Exalted – Mortal “Charms”

Juju charm protecting dugout canoe on riverban...

Your tax thaums at work

   There is no such thing as a “Mortal Charm”. Mortals must use thaumaturgical techniques to shape essence.

   That doesn’t mean that such techniques cannot be innate or instinctive.

   In game terms, “Mortal Charms” are simply supernatural Merits that cost one bonus point or two experience points each. Given that their own overpowering essence tends to swamp such minor talents, Exalts have a hard time learning them – and must pay twice as much to have them.

   “Mortal Charms” do have one advantage; there’s no need for essence motes or combos. They’re either always on or you simply use them when you need them. On the other hand, since they’re inherent thaumaturgical effects, they don’t normally stack with other forms of thaumaturgy and are vulnerable to countermagic – which will shut down ongoing effects for the rest of the scene.

   The most common “Mortal Charms” are simple enhancers. The (Xx) numbers indicate the number of times they can be purchased.

  • Breath of Purity (3x): Once per session the user may reflexively expel a minor (alcohol, drugs, etc, 1x), major (normal poisons, 2x), or supernatural (3x) poison from his or her system before it can harm him or her.
  • Divine Mastery (3x): Gain a single automatic success on a die roll once per day. This may be doubled if limited to a particular type of die roll, such as rolls linked to Strength, or Weapons, or Magical Matters.
  • Elemental Attunement (4x): The user gains Hardness 5 against a particular form of elemental damage. Each time this is taken it applies to a different element.
  • Essence Focus (3x): The user may attune hearthstones and gain their special powers without a setting or committing motes (1x), gains a mote whenever he or she inflicts one or more levels of lethal damage on a living creature (2x), or may destroy an Obol’s worth of Jade or a sliver of some other magical material of similar value to gain four motes. Character’s without essence pools must use the motes immediately or lose them.
  • Fortune’s Favor (3x): Gain +2 dice on a die roll once per day. This may be doubled if limited to a particular type of die roll, such as rolls linked to Strength, or Weapons, or Magical Matters.
  • Inherent Affinity (3x): Normal items of a specified type (swords, armor, bows, etc) count as Fine (1x), Exceptional (2x), or Perfect (3x) in the user’s hands.
  • Inherent Warding (3x): Creatures of a specific type (most commonly fair folk, elementals, exalts, demons, spirits, or undead) take a -2 penalty on all dice pools when attempting to affect the user.
  • Inner Strength (3x per effect): The user gains a free point of willpower once per session to spend on a particular type of effect (most often thaumaturgy, channeling virtues, or resisting unnatural mental influences).
  • Kitchen Witchery (3x): The user may reduce the reusable or expendable resource costs of a thaumaturgic ritual by a total of three dots once per day per time this charm is taken – but this may only be applied once per ritual.
  • Luck (the standard Merit) also falls into this category.
  • Spark of Life (3x): The user does not suffer infected wounds (1x), automatically stops bleeding (2x), or heals as an Exalt (3x – an effect equivalent to the Regeneration abomination).
  • Spirit Eyes (3x): The user may perceive (1x), automatically sense the approach of (2x), and strike at immaterial OR cause aggravated damage against (3x) creatures of a particular supernatural type (most commonly demons, fair folk, elementals, exalts, spirits, or undead).
  • Spiritual Fortification (3x): The user is immune to possession (1x), can spend a willpower point to immediately erect a Ward Against (Creature) (2x) and/or a Greater Ward Against (Creature) (3x) with (Base Will) successes. This talent will, however, only affect a particular kind of creature (most commonly demons, fair folk, elementals, exalts, spirits, or undead) each time it’s taken.
  • Stroke of Fortune (3x): Negates the bad effects of a botch once per session.
  • Surge of Might (3x): The user may add +1 to a particular attribute score for one minute once per day. Each time this charm is taken, it applies to a different attribute.
  • Survival (3x): Negates a level of damage once per session. .
  • True Mastery (3x): Decrease the difficulty of a particular type of task (crafting, thaumaturgy, etc) by one. Each time this is taken it applies to a different type of task.
  • Unquenched Fire, The (3x): The user gains +2 to resist and overcome diseases.
  • Virtue Augmentation (Once per virtue): Gain +1 to a particular Virtue. This may increase the value to six.

   Less common “Mortal Charms” exist as singular, independent, abilities. Some samples of these include:

