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.
- 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 *) (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Exalted – The Hospitable Paths (Wood Manse *****) (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Exalted – Wyld Revocation and what you can do with it. (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Exalted – Factory-Cathedrals I, Forgestones, and Prefabrication Protocols (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Exalted – Storming the Gates of Yu-Shan (ruscumag.wordpress.com)