, each contained within a suit of this armor, would be a potent force indeed.

Evocations of Mushi Armor

A Solar or Dragon-Blooded who attunes to this armor gains 1 point of Initiative when taking a Defend Other action. This benefit cannot occur more than once per turn.

The Ties that Bind
Cost: 5m; Mins: Essence 1
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: None
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: None

The first power of the armor is to bind its wearer to his charge, ensuring that a firm bond is forged between brothers. This Evocation may be activated whenever the wearer is attacked while taking a Defend Other action while wearing this armor. He automatically gains a Minor Tie of brotherhood toward his charge. If he already has a Tie of brotherhood, that Tie is instead strengthened by one level.

The Brother’s Bond
Cost: 2m; Mins: Essence 1
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Perilous, Withering-only
Duration: One turn
Prerequisites: The Ties that Bind

The stronger the wearer’s love for his brother, the stronger the armor becomes. This Evocation may be activated whenever the wearer is attacked while taking a Defend Other action while wearing this armor. His withering soak increases by an amount determined by the strength of his Tie toward the defended character: +2 soak for a Minor Tie, +3 soak for a Major Tie, or +4 soak for a Defining Tie.

Self-as-Selflessness Stance
Cost: 1m/Initiative; Mins: Essence 1
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: None
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: The Brother’s Bond

“Those who would strike my brother would strike me.” This is the mudra of the Mushi Armor. This Evocation may be activated whenever the wearer is attacked while taking a Defend Other action while wearing this armor. He may steal from the attacker a number of points of Initiative equal to his Tie towards the defended character: 1 Initiative for a Minor Tie, 2 for a Major, and 3 for a Defining Tie. This Initiative is stolen immediately before the attack is resolved, which can affect the outcome of a decisive attack.

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An Artifact (Surprise!)

June 17, 2016

This one’s actually for me; I may end up using it in a game, if I ever play one!

 

Spirit Razor (Orichalcum Dire Lance – Artifact ***)
An exorcist’s dream, Spirit Razor has existed since the High First Age, a tool for Solar Exalted to root out the intruders from the Underworld by understanding and banishing them. An orichalcum haft-and-blade with an azure tassel binding at the join, Spirit Razor is an elegant weapon, engraved with dozens of mudras and prayers to the Unconquered Sun and dedicated to the placation of ghosts. Though it is efficacious at doing so, this is not a weapon made simply to slay spirits. It is meant to be carried by one who truly wishes to understand and benefit them.

Evocations of Spirit Razor
A Solar Exalted who attunes to Spirit Razor finds his blade more efficaciously slices through ghosts. When using Spirit-Cutting Attack against a ghost, its cost is reduced to 0m.

Reading the Immaterial
Cost: 3m; Mins: Essence 1
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Withering-only
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: None

Spirit Razor grants its wielder uncanny insight into the minds of spirits, the better to aid in placating them or, in the case of ghosts, laying them to rest. This Evocation may be activated after a successful withering attack with Spirit Razor against a spirit. Reading the Immaterial allows the wielder to make a reflexive Read Intentions action against that spirit, re-rolling 6s until 6s no longer appear. If successful, the wielder learns one of the spirit’s Intimacies. Against a ghost, he also learns the nature of one of its Fetters.

Rending the Immaterial
Cost: 5m; Mins: Essence 2
Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Decisive-only
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: Reading the Immaterial

Spirits belong in the spirit world, and their invasion into Creation can be seen as an affront. Still, Spirit Razor does not wish simply to drive them away, but to slay their concerns so they do not return. This Evocation supplements a decisive attack with Spirit Razor against a spirit. If successful, Rending the Immaterial can immediately reduce the strength of a known Intimacy or Fetter by one level. If this reduces the Intimacy or Fetter to non-existence, the spirit takes no damage from the attack.

