Exalted – The Oberian Geomantic Academy

This is a Japanese garden which is located in ...

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   The Oberian Geomantic Academy is probably the best single school of thaumaturgy in creation – and might even be considered a threat to the realm, save for the fact that it’s so incredibly useful; thaumaturgic assistants, crafters of minor relics, healers, alchemists, manse construction foremen, and those all-important students of the productive arts of farming and crafting all emerge from its “training programs” – and enlarge the tax base, help keep the peasantry fed and working, and stop plagues in their tracks.

   Besides… by this time, after many centuries of educating the elite, the place has been plentifully endowed (Resources-5), has numerous supporters (Backing-5), it’s own troops (Command-3), many connections (Influence-4), the support of the local Dragon-Blooded house (Patron-6), plenty of sources of information (Spies-4), and a collection of minor artifacts (Arsenal-4) – not to mention the core of the Oberian Academy – it’s Manse.

   The privilege of attending the Academy counts as Mentor ***** and requires purchasing Artifact ***. It also normally calls for at least Allies ** and Contacts ***, for a total cost of fifteen bonus points. Students who misuse their abilities, or threaten to bring trouble to the academy, will be severely dealt with.

   The Paths of Oberian (Lunar Manse ****)

   The paths are just that – a winding selection of paths, meandering through a pleasant garden filled with statues, tablets, small amphitheaters, short tunnels, and chiming waterfalls surrounding a central megalithic circle. The gardens are only minimally habitable; you could camp there, but there are no facilities (it’s best to stay in the surrounding academies buildings or in the nearby town. Secondarily, the gardens don’t create much of a Hearthstone. In fact, they simply create a pair of One Dot Hearthstones – a Spell Stone (provides a -2 to Occult target numbers) and a Thaumaturgic Moonstone (provides Master level access to the Art of Lunar Thaumaturgy – covering Shapechanging and Illusion-Casting) – which are usually in the possession of the Dean and his chief assistant. That gives the Paths a total of twelve creation points to spend. These purchase:

  •    The Spirit of the Arts/Wyld Revocation (4): Within the gardens, Thaumaturgy is freed of many of the limitations of time and space. Thaumaturgic rituals, enchantments, artificing (up to rating one maximum), and other operations require only a tiny fraction of the usual time (years become weeks, months become days, days become hours, hours become minutes, and minutes become seconds) – and thaumaturgy can be used to open portals to other realities or to alternate timelines and even to call and bind creatures therefrom.
  •    The Legacy of Enlightenment/Integrated Utility Artifacts (3): This ability provides eight points worth of Utility Artifacts – in this case:
    • The Spirit Forge (4). The various small amphitheaters and meditation areas within the gardens are regularly subjected to the effects of Legendary Scholar Curriculum. While any given student can only effectively participate in one “class” per week, there is a wide choice available since four classes begin each day of the week. The topics include Occult, Lore, Linguistics, Medicine, all five Mundane Crafts, Investigation, Perception, Intelligence, and Wits, each of the four Virtues, and each of the eleven Thaumaturgic Arts. Participation in an appropriate class will raise the students score by +1 over the course of the subsequent week of practice and meditation to a maximum value of four (or the third degree, and Mastery, for the Arts).
    • The Breath of Magic (3). The drifting scents from the pools provide three ongoing thaumaturgic effects for everyone within the gardens – Essence Enlightening Sutra (thanks to the acceleration of thaumaturgic effects within the garden, this will take effect after a student takes any five courses), Blessings of the Little Gods (negates up to three magically-related botches per day), and Spirit Sight.
  •    The Lore Triumphant/Archives (2): The tablets and statues of the gardens record an immense number of thaumaturgical rituals and designs for minor (one-dot) artifacts (most notably including the Five Thaumaturgical Foci described below), and continue to record any new ones which its graduates invent or bring to add to the library. Interested students can roll (Per + Investigation) to locate almost any desired ritual to study.
  •    The Wall of Octroi/Comfort Zone (1): The garden is always comfortable. Rain tends to fall where people aren’t, the temperature is comfortable, there’s always a pleasant breeze, the place is filled with springs and fountains of cool, refreshing, water, and the air is filled with the scents of flowers. Even bugs and vermin are excluded, save for the never-stinging bees.
  •    Within The Mind’s Eye/Workshop (2). Within the gardens, visitors may use their Craft skills through sheer meditation and mental effort. This doesn’t provide any bonuses, but it negates all penalties as well – and will fulfill the minimum requirements for crafting minor artifacts. Of course, as an Occult Task that falls under the Path’s acceleration effect as well – meaning that crafting rolls may be made every three days, rather than every season.

   Completing a two-year course of study at the College will be sufficient to get all of the abilities it teaches to four (starting from the minimums possible), to achieve full mastery of the Arts and to forge a set of the five Thaumaturgic Foci – with enough time left over to learn about sixty rituals.

