Archive for the ‘Exalted: Modern’ Category

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Exalted: Modern – Ride vs. Sail

February 27, 2012

There’s always been some controversy in Exalted about when to apply the Ride Ability vs. when to apply the Sail Ability.  Obviously, Sail applies to boats and Ride applies to horses.  But what about First Age flying vehicles?  What about living boats?  It’s not a land-based vs. water-based controversy either, because sand-boats and ice-boats exist.  In a modern setting, this becomes even more confusing and, problematically, much more relevant.  What Ability do you use to drive a car?  A tank?  A helicarrier?

For that reason, I have split the Abilities along the following lines: any vehicle or mount that requires a crew of more than one person uses the Sail Ability.  Any vehicle or mount that requires only one person to pilot it uses the Ride Ability.  This works especially well when considering the Solar Charms of both Abilities: Salty Dog Method seems unusual in a car, but could easily apply to a tank or helicarrier.  Horse Skids Trick is just silly when applied to a submarine, but is amazing in a Ferrari.  I hope the differences split nicely through the other splats as well, though I haven’t compared them yet.  Additional input is welcome.

Additional Charms are still required to apply Ride Charms to sentient, consenting mounts, though as a House Rule, I feel that should not apply to either the Familiar Background or the Solar’s Lunar Mate.  Yes, this makes Solar/Lunar pairs exceptionally powerful.  No, I don’t have a problem with that, especially when they have to content with some jackass driving a Mad Max tankcar.  However, this does come with a caveat.  Any existing Ride or Sail Charms that allow inanimate objects (such as cars or motorcycles) to act without a driver present (such as one of the uses of Master Horseman’s Techniques) gains the Obvious Keyword while it is doing so.  Thus, using that Charm to call a horse to your side would not be Obvious, but using it to make your unpiloted car drive to you would be.  This occurs even if you use tinted windows or some other bullshit to try to sneak around it.  It’s magic, and everyone can tell.

Personally, I hope this lends itself to making the Eclipse Caste more like international superspies and less like a useless appendage with an awesome Anima power.  Imagine the guy leaning out the door of his car, skidding it into a four-wheel drift using his foot to steer, while he fires both pistols at an oncoming semi’s wheels/driver, the pavement screeching past just millimeters from his head.  Imagine the admiral aboard his naval carrier, guiding it supernaturally unseen through waves of enemy sensors and patrol boats.  Imagine the spy dashing from the cocktail party on the heels of an international war criminal, jumping into a speedboat and rocketing after his quarry with his vessel responding like a living thing beneath his touch.  Imagine the tank commander, grimly leading his men as his vehicle is pounded by enemy fire that never quite seems to penetrate its armor, no matter how horrific the bombardment.

What stunts will you perform?

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Exalted: Modern – Crunch from a Twilight Caste

December 20, 2011

One of my players, who has intermittently gone by the Internet handle “Waltermandias,” is playing a Twilight Caste in my game.  He has found himself to be a particularly capable hacker, since computer use is governed by Lore.  Rather than simply accept this as a side-effect, he has designed a Lore Charm to help with the hacking process.  He also created a device that slices matter into monomolecular sheets and permits them to be handled… and, incidentally, thrown.  Behold, the fruits of a Twilight Caste!

Digital Barrier Permeation Technique

Cost: 3m; Mins: Lore 3, Essence 1; Type: Supplemental

Keywords: Combo-OK

Duration: Instant

Prerequisite Charms: None

To the Solar Exalted, mundane defenses such as antivirus software and firewalls are laughable.  This Charm enhances a miscel­laneous action to hack a computer system. The Solar communicates via a complex programming code with the little god of the security system.  He exerts his unassailable authority, making success automatic. If this effect is opposed by another Charm or magical effect, add the character’s Essence in automatic successes to the (Wits + Lore) roll to oppose the rival magic.

