Exalted – Oniwabanshu (“Garden Keeper”) Jun and Hidden Twig Village

West Manse, Sanday, Orkney

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   The weather is a big job – and the lesser spirits of the air are a capricious and undependable lot. Thus Ghataru, Shogun-Regent of the Seasons and Weather, has long, quite officially, employed a modest selection of God-Blooded offspring to monitor the weather from the viewpoint of the mortals subject to it. That viewpoint is occasionally surprising and informative – and their services are often useful in helping mortals prepare for a storm or other upcoming disaster. It is all very well to demonstrate the awesome majesty of the gods, but excessive casualties are bad for the prayer supply.

   Over the centuries, the institutional nature of Ghataru’s god-blooded priesthood began to serve another purpose: they could raise and train the god-blooded byblows of Ghataru’s allies – changing them from a disrupting random factor into a sensible (and sometimes even useful) faction of minor magical beings.

   That “training camp” role has also served as cover for one of Ghataru’s personal projects; the Terrestrial Exalted betrayed the Solars and Lunars and destroyed the first-age infrastructure that once supported them. If the Solars are to return to Creation, and the Lunars from the edges of the Wyld, they will need training, and they will need guardians, aides, and allies in their youth. His God-Blooded offspring are no match for even a Terrestrial Exalt of course – but the best amongst them know their duty, and will quietly train and aid young Solars and Lunars as best they can.

   Oniwabanshu (“Garden Keeper”) Jun runs the Hidden Twig Village – a training camp for youthful god-blooded based around his powerful Manse – and quietly works to train the God-blooded offspring of Ghataru’s allies, to advance his own agenda, to help to regulate the weather despite the random whims of the local air elementals, and (in secret) to assist any Lunar or Solar exalts who should happen to come his way.

   That hasn’t happened very often – but it’s not like he lacks for other projects.

   Hidden Twig Village is a rank-5 wood manse that produces a rank-0 hearthstone, and requires regular simple maintenance – giving it seventeen creation points to work with. Those have been used to buy Comfort Zone (1), Password Activations (1), Life-Sustaining (residents do not age, gain +5 bonus successes against poison and sickness effects, and heal in hours, 2), Limited Provider (1), Self-Stabilizing (2), Zone of Influence (3), Utility Artifacts (3), and Wyld Revocation (4).

   The Manse itself is a basic fort – but not much of one; it’s obviously primarily a training camp. It’s surrounded, however, by miles of wilderness, which exists in a pocket dimension of its own, outside of fate and normal reality, but linked to creation by several small, concealed, gateways hidden over a radius of roughly one mile. Inside the pocket realm, there’s fresh water, decent hunting, fruits, berries, and similar forest resources available, but it’s no more convenient than any other modest wilderness – and the landscape shifts to provide new training opportunities on a weekly basis. There are even several small villages and a variety of bears, wolves, and similar creatures to be found.

   The most important feature of the manse lies in it’s integrated artifacts.

  •    The various training halls and grounds of the area are subject – two or three times a day – to the effects of a Legendary Warrior Curriculum charm – and the Preceptor of War (a training artifact *****) is considered competent at teaching everything that charm covers plus (in Exalted Modern settings) Firearms, Pilot, Technology, and Drive. Students can train in anything, or everything, that charm offers.
  •    The Harp of Losselen (*****) is a massive standing instrument, set into the foundations of the fort. It channels dimensional energies, and can be used to seal off the gates and borders, to alter their locations with respect to creation, to reshape the environment of the dimensional pocket in which the manse exists, and to open temporary gates to elsewhere, both within and beyond the borders of creation. Sadly, major operations are a considerable drain on the operator – but minor changes (sealing the gates, opening a small one for a student pickup or shopping trip, and so on) are relatively easy.

   The manse is obviously an enormously useful facility. Fortunately, it has enough backers to avoid most trouble. Jun took all it’s courses as a child, and hence has quite an XP debt to pay off…

   Oniwabanshu Jun

  • God-Blooded Scion of Ghataru, the Shogun-Regent of the seasons and Weather and Master of the Aerial Legion.
  • Inheritance ***** (Free). +30 Bonus Points, may take up to (-20) points in negative mutations.
Physical (+0) Str 4 (7) Dex 4 Sta 4 (8)
Social (5) Chr 4 Man 2 App 2
Mental (9) Per 4 Int 4 Wit 4

   Virtues: Compassion 4, Temperance 4, Conviction 5, Valor 5. Will 10.