Putting the Immaterial to Rest
Cost: None; Mins: Essence 2
Type: Permanent
Keywords: None
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisites: Ghost-Eating Technique, Rending the Immaterial

Souls are a precious commodity, and should not be wasted simply by devouring them. When a Solar who knows this Evocation uses Ghost-Eating Technique to slay a ghost, he may choose to regain no Essence. If he so chooses, the ghost is sent to Lethe rather than devoured by the Solar, sending the spirit on to its properly ordained reincarnation. The catharsis of doing so allows the Solar to gain one temporary Willpower; this may put the Solar above his normal maximum, or even above ten.

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Yet Another Artifact

June 15, 2016

Maybe I should make this ‘blog about Artifacts… it certainly seems like that’s where my interests have been lately!

 

The Adder’s Fang (Green Jade Throwing Knife – Artifact ***)

Forged during the height of the Shogunate for one of Shogun Shuoqing’s favored daimyos, the Adder’s Fang is a perfectly balanced throwing knife of green jade with a trio of pearls set into the hilt. The Fang has a long and storied history of murder, including the assassination of Shogun Shuoqing by his daimyo. In fact, everyone who has ever given the Adder’s Fang as a gift has, thus far, been killed by it. Whether this is a true curse or merely ill fortune is hotly debated by those who discuss such things.

Evocations of the Adder’s Fang

A Solar or Dragon-Blood who attunes to the Adder’s Fang grants the weapon the Balanced and Special tags. The Special tag indicates that the Fang, once thrown, returns to its wielder’s hand like an Infinite Chakram. The Fang otherwise behaves as a Light Artifact Thrown weapon with the Thrown (Short) tag.

Adder’s Venom
Cost: 3m; Mins: Essence 1
Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Decisive-only
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: None

The least and most obvious power of the Adder’s Fang is to produce a dose of a highly-potent nerve toxin, injected into a victim’s bloodstream by even the smallest scratch. The toxin goes to work on the victim’s chakras in seconds, slowing his reactions and causing his muscles to spasm and twitch uncontrollably. A successful decisive attack made with this Evocation injects the target with a dose of Snake Venom.

Toxic Bond
Cost: 1m; Mins: Essence 1
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Perilous
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: Adder’s Venom

The power of the Adder’s Fang is not merely in the wound it deals, but in the venom that courses through the target’s veins thereafter. By activating this Evocation, the wielder can forge an instantaneous bond between herself and any target currently suffering from at least one dose of Snake Venom applied through this Evocation’s prerequisite. This bond funnels the strength sapped by the venom from the victim into the wielder. Any Initiative lost due to Adder’s Venom this turn is immediately gained by the wielder.

Venomous Whisper
Cost: 5m,1W; Mins: Essence 2
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Psyche
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: Toxic Bond

The magic of the Adder’s Fang is such that it can poison the mind as well as the body. This Evocation can be activated only when a target is suffering from Adder’s Venom and has been the target of Toxic Bond in the same scene. While the poison courses through his veins, he begins to hallucinate, and the wielder of the blade gets a single, tortured glimpse of his psyche, functioning as a reflexive Read Intentions action to determine a Minor Tie. In that instant, she can metaphysically twist and cause that existing Tie of Minor strength to invert its emotional context, from hate to love, for example, or from pleasure to disgust. She must know the Tie she seeks to twist, and she cannot change the emotional context in any way but reversing it – she could not turn a man’s love of his wife into lust, for example – only hatred.

If used against the same target, and the same Tie, in the same scene, reduce the Evocation’s cost to 3m and the Evocation can intensify the Tie to Major strength.

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With Apologies to Stan Lee – Redux

June 14, 2016

With the advent of Evocations, it seemed like it might be time to bring back one of my personal favorite toys from my 2E homebrew.  Enjoy!

 

The Captain’s Bulwark – Orichalcum Shield (***)

The Captain’s Bulwark dates back to the Primordial War, when an aspiring Twilight forged the discus of unbreakable orichalcum to protect his circlemate from the worst ravages the enemies of the gods could offer. It was carried into battle by one of the finest warriors of the Solar host, who won victory after victory against the spawn of the Primordials. In the end, the warrior himself was lost in a reality flux in battle with one of the Primordials themselves, and neither his Exaltation nor the shield have been seen since.