Fine Atomic Tachyon Emission (F.A.T.E.) Render (Artifact 3)

This device takes the form of a glove, composed mostly of one of the Magical Materials.  The fingers and palm are covered with unusual protruberances and sockets, some of which emit faint force vectors, and some of which create tiny vacuums.  In tandem, they can slice materials into single-molecule wide sheets.  While this reduces the object by too little to ever damage it, the sheets can be extremely useful as components or materials for various crafting projects.  However, as a side effect, the sheets can be hurled by the wearer of the Render to devastating effect.  Non-magical armor provides no soak against the Thrown discs, and non-magical weapons used to parry the discs are destroyed, as per Beam Weapons in Manual of Exalted Power: Alchemicals.

Speed: 5          Accuracy: +3       Damage: +6L        Rate: 3          Range: 50       Mins: Dex 3, Thrown 3         Attune: 8m     Tags: P

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Exalted Modern: Magical Materials

November 29, 2011

In Exalted, there are Five Magical Materials that are associated with the various types of Exalts.  These wondrous materials are derived from more or less (some much, much less) common phenomena throughout Creation, and can be distilled, refined, and worked by master craftsmen to make Artifacts, Manses, and much, much more.  Once worked, the Magical Materials are nigh indestructible.

On Earth, those materials are significantly less common, but by no means out of reach.  Each one can be created by specific rituals or by rarely occurring phenomena, but beside the ore itself, many Artifacts and Manses were created before the Cataclysm.  While rarely left in easily accessible places or completely intact, much of the Magical Materials yet remain.  Dedicated, crafty, or lucky artisans can still find or produce significant wonders with the materials at their disposal.

Orichalcum: Associated with the Solar Exalted, orichalcum is a magically purified gold that shines with the light of the Unconquered Sun and radiates heat when touched.  Raw orichalcum can occur naturally when deposits of gold are exposed, over the course of decades or centuries, to flows of magma and frequent sunlight.  As might be expected, naturally occurring orichalcum is rare.  However, artificial orichalcum can be created by dedicated ritualists as described in Oadenol’s Codex.  The procedures, while rare and difficult to find or recreate, still exist and still function exactly as described.  While no one has produced artificial orichalcum in anything resembling mass quantities since before the Usurpation, the Shogunate has, from time to time, found itself requiring small amounts for their projects, and some remains in storage facilities throughout the world.

Moonsilver: Favored by the Lunar Exalted, moonsilver is a pure, almost liquid silver metal that adapts rapidly to stimuli.  Some believe it may possess a trace sentience.  Naturally occurring moonsilver is rarer even than orichalcum.  When the moon’s light shines regularly on a tract of the Wyld, the purity of the light may distill the raw chaos into an argent form.  As there are almost no Wyld zones on Earth, moonsilver is almost unheard of.  However, in the Wyld, the Lunars have found ways to harvest the material from the hostile environs of their own worlds, so the processing of moonsilver does still continue.  The rituals for doing so function exactly as described in Oaedenol’s Codex.

Jade: Associated with the Dragon-Blooded, jade is more than simply the precious stone we have come to know.  Once, jade was found in deposits regularly, and Terrestrial Artifacts abounded.  However, with Gaia’s departure and the slumber of the Elemental Dragons, that jade has decayed into the stone with which we are familiar.  Naturally occurring magical jade can be found in places where strong currents of elemental energy revitalize the dull stone, most often in uncapped demesnes (which are rare enough).  However, the stone can be worked intentionally be exposing it to powerful sources of elemental energy.  Elementals, demesnes, Manses, some Artifacts, and the anima flux of a Dragon-Blooded Exalt can all function.  The thaumaturgical ritual to do so (2, Charisma, 3, one day) requires the artificer to meld the elemental Essence with the small god of the jade, convincing them to work together to form something greater than the sum of their parts.  This ritual is well-known throughout the Shogunate, and less common outside that. 

Starmetal: This Magical Materials is associated with the Sidereal Exalted, and, as such, has seen very little use since the Cataclysm.  Starmetal occurs, as the name suggests, when a star falls from the firmament of the sky and falls to Earth.  The whys and whens of these occurrences are known only to the Maidens, though it happens only seldom.  The Sidereals were once able to track these falling stars with eerie accuracy through the Loom of Fate, though they have obviously not been able to do so since Yu-Shan was sealed.  With the return of the Sidereals, the (relatively) numerous accumulations of starmetal over the millennia remain untapped and waiting for their use.  Of particular note, a blue ice field in Antarctica seems to collect an unusual quantity of fallen stars.  The methods for refining starmetal remain as described in Oaedenol’s Codex, and are known only in the most obscure libraries and, of course, in Yu-Shan.