Dawn   Zenith   Twilight  
Archery 4 Integrity 5 Craft (Military) 4
Firearms 4 Performance   Investigation 1
Martial Arts 5 Pilot 4 Lore 1
Melee^+ 7 Presence 1 Medicine 1
Thrown 5 Resistance 5 Occult*^+ 7
War+ 4 Survival 1 (9) Technology 4

 

Night   Eclipse   Specialities  
Athletics 5 Bureaucracy 1 Sword 2
Awareness 4 Computer   Teaching 2
Dodge 5 Linguistics 1    
Drive 4 Ride 4    
Larceny 5 Sail 4    
Stealth^+ 7 (10) Socialize      

*Favored, ^Legendary, +Modified by Experienced Merit

   Basic Combat:

  • Join Battle: 8d
  • Lamellar Armor: +8L/9B, 5L/5B Hardness, Mobility -1, Fatigue 0, Attune 3.
    • Total Soak: +8A/8L/9B Armor, +14A/14L/18B Mutations, +6A/6L/6B force field = 28A/28L/33B. Reduce Ping damage by 6d.
  • Grand Daiklave Shadow of Night. Speed 5, Acc +2 (15d), Damage +12L/4 (19L/4), Defense +0, Rate 2, Attune 8, Two-Handed, Overwhelming, Piercing, Reach.
  • Special Notes: Additional health levels: -0x1, -1×2 and -2×2. -4 to be hit.

   Essence 2, Pool 32/16 (14 used for attunements).

   Flaws: Enemy (rivalry with other schools, -2), Obligation (-2), Code of Honor (-2), Oathbound (-3), and Ward (any of his students, -1)

   Merits and Backgrounds/Bonus Points (25 + 10 Flaws +30 Inheritance +10 Experienced +3 Diary + 6 Basic Background Allowance = 84, with at least 19 in Backgrounds):

  • Essence ** (10). Essence Pool (5 x Essence) + (2x Willpower) + (Virtue Sum) = 32/16
  • +2 Essence for the purpose of determining the effects of Charms, Mutations, and other essence-based powers (4)
  • Tattoo Artifact ***** (7): The Secret Fire.
  • Occult Dynasty (3): As a member of a magical lineage, Jun may buy two backgrounds of choice as a Dragon-Blooded might. In his case, he’s chosen Arsenal and Artifact.
  • Artifact *** (3): The Eye of the Gods and the Talisman of Swift Fortune.
  • Artifact ** (2): The Bracers of the Night Warrior and a two-dot artifact of choice.
  • Arsenal *** (3). Normally invested in a Grand Daiklaive (***) and Lamellar Armor (**).
  • Manse ***** (7): Hidden Twig Village Manse.
  • Hidden Manse (2)
  • Legendary Abilities (4): May select three abilities which may be raised to seven.
  • Luck *** (3)
  • Patron ***** (7). Ghataru of course.
  • Weather Sense (1)
  • Positive Mutation Balance (9)
  • Resources ***** (7)
  • Henchmen *** (3)
  • Spies *** (3)
  • +6 Virtues (6)

   Positive Mutations (27):

  • Stone Fist (1): The character may do lethal damage when unarmed.
  • Attribute Reallocation x3 (3): Transfer three attribute points from Physical to Social attributes, which – as a result – may reach six.
  • Night Eyes (1): The user may see in darkness as easily as in the light.
  • Gazelle’s Pace (2): +4 to Dexterity for movement purposes, +4 to Strength for Jumping purposes, +2d for competitive running, travel as quickly as a horse overland.
  • Elemental Rejuvenation (6): Regain one mote of essence or health level per six seconds – given full concentration.
  • Immortality (4): The character is impervious to aging and related effects.
  • Power Absorption (4): The character may absorb up to (Stamina + Essence) dots of artifacts into his or her mystical essence. Such items cannot be de-attuned or otherwise affected by any means short of the user’s death or a lengthy ritual requiring the user’s voluntary cooperation. (Jun has absorbed the Eye of the Gods, the Talisman of Swift Fortune, and the Bracers of the Night Warrior – eight dots worth of items. He can handle another two however).
  • Double Minded (4): The character may concentrate fully on two things at once – his or her normal activities and a mental task requiring anything up to full concentration which can be going on in the background.
  • Breed True (2) with Limited Manifestation. The Priest-Children of Ghataru normally pass on half of their inheritance bonuses to their offspring* – however, when one of them passes on (whether to ascend to true godhood, dying, or meeting some other final fate), one of the other loyal members of the clan will immediately receive the full benefits of the fallen priests five-dot inheritance, upgrading their abilities appropriately.
    • *Always including being considered God-Blooded, Longevity (1), and Dynastic Inheritance (1), until the benefits peter out with simple God-Blooded status and Longevity in the great-great grandchildren.

