Exalted – The Sakoda Springs (Water Manse *)

Carlsbad Cave (Carlsbad Caverns National Park ...

Well, it's out of the wind...

Given that Charles Dexter Ward has claimed a number of minor manses, they now get full writeups – even if some of them are low-grade enough to be fairly simple.

This small manse consists of little more than a series of twisted pillars covered in moss and tiny, trickling, streams of water and shallow, mossy, caverns surrounding a modest – if cheerfully roiling – pond with a bottom and borders of fine white sand. A few of the caverns are larger, and have been carved out into small complexes of rooms which can serve as habitations, storerooms, and readily defensible shelters at need – but the manse is not a very convenient place to live in.

It is surprisingly serene, however; since the manse keeps away most minor pests. That doesn’t make it comfortable, but it could certainly be worse.

The pool was once used to wash away poisons from people and foodstuffs that were bathed in its waters – but with the decline in the areas population and the wyld energies which once tainted it, that function lost its importance. With the pool no longer needed, it’s careful geomancy soon went unmaintained – and was allowed to decay. It’s minor Hearthstone just wasn’t enough to draw the attention of the few remaining essence-wielders to it’s remote location in the chaos of the reshaping.

Fortunately, the Sakoda Springs Manse stabilized itself without exploding.

The Sakoda Springs has Maintenance *** since it’s smaller pillars require regular adjustments to their patterns of moss and water flow to accommodate the endless shifts in the underground water flows that feed the spring (+3 MCP) and has Habitability * since it’s cavern chambers offer – at best – water and a few skylights/holes for smoke with crude wooden doors (+1 MCP) – for a grand total of six manse creation points to work with. Those pay for:

  • Magical Conveniences (1): The waters of the pool cleanse and purify anything placed within them. They’re always fresh, clean, clear, and good to drink. If something toxic or disease-carrying is washed in the pool, the number of successes required to resist its effects is reduced by one. If someone who’s afflicted by a disease or toxin bathes in the pool, the number of successes they’ll need to resist it’s effects or recover is similarly reduced by one.
  • Magical Conveniences (1): Minor vermin and animal annoyances, such as dangerous (but more or less ordinary) snakes, annoying (or disease-carrying) insects, wolves, and similar creatures, are repelled from the area, and will never bother anyone who stays at or near the manse.
  • Mutagenic (1): Any normal creature who bathes regularly in the pool will gradually (over many years) develop the ability to heal as an Exalt and an extended lifespan – although that ability will fade once more if they depart the area and is never hereditary. Thanks to this function, the Sakoda springs entered later legends as a “Fountain of Youth”.
  • Guardian (3): The Springs are the home of a powerful Water Elemental – a creature powerful enough to match a second circle demon. The Manse (as usual for manses with such abilities) will re-manifest this guardian if it’s destroyed – given time. Unfortunately, the guardian simply wasn’t shown how to keep up with the delicate adjustments that the manse maintenance requires. It could probably manage it pretty readily if a skilled thaumaturgist ever took out a few weeks to show it how.

The Hearthstone of the Springs is a Stone of Radiant Purity-1.

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Exalted – Manse Enhancement and The Dragon Vortex

Montage of buildings in Mobile, Alabama. Top t...

Are you sure you want to add THAT?!

Manses – carefully-constructed places of power which can serve as homes, fortifications, workshops, or in many other ways, and which produce semi-unique tokens of power – are one of the most entertaining and flavorful parts of Exalted.

Unfortunately, in a game about vaguely anime- styled over-the-top abilities, they’re just a bit chintzy about the number of design points manses get to buy fun stuff with. Ergo, here’s a charm (and extension of the Way of Manse and Demesne Charm Tree) to fix that – and to do it without the awkward effects of Design Beyond Limit*.

The Dragon Vortex

  • Cost: —; Minimum: Occult 5, Essence 4; Type: Permanent
  • Keywords: None
  • Duration: Special
  • Prerequisite Charms: Any Occult Excellency, Harness the Wild Dragon, The Dragon-Tamers Art

Effect: The user has learned to enhance the currents of essence flowing through manses to which he or she attuned and is linked via The Dragon Tamer’s Art. He or she may spend 25 motes, 2 will, and about an hour to coax such a manse into manifesting additional, essence-fueled, powers. He or she may

  • Add up to (Intelligence + Occult) Manse Creation Points worth of essence-fueled powers to a manse that matches his or her essence-aspect. Such abilities may be appropriate for a manse of up to one rank higher than it actually is.
  • Add up to (Occult) Manse Creation Points worth of essence-fueled powers to any other manse. Such abilities may be appropriate for a manse of up to one rank higher than it actually is.
  • Buy off manse drawbacks – even if those are explicitly required by other powers.