Soulsteel: Before the advent of the Abyssal Exalted, soulsteel had no associated Exalt type.  A curiosity in the First Age, soulsteel has become the most common Magical Material in the Modern Age (though “common” by necessity remains somewhat rare).  Soulsteel does not occur naturally, but is a composite of ore from the depths of the Labyrinth in the Underworld and beaten souls, usually ghosts.  The Deathlords all know how to forge soulsteel, and have been doing so industriously for centuries, in anticipation of arming their soldiers.  With the coming of the Abyssals, those soldiers have come.  Abyssals themselves are capable of forging the soulsteel as described in Oadenol’s Codex, though the difficulty of entering the Labyrinth naturally makes acquisition of the raw materials somewhat difficult.

Others: Some other materials are not officially Magical Materials, but bear special mention.  Vitriol, one of the naturally occurring elements in Malfeas, is often associated with the Infernal Exalted, and can be used to taint the other Magical Materials as described in the Manual of Exalted Power: Infernals.  Adamant is a crystalline substance often associated with one of the Alchemical Exalted castes.  While it does not resonate with any of the major Exalted types as a whole, it is often used in Artifacts intended for use by mortals, and occurs as discussed in Oadenol’s Codex.  Gossamer is a product of the Wyld and human dreams, and is used by Fair Folk to create splendid wonders as described in Graceful Wicked Masques.  Finally, though the gods rarely received prayer (and certainly not enough to fill their coffers as they once did), quintessence and ambrosia do still occur in Heaven, as described in the Compass of Celestial Directions: Yu-Shan.  The few remaining natural collection locations for quintessence are hotly contested areas in the otherwise decayed and ravaged streets of Yu-Shan, and individual gods hoard their meager supplies of ambrosia like violent misers.  After all, who knows when the next desperate prayer to a long-forgotten god will arrive?

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Exalted: Modern – Headlines, Week Ten

November 14, 2011

All fictional.

Latest Report Indicates Vatican Disturbance was Self-Inflicted

Last week, the Vatican released a report indicating that representatives from the Independent Protectorate of Itzlan assaulted Vatican guards and stole several important religious items from the Vatican itself.  Latest reports, released by individuals within the United States government, indicate that the perpetrators were not, in fact, representatives from Itzlan but were rogue agents of the Vatican itself.  More damning evidence suggests that they had previously been employed by the Vatican as religious assassins, though the Catholic Church has long denied any such organizations.  The reply from the Vatican has been described as “apoplectic,” and has officially denounced both the report and the Independent Protectorate as “Anathema-manipulated tripe.”

Angola Announces Space Program

The Republic of Angola, still recovering from a recent military coup, has released reports of a new space program with the intent of reaching the moon.  Though the nation lacks significant educational or even governmental infrastructure, the reports do indicate that it has at least one functioning space shuttle and the means of launching and recovering the shuttle once its trip is completed.  Independent investigation by the media-active protectorate of Itzlan has confirmed these reports.  The U.N. has openly condemned such “frivolous” use of resources, though the current warlord of Angola, calling himself the Bull of Angola, has assured representatives that the space program is not depriving the nation’s economic and social programs of any funding.  The announcement follows a similar announcement from Japan, as well as a renewal of the space program from the United States with a manned mission to the moon planned for an indeterminate date.

Alien Structures Appear on Moon

Scientists at NASA reported earlier than an unusual, apparently man-made series of structures have begun appearing on the lunar surface.  Initial investigation is made difficult, but the report suggests that the structures are some manner of pre-fabricated settlement, conforming to basic requirements of human life.  Though electronic scans have been inconclusive, NASA experts have indicated that a vessel similar in appearance to the alien vessel that appeared over Mexico City earlier this year was sighted near these structures.  Whether it is the same vessel or a new visitor has yet to be confirmed.