The Captain’s Bulwark was a concave disk of orichalcum with straps of behemoth-leather. Its design was deliberately subdued, providing a greater focus on the Captain than the shield. Its outer surface was most famously lacquered with a series of concentric circles around a central image of the sun, though its current appearance could be wildly different, if it even still exists.

Evocations of the Captain’s Bulwark:

A Solar who attunes to the Captain’s Bulwark gives the weapon the Thrown (Short) tag.

Righteous Ricochet
Cost: 5m; Mins: Essence 1
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Decisive-only
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: None

The least of the Bulwark’s powers is a simple ricochet trick, guided by its wielder’s Essence. This Evocation can only be activated when the wielder succeeds at a withering Thrown attack made with the Captain’s Bulwark. If the attack is successful, immediately before gaining any Initiative, the wielder can make one reflexive decisive Thrown attack with the Captain’s Bulwark at any one target within Close range of the first target.

Righteous Recall
Cost: None; Mins: Essence 1
Type: Permanent
Keywords: None
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisites: Call the Blade

The Captain’s Bulwark always returns to its wielder’s hand, sometimes by thoroughly circuitous routes. This Evocation is a permanent enhancement to its prerequisite, reducing the Charm’s mote cost to zero if it is being used to recall the Captain’s Bulwark.

Righteous Recoil
Cost: 6m; Mins: Essence 1
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: None
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: None

The nature of the Bulwark is to absorb the force of any incoming attack, and so it does. This Evocation may be used in response to any attack that overcame its wielder’s Parry Defense, if that Defense was calculated using the Captain’s Bulwark. Any knockdown or knockback effects caused by that attack are wholly nullified, as the Bulwark absorbs and disperses the force of the blow without consequence to its wielder.

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And Another One!

June 9, 2016

I’ve been kind of on an Artifacts/Evocations kick lately.  Maybe next week I’ll start talking about some of the changes to 3rd Ed from 2nd.  For now, though, another Artifact!

 

Aegis of Compassion – White Jade and Starmetal Daiklave (***)

One of the prized possessions of House V’Neef, the Aegis of Compassion has been used (some would say abused) to hunt and subdue Anathema for two centuries. Wyld Hunts bearing the Aegis of Compassion have a much higher rate of returning with a captive to the Nail, and the Empress herself has commended its wielders no fewer than three times. Despite, or perhaps because of, these accolades, the blade feels almost sullen in the hands of a shikari, functional but mildly resentful. In truth, it was forged not to hunt, but to preserve.

The Aegis of Compassion is crafted as a long, square-ended daiklave of white jade with an intricate draconic shape cut into the width of the blade. Three starmetal rings are punched through the back edge of the blade, and a long, crimson tassel dangles from the pommel. It bears a single socket for a hearthstone.

Evocations of the Aegis of Compassion

A Solar or Dragon-Blood who attunes to the Aegis of Compassion for five motes can replace the Lethal tag with the Bashing tag at will.

Striking the Wicked Hand
Cost: 3m; Mins: Essence 1
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: None
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: None

The Aegis of Compassion ever strives to protect its wielder, even when it sullenly resents the uses to which it is put. When an attacker strikes the wielder, the blade attempts to parry almost of its own accord, striking the attacker’s hand and weakening his blow. This Evocation can be activated in response to a withering attack that successfully strikes the wielder despite his Parry Defense, immediately reducing the attack’s minimum damage by one. This effect can reduce the minimum damage of an attack made by a non-Artifact weapon to zero.

Pacify the Hurtful Arms
Cost: 4m; Mins: Essence 1
Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Decisive-only
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: Striking the Wicked Hand

The Aegis of Compassion dislikes other weapons, for they are meant to injure. The blade strikes truest when disarming a foe rather than slaying him. Unfortunately for the sword, it has too often been used to do both in rapid succession. This Evocation supplements a disarm gambit, reducing its difficulty by one and re-rolling 6s until 6s fail to appear. This gambit cannot be used to disarm a shield; if so attempted, the gambit automatically fails. Shields are not weapons, at least in the eyes of the Aegis. Perhaps some part of it wishes it had been forged into a shield instead of a sword.

