Exalted – The Path of the Smiling Tiger

Tibetan endless knot

And the essence comes out here...

Here we have a brief set of quasi-primordial charms – and how to get them.

Behind the Eyes

  • Cost —, Minimums: Essence 1, Sapience, Type; Permanent
  • Keywords: None
  • Duration: Permanent
  • Prerequisite Charms: None

Within every soul is the pocket of chaos, the realm of dream and imagination where anything is possible – where the little man who sits behind the eyes, peering out through those windows to the world, may be more than Metaphor.

This charm encapsulates the user’s mind and soul within a secondary shell of dream – the seed of a noble Raksha. If the user has any form of Inner World the user’s Raksha-self can manifest there while the user sleeps or when he or she is killed. If the user has no such world, the users Raksha-self will manifest in the Wyld when he or she is killed.

The dream-self is built as a standard Noble Raksha starting character, albeit with a +1 bonus to each Grace, six bonus freebie dots, and no initial access to backgrounds that require interaction with Creation or others – most blatantly, no normal Artifacts, Backing, Contacts, Cult, Followers, Freehold, Influence, or Manse. If it does get to manifest in an inner world, it gains 1 XP for every two the user’s waking self gains.

Dream of Heaven

  • Cost —, Minimums: Essence 2, Sapience, Type; Permanent
  • Keywords: None
  • Duration: Permanent
  • Prerequisite Charms: Behind the Eyes

This charm turns the user’s imagination into a literal inner world, albeit one that contains only one bordermarches waypoint – an area about thirty miles across. The place comes with whatever landscaping the user desires, up to ten levels of demesnes of any desired aspect (albeit with an upper limit of five and no more than one of rating four or higher), and no other inhabitants (at least to start). The user’s inner world is, however, perfectly protected from the intrusion of creation’s laws: iron has no effect there, charms cannot impose such laws upon it, and NO attack is ever “more real” than a Raksha target – ensuring that they cannot truly die there.

Note that a Raksha in such an inner world can learn a charm to open gates to other “Dreams of Heaven” – as long as those other dreams are occupied by compatible personalities.

The Hidden Gates of the Secret Garden

  • Cost 5m, Minimums: Essence 3, Sapience, Type; Instant
  • Keywords: None
  • Duration: Instant
  • Prerequisite Charms: Dream of Heaven or possession of a larger Inner World.

The Hidden Gates allow the user to summon an item or creature – pretty much anything up to the size of a truck – that he or she owns from his or her inner world or to send similar items to it.

The Greater Gates of Dream

  • Cost 8m, 1w, Minimums: Essence 4, Sapience, Type; Instant
  • Keywords: None
  • Duration: Instant
  • Prerequisite Charms: The Hidden Gates of the Secret Garden

The Greater Gates allow the user to summon environmental conditions from his or her inner worlds – storms, regions of quicksand, flows of lava, the darkness of the night, or the brilliant illumination of the Sun. The condition will persist until the user spends 2m to send it back or until it dissipates naturally (a minimum of one scene).

Standing Within the Self

  • Cost 4m, Minimums: Essence 3, Sapience, Type; Reflexive
  • Keywords: Combo-OK
  • Duration: One Scene
  • Prerequisite Charms: Dream of Heaven or a larger inner world.

The user may manifest in both his or her inner world and in reality at the same time, enjoying the benefits and perils of both locations simultaneously.

The Walls of Air

  • Cost 6m, Minimums: Essence 4, Sapience, Type; Reflexive
  • Keywords: Combo-OK
  • Duration: Scene
  • Prerequisite Charms: Standing Within the Self, The Greater Gates of Dream.

The user may evoke the essence-structure of a manse in his or her inner world (provided that he or she is attuned to it). While it has no physical reality, and is thus impervious to physical damage, it’s essence-based effects extend into the area around the user.

Charles, in his quest to become a fake primordial (and so further confuse any potential enemies) has been exploring Manse powers – since they’re his go-to answer to almost anything. In this case, he’s been looking into how to create fake “Akuma” – and has found the following power:

Whispering Lore (3, Lunar Favored)

Whispering Lore bestows access to a particular charm chosen (or created) when the Manse is designed on anyone attuned to the Manse. Furthermore, the hearthstone bearer may allow others to attune to the Manse through the Hearthstone or through his or her own touch.

Unfortunately, learning a charm still requires an appropriate expenditure of XP, an appropriate essence level, and meeting any other prerequisites. Secondarily, a Manse may not offer access to a charm with an essence requirement of more than twice it’s base rating.

A Manse may offer an additional charm for +2 creation points. A Lunar Manse – and only a Lunar Manse (or one with an exotic aspect that also favors Whispering Lore) may offer access to a third charm for an additional +1 creation point.

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11 Responses

  1. While Charles’ faux-primordial charms are indeed impressive, it does leave me with a worry. By making himself seem more and more like a primordial, he could confuse people into thinking that he is an akuma of that primordial. And we all know how much Yu-Shan LOVES akuma.