Sadly:

  • The user may so attune no more than (Essence) such manses at a time. If he or she wishes to attune another manse after reaching that limit, he or she must drop one of the ones he or she is currently affecting.
  • Only one instance of this ability, or any similar ability, may be applied to a manse at any given time. Attempts to override a current set of enhancements requires the consent of everyone who is currently attuned to the manse or the hearthstone bearer and terminates any current effects.
  • This ability is incompatible with improving Manses via Design Beyond Limit or any similar ability. Manses constructed with the use of such abilities may not be further enhanced.
  • Once the user has selected enhancements for a particular manse, he or she may not alter his or her choices later short of tearing down and rebuilding the manse. Dropping the manse from his or her list of affected manses and then adding it again accomplishes nothing. Powers can be added or upgraded later if the users Intelligence or Occult scores increase or if the user simply didn’t spend some or all of the available upgrade points. If the user drops the manse from his or her list and someone else uses this, or a similar, ability on said manse, that individual is NOT bound by the previous characters choice of functions.
  • Some powers are explicitly ineligible, and cannot be added through the use of this charm. These include: Alternate Locations, Archive, Armored, Floating, Fortress, Hidden Passages, Living Manse, Mobile, Traveling, and Ultra-Deadly Perimeter Defenses – all of which require physical engineering as well as the manipulation of essence-flows.

Characters who wish to leave a more lasting legacy may do so. Spending 6 XP on a particular manse will render the effects semi-permanent – fading only after the enhancing character dies, and only over the course of years even then. Another 6 XP will make the effect permanent – at least until the manse in question is totally destroyed and rebuilt. Even then, it’s fairly likely that the old patterns and powers will re-assert themselves. Whether fortunately or unfortunately, however, this is VERY rarely done. It’s expensive, is – by definition – only really useful to distant future generations, and prevents those future generations from doing things their own way.

This is, naturally enough, the Solar version of this particular charm. There may well be slightly weaker Lunar version and far weaker (or limited to the relevant elemental aspect) Dragon-Blooded version as well. I wouldn’t expect there to be a Sidereal version though; manses aren’t really what the Sidereals are all about.

*The canon answer to getting more manse design points is a level five manse and the “Design Beyond Limit” charm. Sadly, that means that lower-level manses get left out of the fun – and that charm leads to problems and questions. For example: “Why can’t I presume that my initial rank-5 manse was built with Design Beyond Limit, and so gets ten extra creation points?” “Why are there so many rank-1 manses when the smallest you’d design with “Design Beyond Limit” is rank-2?” “Hey, wait! I paid for a rank-4 manse, and if it was built with “Design Beyond Limit” then I can’t redesign it and expand on it later!” (Which, if you try to rationally satisfy both sides, leads to the annoying position that all Rank-5 manses were build using Design Beyond Limit and nothing else was – or that some characters just get randomly shafted. Neither is any fun).

Rasarin’s Vista (Water Manse *)

Garden "butchart gardens", Vancouver...

In The Gardens of the Waters

Given that Charles Dexter Ward has claimed a number of minor manses, they now get full writeups – even if some of them are minor enough to be fairly simple.

Rasarin’s Vista is a small forest retreat, where the Solar Exalt Rasarin retired to meditate and observe a network of gardens and small waterfalls hosting communities of water mammals that had been awakened to sapience. There, in rustic simplicity beside the falling waters, from the simple doings of those communities – which he claimed distilled civilization, with all it’s myriad complexities, down to it’s very essence – Rasarin wrote some of the greatest classics of Yu-Shan and the First Age.

Well yes, they were mostly regarded as light humor and poignant tales of innocence, and were set to the side after the Usurpation and mostly forgotten – but many of Rasarin’s tales still echo in the literature of later ages.

The manse itself has few magical comforts, but it’s cool, breezy, and surprisingly free of insects, molds, and other pests – a minor aspect of its mutagenic properties, which causes such things to prey on each other, while encouraging the gardens to yield interesting foodstuffs and the trees to form comfortable, “natural”, benches and chairs. The simple fireplaces and cooking surfaces, braces for lamps, and similar appertunces are all cunningly located for maximum convenience and comfort. Rasarin’s Vista may be a “shack in the woods”, but it’s a “shack” designed to it’s best advantage by inhuman architectural skills.

Rasarin’s Vista requires Maintenance * (It’s many small streambeds need to be cleaned out on a regular basis, +1 MCP) and suffers from Fragality * (It is, after all, a series of landscaped gardens, +2 MCP), giving it a total of five manse creation points to work with. Those pay for…

  • Mutagenic (1): The process requires years, but the small water mammals – otters mostly – that live in the many pools and streams of the manse gain hand-paws, sapience, extended lifespans, and a few other minor benefits, such as enhanced health. Secondarily, the gardens produce an ever-changing selection of exotic fruits and vegetables and few pests ever manage to establish themselves in the area.
  • Archive (2): The manse always has a scattering of historical novels and autobiographies, dating back to the First Age, laying about. While the selection is ever-changing, and pays no attention to what anyone but the hearthstone bearer might actually be looking for, it always makes for interesting – and often informative – reading.
  • Hidden Passages (2): The manse includes a network of concealed observation tunnels, allowing it’s owner to watch the antics of the creatures of his gardens without disturbing them, to come and go unseen, and to pop up eccentrically. As a side-benefit, they’re pleasantly cool, and make a great place to store wine, fruits, and fresh vegetables.

The Hearthstone of Rasarin’s Vista is an Inkstone-1 – a handy convenience for an isolated writer.