Exalted – Aden Shining Dream, the Third Circle

English: Durris Manse

Look, I keep TELLING you, we're looking for the hellish inner landscape of a primordial demon! What do you mean "this is it"?!?!

Manse Servitors equate to first circle demons, and Manse Guardians to those of the second circle – but to impersonate a third-circle demon you need something more.

Fortunately, Charles has found a solution:

“Aden’s” “third circle souls” are, in fact, manses of awesome power – designed to generate a set of avatar’s with the power necessary to stand in for third-circle primordial souls. In fact, at the moment, they’re probably more powerful than Charles himself. He’s building twenty-four – one focused in each Thaumaturgic Art / Science, and capable of working effects equivalent to those of solar circle sorcery within those arts.

Charles is beginning to wonder though… He’s creating his world-body, and it’s manses and various inhabitants, from infinitesimal fragments of his own soul – and they really do seem a lot like first, second, and third circle “demons”. Is there really any fundamental difference between a subsidiary “soul” forged from a fragment of your own, and a primordial’s subsidiary soul? It’s not like anyone really knows how primordials OR their souls originally came into being anyway.

In any case, their basic design looks like this:

Available Construction Points: 10 (Rank-5 Base) + 4 (Maintenance from the Guardians) + 3 (uninhabitable) + 9 (Integrated Enhancement Artifacts) = 26. If and when he has a few experience points to spare he’ll be installing permanent upgrades via the Dragon Vortex. Sadly, until he gets a chance to finish up with that, they’ll just have to use points from Aden’s network of Geomantic Relays to power everything. That will limit them a bit since they also need those points to boost their thaumaturgic powers – but Charles does need some time to develop.

Basic Manse Powers:

  • Exotic Aspect/Aden (no cost since they’re built in Aden): Aden-aspected manses favor Magical Conveniences, Integrated Artifacts, Thaumaturgic Enhancements, Wyld Revocation, and Life-Sustaining functions.
  • Network Node (1): All of Aden’s “third circle souls” can instantly communicate and share information with each other.
  • Geomantic Nexus (1): As foci for geomantic energy, these manses can channel the power from geomantic relays into a variety of powers.
  • Immutable (2): The manses, and those within them, are impervious to unwanted shaping effects.
  • Unbindable (2): The manses, and those within them, are immune to Unnatural Mental Influence.
  • Guardian Force (4): Each manse has a guardian force of 650 second-circle demon equivalents. These are fairly high-end in that range however – with Essence 7, Virtues 5, 4, 3, 2 (assign as suits the type), Attributes totaling:49 (none above 12), 28 Spirit Charms, Willpower 10, and a base Essence Pool of 120. Health: -0, 7x-1, 6x -2, -4, Incapacitated, Abilities 35, Backgrounds 5, +6L/6B Inherent Soak – and six bonus points to spend. Their purpose, of course, is to aid, protect, and work for Charles.
  • Guardian Loa (three Guardians who are merged with the manse and need not buy physical attributes, 3) and have control of attunement to both the manse and its hearthstone (+1).
  • Staff Artifacts x4. For the sake of sanity, three levels of this power are ONLY for the Manse Loa (-3, for a total of 5): This provides the Manse Servants and Guardians with the benefits of ten dots of effectively-inherent artifacts rated at up to **** and the Loa with the benefits of forty.

All the manse guardians gain the benefits of a Behemoth Cloak, and four dots worth of artifacts appropriate to their type. That’s quite enough to make them pretty tough.

The Manse Loa gain – and share with their guardian hosts – +8 to each attribute, +8 to each ability other than Occult (which gets a +12), +4 Will, +2 Essence, the ability to store four Thaumaturgies, Four Terrestrial, and Four Celestial Spells, three spells that they can swap around given time to study, a -2 on the target numbers to use Twilight abilities, the ability to attack and parry with the Occult skill as if using a perfect weapon of choice, +6L/+6B Soak, and inherent computer services and internet access. Most will use a +3d thaumaturgic boost to whatever they do – and gain +7 to +27 automatic successes when casting spells or +13 to +33 when working in their chosen field.

Yes, this is absurd. Eight optimized four-dot artifacts designed to work as a set, powered and enhanced by a manse pumped up with nine five-dot artifacts and a bunch of geomantic relays, all applied to a high-end second circle demon equivalent, are going to be that way… In general, when working through one of the manse guardians, the Loa get +21 dice on anything they do and +(25 + Conviction) dice on Occult – putting them neatly in the third circle range even without charms or other boosts. Their abilities with Thaumaturgy/Sorcery will fall neatly into the upper end of the range for third-circle demons signature powers.

  • Thaumic Resonator (2) with the specific field (+1) and geomantic relay (+1) upgrades. This grants +4 bonus successes for Thaumaturgy or Spellcasting, +6 more in a particular art or science, and up to +20 more if enough geomantic relays are available to power them.
  • Thaumic Puissance (3). The residents thaumaturgy is unnaturally potent. It requires an opposed essence check to dispel it with countermagic, the caster gains +3d against Terrestrial Circle Countermagic (but suffers a 3d penalty against Solar Circle Countermagic) and residents will find that they can stack one thaumaturgic effect with charms, artifacts, and other sources of power. Their thaumaturgy is cast using the Advanced Thaumaturgy System, whether or not the character would normally have access to that system, and with a +(Conviction) die bonus.

When Charles is enhancing the manses and/or enough geomantic relay points are available, they also have…

  • The Loa may exert their own powers and those of the manse through the hearthstones (+1). Most of the Loa are somewhat selective in what powers they can extend through their hearthstones, but that’s not a big enough problem to get a price break.
  • Archives (2). Actually the manses each have extensive archives in them – but unless they’re powered up, they’re just rooms full of books, computer disks, RAID arrays, and other media. If they’re powered up, the archives become self-repairing.
  • Lesser Dance of the Dragon Lords (3): The Loa (and only the Loa) of each manse get +1 Essence and +3 Charms. This neatly brings their effective essence up to 10.
  • Extended Zone of Influence (4): Extends for one mile per point of the manse rating – or, when the Loa are working through the hearthstones, to cover a radius of up to 250 feet from the stone.
  • Invisible Theft (4): As disembodied consciousnesses, the manses Loa may freely sense thoughts within range.
  • Indestructible (5). When the manses are fully empowered, the currents of essence running through them shield the physical structure of the manses absolutely – leaving them vulnerable only to geomantic sabotage. Moreover, as powerful, sapient, essence-users who can tap into geomantic relays, the manses can usually handle their own geomantic repairs – and substitute power from the relays for any reduction in their demesne.
  • Unique Powers (5). Each manse has five points worth of powers unique to itself – abilities that make it distinct from the other manses. These will be listed with the listings for the individual Loa.

In the tradition of giving the Devas of a Primordial their own designation, Aden has twenty-four Guardians of the Third Circle (each of whom, thanks to the triple consciousness of the manses and the hundreds of available manse guardians/bodies associated with each, may appear in up to three places at a time), many thousands of Second Circle Sentinels, and a similar number of First Circle Citizens.