    On a slightly different note, has a name/title been chosen for the “Primordial” Charles? I assume it would be Aden, seeing as how that was what he named his inner world.

    • Oh, it could indeed – but being somewhat shortsighted, and failing to consider the possible failures in your plans, are one of the side-effects of youth. At the moment he’s simply stalling and confusing the issue – and unconsciously equating “a few months or years” with “long enough that I’ll never need to worry about it”.

      Thus the assorted smoke screens… God-blooded? Primordial-blooded? Baby Primordial? Akuma of a new Primordial or possibly Autochthon? Jotun? Solar? Lunar? Infernal? One of the new Nocturnals? Something unique out of the Wyld?

      Charles is definitely underestimating the paranoia though. He thinks that no one will make trouble until they have definite proof – and that by being pleasant, obliging, and helpful, he can simply accumulate allies until everyone likes him.

      That’s not going to work forever, but you never know – the Solar Exalted are amazingly talented, and he might be able to get it to work for long enough.

      As far as titles go… “Aden” is fair enough for the moment, even if it is just “Eden” in a slight disguise. Charles hasn’t really thought about a title; if you think of something good, please do mention it!

      • Off the top of my head I have:”The Dragon-Manse”, and “Gears of the World”. I came up with them because both of the names invoke (at least to me) aspects of both artifice and natural geomancy. What concepts would the faux-primordial consist of? If you could give an outline, I might be able to do some brainstorming.

      • Well, now that the computer issues are hopefully over with… I rather like “Gears of the World” there. His specialties are, of course, building artifacts and manses and working with thaumaturgy/sorcery (Our games don’t draw a strict distinction).

        For a faux-primordial theme… Probably evolution and quasi-life – on the inorganic side making manses and artifacts self-repairing, dragon lines self-organizing, and tying living beings and geomancy together. On the organic size… Arranging for normal creatures to be upgraded, to spread, and to colonize the universe.

        Simply being absurdly over-obliging and never directly lying is less a theme than a personal preference.

  2. Seeing as how he has created a great number of guardians at the Mardi Gras Manse, we already know that he can create servants. Perhaps he could have them serve as his 2nd & 1st circles? And the Behind the Eyes/Narrative Dreaming Conquest Raksha could be Aden’s 3rd Cricle, seeing as how they would be basically lesser/alternate versions of him. But these not-raksha, would they be subject to the calcifying effects of Creation? Or perhaps they wouldn’t be effected by calcification, as they arent “true” raksha.

    • Oh yes. Since a Guardian Force for a rank-five manse can provide up to 300 guardians “equivalent to second circle demons” (which is pretty formidable), Charles fully intends to have some of them represent “souls” – possibly with some secondary “servant force” groups to represent first circle creatures. Sadly, he really doesn’t have any ideal candidates for third circle types – save for the Raksha from Narrative Dreaming Conquest, who will (when he gets enough XP to buy the charm) likely to have a very high effective essence. On the other hand, he will be more of an allied character than an aspect.

      Charles may just have to have some of the higher-powered individuals among the guardian types portray his third-circle types – and possibly get them some handy artifacts to help them out.

      As for the rest of being a faux primordial… He can artificially inflate his effective mote pool to some extent by “being within” appropriate manses and thus being able to draw on their reserves. While there are distinct limits there, that’s still more motes available than he has any obvious right to have.

      Adding charms is harder; he can squeeze out ten with geomancy, but after that he just needs to get more experience and buy them.

      He’s already relying extensively on geomancy, artifacts, and hearthstones for special defenses, which helps stretch the mote pools (and reduce the need for combos). Fortunately, he can internalize some of those, which makes the trick a lot less obvious.

      He can use the charm-access-granting-manse trick to “make akuma” – although his “akuma” will simply be being granted access to charms, and will retain their free will. That’s good, because Charles would strongly object to trying to take it away from them anyway. That also means that he can’t be “tricked out of his charm set” by a green sun prince – which is fine, since he’d simply claim that Primordials weren’t all vulnerable that way.

      With more experience and time, it may actually start getting difficult to tell him apart from a genuine primordial – and he does like smokescreens and confusion.

      • I think you have it reversed. The Narritive Dreaming Conquest Raksha would be in his Third Circle, not his first. 1st circle are just run of the mill demons, 3rd are the ones just below the fetich.

      • Ah, typos; that’s what I get for answering while people are talking to me… Easily fixed though. It looks like I just used “first” for first AND third.

  3. […] The Path of the Smiling Tiger: Crafting and Invoking your own Inner World – and the Whispering Lore (Charm Access Bestowal) Manse Power. […]

  4. […] The Path of the Smiling Tiger: Crafting and Invoking your own Inner World – and the Whispering Lore (Charm Access Bestowal) Manse Power. […]

  5. […] The Path of the Smiling Tiger: Crafting and Invoking your own Inner World – and the Whispering Lore (Charm Access Bestowal) Manse Power. […]

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