   Negative Mutations (-18):

  • Limited Manifestation (-1): As described under Breed True, above.
  • Diet (-2): For some arcane reason, Jun requires a great deal of honey (or derivatives, such as Mead) in his diet to maintain his health.
  • Aura of Power (-4): The character has an anima (In Jun’s case, a crackling aura of lightning and fire). Treat one-third of his or her essence pool as Peripheral Essence.
  • Delusions (-2): Jun has begun to believe that the God-Blooded – if properly trained – may eventually be capable of replacing the Dragon-Blooded, or possibly even of developing a similar style of “exaltation”.
  • Oathsworn (-2): If Jun gives his solemn word, he is bound by it – under the penalty of the same misfortunes as if an Eclipse Caste had sanctified a contract.
  • Natural Enmity (-4): Jun, as a formidable force of discipline and order, as well as a representative of the Aerial Legion of Heaven, just cannot get along socially with the Fair Folk. They just get on each other’s nerves…
  • Obsessions (-1 each, for a total of -3): Jun, as a master trainer, is an avid collector of new and exotic weapons, of new styles of mortal martial arts, and of new tomes and scrolls on tactics.

   The Secret Fire (“Tattoo Artifact” *****):

   The Secret Fire is a mighty infusion of divine power that Ghataru sometimes grants to especially favored offspring and agents. Unfortunately, to bestow The Secret Fire, he has to find an artificer – in Yu-Shan, where such a non-physical relic has form and substance so that it can be worked – and get it “built”. Even though he does have the design, and even has stockpiles of some of the immaterial qualities needed, that’s still something of a project. Relatively few of his offspring – fewer, in fact, than he’d like – are ever granted such a gift; he chooses them carefully.

  • Artifact Design: Power 10 (8x Class-B Powers), Usefulness 5, Plot Impact 4, Script Immunity +1. Net Rating = 20/4 = 5.
  • Powers:
    • Lesser Aspect of the Divine (six times).
    • Self-Powered B. This reduces the permanent attunement cost to zero – effectively one mote as a “Tattoo Artifact”.
    • Homeward Bound: If and when a wielder of the Secret Fire would finally be truly slain or destroyed, his or her spirit will be absorbed into the Secret Fire and carried back to Yu-Shan to become a minor functionary for the Aerial Legion. This is somewhat arbitrarily classified as a Class-B power, since it really has very little in-game effect.

   Lesser Aspect of the Divine

  • Cost: —. Minimums: Essence 2, Occult 4. Type: Permanent.
  • Keywords: Obvious, Stackable.
  • Duration: Special. See description.
  • Prerequisite Charms: None.

   Description: The God-Blooded user of this charm can invoke additional aspects of the divine power inherent in his or her bloodline. Each time this charm is learned, the user selects (Essence + 4) points of mutations that the character can invoke at the cost of two motes each (or per set of linked abilities) and then make go away when he or she doesn’t need them any more. Any negative aspects of such mutations are ignored. The user does not have to invoke every ability when using this effect, and the charm can be taken more than once, with cumulative effects.

   In Jun’s case, with his effective Essence of four for such purposes, this gives him a pool of forty-eight mutation points to spend and draw upon. These have been spent as follows:

  • Permanently Active:
    • Storm Master: May use Essence Attack/Lightning, with a +2 Augmentation Option (Jun may opt to either spend two fewer points to generate a blast or to target an area up to ten yards across). Four motes base, attack at up to ten yards with (Essence + Dexterity + Athletics) for (Stamina + Essence)L (8).
    • Giant (4): +3 dots of Strength and Stamina, as well as additional health levels: -0x1, -1×2 and -2×2.
    • Minuscule (4): Any attempts to hit the user suffer a -4 external penalty (immobility reduces this to -2). All Stealth rolls gain a +3 bonus.
      • While the actual size modifiers neatly cancel out, the fact that the Charm ignores the penalties allows both sets of benefits to actually take effect. Yes, that’s a bit odd – but it is a Charm.
    • Stone Body (6+2 Augmented): Gains one dot of Stamina, +6L/+6B soak and four bonus dice to Survival rolls. As an augmentation, the character is immune to poisons and disease.
    • The Unquenched Fire (2): The character may soak lethal and aggravated damage with Sta/2 and bashing damage with his or her full stamina.
    • Spirit Shift with two Augmentations – negating the Mote and Willpower cost (8). As a reflexive action the user may become immaterial for up to (Essence + Willpower + Stamina) ticks, but suffers a level of bashing damage per portion of such a period that’s gone by on returning to his or her normal state.
    • Hide of the Dragon (Armored Hide, 4): +4B/L/A Soak and +4d to Survival.
    • Natural Immunity (6): Jun is immune to natural air and fire and related effects and gains three bonus dice of soak/resistance against to supernatural effects related to those elements (including illusions, divinations, and transformations). He may spend 3 Motes or one Willpower to become completely immune for an entire scene to supernatural effects from any creature whose Essence rating is equal to or less than his. Powers and effects from creatures with greater Essence still work, but he receives six bonus/soak dice against such opponents for the rest of the scene.
  • Activated when needed:
    • Eyes of the Gods (Lidless Demon Eye, 4): The user’s eyes glow with unearthly elemental energy. +1 Awareness, can see motes, essence-fueled effects, and power. These things become valid targets for the character’s visual Awareness rolls, including reflexive visual Awareness rolls. All Charms are treated as Obvious with respect to the character. Dematerialized and invisible creatures and effects are considered visible. The character recognizes all artifacts, manses and demesnes as such. The character can automatically recognize a creature with Essence 4+ as a supernatural creature. Characters using Stealth to avoid detection are not automatically revealed by their Charms, Essence trait or carried artifacts—for the same reason that colorful clothing does not automatically void mundane attempts at stealth. Instead, add the target’s Essence in dice to any attempt by the character to pierce mundane or magical Stealth. If the character makes a conscious attempt to analyze what he sees, this ability allows an (Intelligence + Occult) roll to do so. Identifying the exact effects of an unknown Charm or spell is difficulty 5. Gauging the rating of a person’s Essence trait, a demesne, a manse or an artifact has difficulty 2.