  • Animal Influence: Equates to “Control (Animal)” – albeit using a pool of (Will + Survival).
  • Beastspeech lets the user communicate with animals. There is no guarantee, however, that they will be friendly, cooperative, or have anything useful to say. This is, naturally enough, equivalent to the mutation.
  • Child Sense: The user can instinctively track his or her children, and may roll his or her Compassion up to once per hour to get a good idea of where they are and what they’re up to at the moment.
  • Conversation Quelling Remark: Once per day the user may say something so incredibly stupid, gauche, or out of place, that any ongoing conversation will be effectively halted for several minutes while the participants try to come up with something to say.
  • Dread Prognosis: The user instinctively knows – tipped off, perhaps, by some unconscious awareness of the workings of the Loom of Fate – when it’s time to get out of the area, when some unexpected factor is about to foul everything up, or when some nasty surprise is about to occur. The amount of warning depends on the scale of the problem; but it’s usually enough to duck for cover and get out of the way of problems better left to more than mortal powers. (And yes, having a group of Exalted in the area is usually enough to trigger this).
  • Emergency Spell: Once per day the user may reduce the time required to use a particular thaumaturgic ritual by ten minutes or 50%, whichever is better. This charm may be taken up to three times.
  • Fire Lighting Gesture: The user may rub his hands or fingers together for a few moments and produce a small, matchlike, flame – sufficient to light a pipe, a candle, or bit of tinder. Similar gestures exist to cause seeds to sprout, to cool an over-hot cup of tea or soothe a small burn, to sharpen blades, and to produce enough of a breeze to waft away irritating smoke or noxious odors. In most cases even mortals can easily learn enough thaumaturgy to accomplish such tasks without bothering with a specific charm – but this way they don’t have to spend willpower on such trivia if the game master doesn’t allow trivial thaumaturgic effects without such expenditure.
  • Gossip-Spreading Prana: The user may cause some piece of information (or misinformation) to become common knowledge – albeit usually in vague and distorted form – across a small town within a few hours without leaving any readily-traceable trail back to him- or her-self. This will not, however, work in the face of supernatural opposition, such as the Sidereal Arcane Fate.
  • Harried Functionary Attitude: The user may automatically produce the impression that he or she is doing the best that can be expected of a mortal in their position, even if he or she is being lazy or subtly resisting and is dropping up to two dice from relevant skill rolls. Moreover, as long as the user is actually doing some job – however minor – around a location, isn’t doing anything too obviously out of order, and mortals are allowed to be there, the authorities there must succeed in a Conviction roll to be bothered paying any attention to yet another useless mortal.
  • Irritating Personality Escape: The user may quietly get on people’s nerves. While this requires up to one month per dot of the target’s permanent willpower, after that they are pretty much certain to tell the user to go away – or to assign the user to somewhere a long ways away and ignore them as much as possible.
  • Little Hut on the Prairie: Given an hour, the user may find or construct a minimal shelter, ranging from an igloo to a palm-leaf shack – in which up to four people can huddle together with sufficient protection from the elements to survive for a couple of days.
  • Maddening Personal Habit: Upset mortals occasionally develop nervous twitches, oddities of behavior or speech, or similar traits, which can subtly undermine the ability of those nearby to pay attention to anything else. Once per day the user can cause any single target within thirty feet to suffer a 2 die penalty on any one roll – often as a result of them pausing to yell “Will you STOP THAT!” Sadly, overuse of this charm can easily get the user killed – or at least dismissed.
  • Meal Scavenging Attitude: Once per day, the user may scrape together enough food for a (very) minimal and unsatisfying meal. This is NOT enough to live on, although it will make actually starving to death rather slow.
  • Meaningful Glances: The user may gesture, make faces, or otherwise communicate non-verbally very effectively. He or she can let people know exactly what he or she is thinking without saying a word and very quickly – as long as the information to be communicated can be expressed in a few sentences.
  • Parental Intonation: The user may produce a tone of authority that reaches back into the listeners childhood and reminds them of their father or mother. Any once-mortal target will actually pay attention and give serious consideration to whatever the user says. Of course, if you use this on an Exalt, it’s very definitely best to make sure that whatever it is that you use it to say is coherent, cogent, and relevant.
  • Reaching Past The Pain: Mortals are often used to dealing with pain. Once per day, the user may ignore all wound penalties for the next eighteen ticks.
  • Self-Deluding Attitude: The user may learn to ignore reality, convincing himself or herself of up to (willpower) things which simply are not true. Any supernatural attempt to determine what the user knows to be true requires an opposed essence versus the deluded user’s willpower roll to see if the supernatural power reports the user’s beliefs to be accurate. Changing such a belief requires several days and the expenditure of a point of willpower however. Common delusions include things like “I live a good life”, “the master really cares for me”, “I’m allowed to do this”, and “It’s all the fault of that Anathema who stole the money”.
  • Unrelenting Nagging Method: The user’s requests are almost impossible to forget. This doesn’t mean that the recipient will necessarily act on them – but they won’t forget about the matter.

   Well, these are useful to mortals – but they’re barely noticeable on the usual Exalted scale. They are, however, very useful in explaining just how normal mortals survive in the world of Exalted; they quietly leave the area before the Exalted start fighting, and they have a way of being overlooked the rest of the time.

4 Responses

  1. […] has mastered up to the Form. Alternately, it can grant a single martial-arts related mutation or mortal “Charm” to all trainees at half […]

  2. […] Mortal “Charms”: Minor supernatural merits for mortal characters. […]

  3. […] Mortal “Charms”: Minor supernatural merits for mortal characters. […]

  4. […] Mortal “Charms”: Minor supernatural merits for mortal characters. […]

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