Massive Sinkhole Swallows Siberian Village

A seismic sinkhole has erased a Siberian administrative center from the Russian map, geologists say.  Bolshoy Uluy, the administrative center of the Bolsheuluysky district in Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, was literally swallowed by the seismic activity early Wednesday morning.  Investigators have produced a preliminary report, noting specifically that no such seismic activity was predicted or even likely.  No survivors have been found, and, according to the report, none are suspected.  Investigators were unable to measure the depth of the sinkhole, though their initial readings suggest it is more than a mile across, making it the largest recorded sinkhole in the world.  Reports suggest the sinkhole is a perfect geometric circle, with smooth sides and no visible bottom.  Noted geologists from the International Union of Geological Sciences have not been able to provide any explanation for this event.

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Exalted: Modern – Headlines, Week Nine

October 26, 2011

All fictional.

Disturbance at Vatican Ends with Shots Fired

A reported disturbance at the Vatican Friday ended with gunfire, sources report.  According to sources within the Vatican, representatives from the Independent Protectorate of Itzlan entered the Vatican for an audience with Pope Implacable I.  As the representatives were leaving, a dispute followed over the possession of several items of religious significance.  The dispute ended with the representatives discharging a firearm and speeding away from the Vatican in a chase that disabled one police vehicle and left the officer in stable condition.  Pope Implacable has issued a decree that the Exalted (or Anathema) were involved, and that the incident was indicative of an attempt to silence the Catholic Church and its views on the “demon-possessed.”

Evocorp Announces Development of Ground-Breaking Undersea Exploration Technology

The Berlin-based Evolution Corporation, or Evocorp, has announced seventeen new patents for previously unreleased technology that allows scientists unprecedented data regarding the ocean’s floor.  Among other inventions, the corporation claims to have perfected a vessel that permits undersea travel even into the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the world’s oceans and previously unreachable due to oceanic pressure.  Dr. Rebecca Schraeder, one of Evocorp’s field researchers, said, “The work we’ve been able to do is absolutely astounding.  We’ve found species that biology previously believed to be impossible, and that’s just scraping the surface.”  When asked about Evocorp’s next focus, Dr. Schraeder said, “We’re looking into revitalizing the space program.  With this new technology, the moon isn’t quite so far away.”

“Mother Bright” Offers Refuge to Disenfranchised in Buenos Aires

A local woman, long known as “Mother Bright,” has awed and impressed Buenos Aires and the world with her philanthropist tendencies.  Now, following Crimea’s invitation to the world’s women, Mother Bright has upped the ante, inviting the poor and disenfranchised of all nationalities, ages, genders, races, and religions to come to Buenos Aires, where she has offered to provide for them in a radical new social commune.  Openly Exalted, Mother Bright has insisted that charity begins at home, but that she cannot reach everyone in the world.  “It is our responsibility, our duty, to improve the lives of those less fortunate than us,” she said in an interview Friday, “but that doesn’t just mean those less fortunate near us.”  The government of Buenos Aires has claimed no involvement in Mother Bright’s declaration of sanctuary, and has urged citizens and immigrants to obey the laws and work together to promote a peaceful co-existence.

Romanian Senator Calls for Expulsion of “Impure”

Romanian senator Kaine Tomescu called for a pogrom of intolerance and even outright violence today, shocking human rights activists throughout the world.  “Gypsies,” Tomescu claimed, “have been living too long beside God-fearing men and women, tainting our land and stealing our children.”  This announcement follows Tomescu’s nomination for President of Romania, as well as the revelation that Tomescu himself is, in fact, descended from the legendary Vlad Tepes.  Tomescu’s sudden wave of nationalism and racism harken back to times when racial purity was extremely important to Romanian and Wallachian culture, but are being denounced as small-minded propaganda by the Human Rights Campaign.  No comment has yet been made by President Traian Băsescu.

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Exalted: Modern – Headlines, Week Eight

October 24, 2011

All fictional.

Thirty-Two Dead in Drug-Related Shootout

Thirty-two alleged methamphetamine producers, distributers, and dealers were fatally wounded and ten more left critically injured after a shootout with a U.S. Marshal Thursday evening.  According to local authorities, a 911 call came from a pay phone near an abandoned warehouse, tipping authorities to the presence of the drug dealers.  A small contingent of local police led by a U.S. Marshal stormed the facility, weathering a hail of gunfire from the alleged producers.  The Marshal, who declined to be named, is credited with twenty-nine of the killings and six of the injuries, as well as actions that saved the lives of his fellow authorities.  None of the law enforcement officials suffered more than cosmetic injuries.