   The Eye of the Gods

   The Gods don’t need to dabble in Thaumaturgy; they ARE Thaumaturgy, and they direct the flows of essence by natural right. Their offspring can’t normally do that – unless they either learn a charm to copy a small portion of their parent’s puissance or possess some other way to access that power.

   The Eye of the Gods bestows a modest portion of that divine right on it’s bearer. It’s still weak as dishwater of course – it’s still mortal thaumaturgy, even if it is being invoked via a minor charm – but it’s reasonably versatile and can be very useful to a resourceful god-blooded (or to any mortal who manages to get a hold of such a charm).

   Kuji-Kiri Mastery (Spirit Charm)

  • Cost: 6 Motes. Minimums: Essence 2, Occult 4. Type: Simple.
  • Keywords: Combo-OK (Not normally necessary for Spirit Charms).
  • Duration: Special.
  • Prerequisite Charms: None.

   Description: The God-Blooded user of this charm can select a single Thaumaturgic art when this charm is chosen. Thereafter, he or she may use this speed-6 charm to invoke the effects of any ritual within that art without need for components and with (Stamina) bonus dice on the roll – although the bonus dice cannot more than double the basic roll. If he or she actually knows the ritual in question, he or she gains an additional +3 speciality dice.

   Power 5, Usefulness 4, Plot Impact 2, Script Immunity +1. Net Rating = 12/4 = 3.

   It’s powers include Class-B Self-Powering, Class-B Spell Sustaining (may maintain two thaumaturgic effects), and twelve Class-A Powers – in this case, access to Kuji-Kuri Mastery for the arts of Alchemy, Death, Elemental Summoning, Enchantment, Geomancy, Healing, Illusion, Shapeshifting, Spirit Beckoning, Telekinesis, Warding/Exorcism, and Weather-Working. Kuji-Kuri charms would normally be Class-B effects, but these are reduced to Class-A since the user must supply half (three motes) of the required power.

   He usually has it sustaining a Telekinetic Force Shield (+6A/6L/6B soak, reduces ping damage) and an illusion that covers up his blatant supernatural nature.

   The Talisman of Swift Fortune

   This a simple carved-jade pocket-piece designed to bring good luck. Unlike most such items it really works – at least in the hands of a good thaumaturgist. The bearer may:

  • Spend three motes to roll (Wits + Occult) as a reflex action. 1/3/5 successes adds 1/2/3 dice to an action which is not enhanced by another artifact or charm.
  • Spend three motes to roll (Wit s+ Occult) as a reflex action. 3/5/8 successes negates 1/2/3 levels of damage. This is not cumulative with the effects of a “walkaway” talisman.
  • It stores 21 motes, but only for use with it’s abilities. If this reserve is exhausted, the user may either pay directly or replenish the reserve by spending 2 motes to add 1 to it.
  • Finally, the Talisman automatically replenishes it’s mote reserve at 4 motes per hour.

   Power 3 (4x Class-A effects), Usefulness 5, Plot Impact 2, Script Immunity +2. Net artifact rating = 12/4 = 3

   The Bracers of The Night Warrior (Artifact **).

   These bracers cost three motes to attune and allow the user to simply “pull out” items which cost at least two dots less than his or her current resources. The user need never be without some rope, a good luncheon, or a supply of arrows again.

   OK, I’m not bothering with a formal design for these… they’re a simple utility artifact.

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