Charles is researching the technology of Exaltation – and, being practical, has concluded that, if you can’t do it all at once, there’s no reason not to try to do it – or achieve much the same results – piece by piece.
Soul-Sheathes are pretty straightforward: they’re a highly secure way to carry artifacts – and provide a couple of minor benefits that go along with them.
A soul-sheathe can hold up to nine dots of other artifacts. If the creation cost differs from the purchase cost, the user may use the lower of the two. Storing artifacts makes their functions available to the user while protecting said artifacts from loss or damage; anything attempting to damage or interfere with such an artifact must go through the soul-sheathe first.
Sadly, there are restrictions.
- A soul-sheathe cannot store any artifact rated above four dots.
- A soul-sheathe cannot store anything larger than artifact armor. Warstriders and such are out.
- If an artifact has a required physical form other than armor (for example, a sword) the user must have some sort of sword to channel those powers into. Such a physical vessel acts as an effective duplicate of the artifact empowering it until the user drops the effect or transfers the power to another vessel.
- The user must still pay the attunement costs of the stored artifact or artifacts.
- A soul-sheathe bonds with it’s user’s soul. Sadly, this means that they are NOT usable by Exalts, who already have a far more impressive artifact bonded to their souls that takes up all the available space. Whether or not the arrival of an Exaltation will displace a soul-sheathe is up to the GM, although it does seem likely.
Overall, this is a Class-B power. Having your stuff broken or stolen isn’t usually a big feature of Exalted games anyway. (Class-B).
Self-Powered (Class-B). Since Soul-Sheathes have no other powers above Class-B, they have no attunement cost.
Soul-Linked. Thanks to the close bond with it’s user’s soul, the total attunement cost of the artifacts within the soul-sheathe is reduced by it’s user’s base will (Class-B).
Shielded: Since the source artifacts are well-shielded, any thaumaturgic or sorcerous effects they apply to the user are protected against countermeasures short of Celestial Circle Countermagic. That’s Class-A for resistance to Charms and Terrestrial Circle Countermagic, plus a level for protecting a group of effects, for a total of (Class-B).
Immaterial (Class-A): Soul-Sheathes are intangible artifacts attached to the user’s soul. Even when not so attached, they can only be touched by essence-wielders outside of spiritual sanctums and places such as Yu-Shan. Of course, given that anyone who matters is an essence-wielder, that’s not much of a “power”, although it does protect them against being found by basic body searches.
A soul-sheathe is programmable. They can be given simple rules governing when artifacts can be added or removed, when they attach or detach from a soul, under what circumstances they can be transferred, what qualifications a user needs to have, and when to accept updates. Since they are self-contained and have no true minds, they’re impervious to external manipulation. Since most of that is handled by their “Plot Immunity” rating, this is another mere (Class-A).
A soul-sheathe does provide some side-benefits; it’s close bond with it’s user’s soul both enhances and defends that soul. Using one grants the user…
- A +2 bonus to their effective Awareness score (Class-A).
- A +2 bonus to their effective Integrity score (Class-A).
- A +2 bonus to their effective Resistance score (Class-A).
- A +4 bonus to their effective Lore score, but only for understanding the functions and uses of any artifacts the soul-sheathe currently contains (Class-A)
- A +10 mote bonus to their Personal Essence Pool. Note that, in our games, no combination of mote pool expanders will more than double a character’s total essence pool (Class-A).
- Enhanced resistance to Mental Influence. Whenever the user spends one or more points of willpower to resist mental influence (whether natural or unnatural) they are treated as if they had spent one additional point. Thus, if the user spends two points of willpower to throw off a powerful compulsion, the two points count as three (Class-A).
Eight Class-A powers equate to four Class-B, two Class-C, or one Class-D power. Four Class-B powers equate to one Class-D power – and two Class-D powers equate to one Class-E power.
Overall Design: Power 5, Usefulness 4, Plot Impact 2, Script Immunity 5 (soul sheathes are indestructible, can’t be de-attuned or taken away without the consent of the player, and are plot-device difficult to keep from following their programming and moving about if and when that programming says to find a new owner), Components -3 (Charles uses Ambrosia), and Troublesome (only one soul-bonded artifact can be used at a time, -1), for a net artifact rating of 5 + 4 + 2 + 5 – 3 – 1 = 12, 12/4 = *** to craft. Fortunately, the fact that the components drawback doesn’t reduce their “purchase price” is neatly countered by the fact that three levels of script immunity comes free when you purchase a three-dot artifact – leaving it an Artifact *** in all cases.
- Exalted – Thaumaturgic Artifice (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
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- Exalted Artifacts – Dreamstones and Enhanced Artifact Armor (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice, Part X (ruscumag.wordpress.com)
- Exalted – Dudael, the Hierarchical Forge (Solar Celestial Manse *****) (ruscumag.wordpress.com)