   The Five Thaumaturgical Foci:

   The Five Thaumaturgical Foci are the marks of a graduate Oberian Thaumaturgist – and their crafting will be subsidized by the academy if necessary, although students who need such aid will certainly be expected to pay back their student loan – with interest – later on.

Spellwright’s Wand

   These wands are wrought of rare woods, capped with metals of occult significance, and polished with rare oils and powdered gems. They are usually made as perfect (+2 dice) tools for occultists, and then enchanted with their artifact properties of:

  •    Arcane Weaving; the user may simply spend motes to reduce the resource costs of thaumaturgic rituals on a one-to-one basis. A ritual reduced to resources zero requires no components at all.
  •    Thaumaturgical Spell Storing; the user may store the effects of a thaumaturgical ritual, ready to be released with a single word (two ticks, no defense penalties).

   Journeyman’s Seal

   These sizeable amulets are engraved with many arcane runes, and serve to help mortals stabilize and maintain patterns of essence. They can also mount a Hearthstone – although this will require a one-mote essence commitment to activate – if the user is lucky enough to have one.

  •    Runebinding: may maintain any two thaumaturgical effects with durations. If dispelled, the effects can be restored reflexively by the expenditure of three motes or one point of willpower.
  •    Runewright: Can be attuned to produce the effects of any one Major Talisman (one of the ones with “triple effect”), or of one Lesser (one of the ones with “double effect) and one Minor (one of the ones with the basic effect) Talismans, or of three Minor Talismans. Changing the attunement requires three Enchantment successes, rolling once per hour.

   Elemental Athame

   These ceremonial knives are intricately inscribed and ornamented, and are attuned to the mighty powers of the Elemental Dragons. Thanks to this affinity, they are functional geomantic compasses; given a few minutes of meditation upon the elemental forces, they will turn to point to any one of the elemental poles desired. As artifacts they are useful for…

  •    Cutting the Threads; the user may spend two motes to reduce the time required to enact a thaumaturgic ritual by one level (months to days, days to hours, hours to minutes, or minutes to ticks) or five motes to reduce it by two levels.
  •    Piercing the Veil: the user may attempt rituals which require arts he or she has not mastered, but must spend one mote per degree which he or she lacks. If the user actually has mastered the ritual in question, he or she gains one automatic success in enacting it.

   Sigil of Mastery

   These rings are channels and foci for essence, albeit relatively limited ones. When near powerful sources of essence (high-powered magical creatures, uncapped demesnes, and similar locations) or when a mote of essence is channeled into them, the runes inscribed on them will shimmer with a faint radiance.

  •    The Imperishable Flame: They provide the user with two motes per hour to replenish his or her essence pool. Sadly, they are not capable of augmenting an Exalts essence recovery.
  •    The Will of the Maker: They allow the user to spend 2 motes in place of a willpower point when working thaumaturgy.

   Mirror of the Essence

   These crystalline mirrors are extremely sensitive to the flows of essence and can be levitated about with a gesture or two by anyone with the Occult skill.

  •    Seeing Crystals: Such mirrors provide two bonus dice when used in conjunction with Astrology or Geomancy, and permit the use of divination by crystal-gazing rather than astrology without penalty.
  •    The Evocation of the Self: Such mirrors provide mortals (and ONLY mortals) with freely-accessible 12-point essence pools or a similar 12-point bonus on any existing essence pool they may have.

   The five Thaumaturgical Foci all share the same basic artifact design. Since they are made using jade, they also share the usual properties of artifacts; they’re impervious to countermagic, normal wear and tear, and last forever.

  • Powers: 2x Class-A (2). In other words, they’ve only got basic powers. In fact, since they’re designed to be made by thaumaturgists, they offer no charm-class effects at all.
  • Self-Powered Class-A (1): Since no other power exceeds class-A, they have no mote or attunement cost.
  • Usefulness: Occasional (2). These artifacts make characters better thaumaturgists. That can be handy, but it’s never going to match the impact of a charm or major artifact.
  • Plot Impact: None (1). It’s thaumaturgy. It’s just not world-shaping.
  • Script Immunity: Basic (1). If you bought them with background points, you can generally expect to get them back – or get or make replacements – fairly readily if they’re taken away, destroyed, or lost. Of course, since they can be readily made by a skilled thaumaturgist, that’s not too hard.
  • Components: a scrap of Jade and an assortment of rare woods, valuable metals, gems, and herbs. As a resources-3 purchase, this has a net component value of (-2)
  • Troublesome. They require regular skilled thaumaturgical maintenance (simple purification and re-consecration) and are only usable by skilled thaumaturgists with Occult 3+. By exalted standards those are pretty mild requirements, and so are only worth (-1).

   With a total build cost of four, each of the five items counts as a one-dot artifact. Given that they’re hardly earthshaking, a character can also simply purchase a complete set as a three-dot artifact.

   Academy graduates still can’t compete with Exalted characters in any area where the Exalted care to make an effort – but they can still be pretty handy to have along.

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