Israeli Government Denies Involvement in Nearby Regulations

Egyptian officials reported pro-Israeli legislation moving through the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces Wednesday, making Egpyt the fourth and last of Israel’s neighbors to pass such progressive and ground-breaking legislation in the last month.  Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan have all loosened trade and immigration laws as concerning Israel, released political prisoners without compensation, and opened negotiations for treaties involving religious conflict and military non-involvement with Israel.  In each nation, important officials have disappeared without trace immediately after legislation was passed with their support.  Officially, Israel denies any involvement, but Egypt has increased security around Chairman Tantawi in preparation for an attempt on his life.

New York, Washington Agree to Temporary Cease Fire

A temporary cease fire was negotiated between military officials in Washington and the insurgent forces in New York City this evening, as leaders from both camps met for a diplomatic negotiation.  New York has been under seige by the United States National Guard ever since a local criminal organization began a riot that has lasted for six months.  Forces within the city seem unnaturally well organized and well armed, and both the local police and S.W.A.T. teams were unable to contain the apparent revolution.  However, those involved describe initial discussions as “promising,” and hopes are high that a diplomatic solution can be reached.

Explosions Rock Toronto CN Tower

The CN Tower, the tallest free-standing structure in the Western Hemisphere, was rocked by a series of explosions early this morning, an attack that sent debris flying nearly three miles and resulted in at least twelve fataltities and more than two dozen critically injured.  The Tower itself was severely damaged, and experts estimate that repairs will take more than two years to complete.  The assailant is believed to be the same individual who attacked the Space Needle in Seattle earlier this year.  Local authorities have no leads.

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Exalted: Modern – Headlines, Week Seven

October 10, 2011

All fictional.

Lone Madman Fires Rocket at Alien Spaceship

Mexico City was the site of a crazed attacker today, when a lone assailant fired a personal rocket device at the extraterrestrial craft hovering over the city.  The craft appeared to sustain damage from the assault before the assailant was subdued.  After the attack, the vessel disappeared from radar and sonar and left Mexico City.  It has not yet been sighted again, nor has there been any public communication from the vessel regarding its intent.  Military authorities have not released specifics regarding the incident, but they do assure the general public that the assailant is in custody.  Speculation about whether or not the assailant was one of the Exalted remains unconfirmed.

Thirty-Two Arrested in U.S. Government Sweep

Thirty-two government officials were arrested Tuesday during what is being called the most thorough and effective sweep of the Department of the Interior in its history.  Charges ranged from embezzlement to fraud to treason, and spared no level of the Department’s bureaucracy.  Twelve aides, four clerks, five administrators, and two Assistant Secretaries were among those employees taken into custody.  Secretary Ken Salazar heaped praise upon the internal investigators responsible for the arrests, though unofficial and unconfirmed rumors suggest the agency had assistance from an outside source.  Arraignments are expected to be held over the course of the next month. 

Protesters in Crimea Declare Risen Amazon Nation

More than forty female protesters in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea today declared their nation a home and refuge to mistreated women from around the world.  Their leader, a woman who identifies herself only as “Scythia,” denounced various American, Yemenite, and African customs regarding women’s rights as barbaric and backward, offering a chance for freedom to any women in the world who sought asylum.  President Viktor Plakida declined to comment, though no official reprisals or denouncements have been made. 

Riots in London Stock Exchange End in Record Gains

Paternoster Square was rocked by a sudden outbreak of violence today that ended when the London Stock Exchange closed its doors early.  Traders grew unruly and violent as bids began in the morning, a condition that seemed unduly aggravated as the day progressed.  Finally, one trader struck another, and a wave of assaults began that ended with fourteen traders arrested, two hospitalized, one dead, and the London Stock Exchange Group under new management.  Nawara Assad, an Israeli immigrant to the United Kingdom, owned 73% of the LSEG as its doors closed, after a blinding flurry of sales and purchases that left her one of the richest women in Europe.  When asked to comment on the day’s activities, Assad credited her faith and her deity with her success.