Aegis of Compassion
Cost: 3m; Mins: Essence 2
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Perilous
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: Pacify the Hurtful Arms

With this final Evocation, for which the blade itself was named, the wielder can produce cover from any ambient terrain – or even, if no such terrain is present, from a blurring afterimage of the sword. This Evocation functions as a reflexive but otherwise standard Take Cover action, which lasts for only an instant, enough to assist against a single attack and no more. The cover provided depends on the stunt used to describe creating it – a level one stunt provides light cover, level two provides heavy, and a level three stunt provides full cover. This Evocation functions by using the blade to chop cover from the surrounding scenery – hacking down a tree to fall in the way of an incoming attack, churning up a clod of dirt and clay to intercept a blow, or even simply utilizing the blade’s blurring afterimage to provide an instant’s cover. This last option is always available and always counts as a level one stunt. Remember that repetitive stunts rapidly lose interest and thus only the afterimage can be used repeatedly to create cover. Any other cover so created must be original and imaginative.

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Another Artifact!

June 8, 2016

Soul’s Reflection – Moonsilver Grimscythe (****)

Forged by a No Moon sorcerer for her impulsive Changing Moon lover and packmate, Soul’s Reflection is intended to give the wild-hearted trickster some pause before charging into a situation – or at least to better equip him if and when he charges in anyway. The haft of the grimscythe is plain, but the head is shaped like a bird’s skull, with the blade extending beneath the beak. The blade itself is polished to a mirror-shine that never fades or tarnishes, within which can sometimes be seen the true nature of things.

Evocations of Soul’s Reflection

A Solar or Lunar Exalt who attunes to Soul’s Reflection for five motes finds his body moving instinctively to react to danger, adding one die to his Join Battle.

Intuiting the Heart
Cost: 3m; Mins: Essence 1
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: None
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: None

When the wielder of Soul’s Reflection gazes into the mirror-sheen of the blade, he can see the truth of a person reflected therein with but a single, intuitive glance. This Evocation is a reflexive Read Intentions action to determine one of a target’s Intimacies.

Intuiting the Soul
Cost: 4m; Mins: Essence 1
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: None
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: Intuiting the Heart

True intuition is more than simply a hunch, but a deeper understanding which the mirror-blade of Soul’s Reflection can impart in an instantaneous flash of inspiration. This Evocation is a reflexive Profile Character action that can be taken after a handful of seconds of interaction rather than a full five minutes.

Intuition’s Shield
Cost: None; Mins: Essence 2
Type: Permanent
Keywords: None
Duration: Permanent
Prerequisites: Intuiting the Soul

Knowledge is power, and intuition is nothing if not knowledge. This Evocation provides a permanent +1 non-Charm bonus to the wielder’s Guile against any character he has profiled using its prerequisite.

Robbery of Instinct
Cost: 2m; Mins: Essence 1
Type: Supplemental
Keywords: Withering-only
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: None

It is not enough to function on instinct alone. Understanding of one’s opponents brings a keener knowledge of their movements. This Evocation supplements a withering attack, allowing the Exalt to steal a number of additional Initiative from the target on a successful attack equal to the number of that target’s Intimacies he knows.

Application of Instinct
Cost: 2m; Mins: Essence 1
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Perilous
Duration: One Action
Prerequisites: Robbery of Instinct

True instinct is more than intuition; it is action melded with thought, bordering on precognition. This Evocation may be activated to raise the wielder’s Evasion by 3 against the last enemy he has profiled using a Profile Character action.

Sudden Instinct
Cost: 5m, 1W; Mins: Essence 2
Type: Reflexive
Keywords: Clash, Decisive-only
Duration: Instant
Prerequisites: Application of Instinct, Intuiting the Heart

Against those he understands, the Exalt moves like lightning, acting before even he fully understands why. Yet instinct is not action without thought, but one with it, melding the two into a fluid whole. This Evocation allows the wielder to make a reflexive clash attack with Soul’s Reflection against an attack directed at him by a target against whom he has successfully used a Read Intentions or Profile Character action in the same scene, regardless of his place in the Initiative order. This does not count as the wielder’s combat action.