Exalted – The Roanapur Manse, the Black Lagoon, and Ruki, Chosen of Battles

The Creature from the Black Lagoon at the Witc...

No, no, wrong "Black Lagoon"! Go home!

Roanapur is a city of crime, and mysteries, and villainy. You do not, however, usually find the scum of the earth in it; to survive in Roanapur you must either be carefully beneath notice, be reasonably sophisticated in your villainy, or work for someone who is…

This is no accident. At the hidden core of Roanapur, as at the core of so many things, is a relic of a prior age.

The Roanapur Manse was the creation of Adent Turning Mirrors, a Twilight Caste of the First Age who was fascinated by how social structures adapted to the world – and, in turn, adapted the world to themselves. Along the fringes of long-forgotten sea, in a time that has passed from the memory of history, he indulged in a project that might be considered… unwise.

The Manse provides a few services which help draw people to the area and keep them there – but nothing too obviously unnatural. The manse itself is buried deep beneath the mountains of the isle, and can only be accessed by a few routes – including the one past the great statue of “Buddha” (actually a symbolic representation of Nirupadhika). It’s occasionally troubled by Deepspawn, who sometimes appear from the tunnels beneath the manse – but this is rare; it’s guardians are usually more than sufficient to handle such annoyances.

The Roanapur Manse is a Manse ***** (10 creation points), generates a mere level one Hearthstone (+4 creation points), calls for Maintenance II (+2 creation points), and has some Permanent First Age Enhancements (+10 creation points) = 26.

Those points have been expended on…

  • Exotic Aspect (Travel) (1): The manse is built beneath the auspices of Nirupadhika, the Way – and so gets one point off on the costs of Gates, Gate-Related Powers, Zones of Influence, and – not philosophically being in a particular location – being Outside of Fate, which IS.
  • Password Activations (1): The manses various functions may be verbally controlled from within it by any authorized personnel. Unfortunately, only the manse guardians remember any of the passwords any longer – and they have little reason to use them.
  • Advanced Magical Conveniences (2): 1; The area, and the buildings within it, always has plenty of pure water available – an effect which also quenches most uncontrolled fires and helps control the spread of disease and remove wastes. 2; the need for maintenance, cleaning, and repair is drastically reduced – but not entirely eliminated. Still, the work of maintaining a town in the area is greatly reduced. 3-5; Anyone in the area is automatically protected by effects equivalent to three mortal Talismans of choice – at the three-die level. These effects can be changed each day at dawn, and need not be consciously selected. If the same talisman is selected more than once, the effects DO stack.
  • Archive (2): As the center of a sociological experiment, the manse keeps records of what goes on in the area it supports; it keeps tomes of laws, sociological studies, genealogies, and more, as well as audiovisual records – and a massive library on architecture, sociology, and other realms of existence in general.
  • Geomantic Subtlety (2): The manse, and the effects of it’s powers, are very well concealed indeed; essence user’s outside will not even notice that there’s a manse around.
  • Extended Zone of Influence (4-1 = 3): The manse’s powers affect a five-mile radius – plenty of room for a fair-sized city and it’s nearby waters.
  • Outside Fate (4-1 = 3). Astrology cannot detect anything within the manses’s zone of influence, and the eyes of heaven are similarly blinded.
  • Guardian Force (4): The manse is protected by creatures shaped out of the wyld. While they are mostly equivalent to Noble Raksha, they do not suffer from many of their limitations with regard to creation; they can respire there normally, do not lose motes, are not subject to calcification, and so on. They are mostly powerful thaumaturges, but do not generally get involved with the “experiments” save as (somewhat strange) observers. They do sometimes rescue dying humans – especially children – to keep as “pets” or reshape.
  • Otherworld Gate (5-1 = 4) and Alternate Gate Locations (3-1 = 2, doubled – for twenty-five locations = 4): Here we have the core function of the manse; it exists to create an Overlay Zone – overlapping Creation with the rules and forces of other realms of existence entirely. Of course, this also creates various small gates and routes between the two worlds forced into such an unnatural congruence, but those are well-concealed by the manses Geomantic Subtlety, and so only occasional wanderers pass through them accidentally, rather than the place being a gaping hole in reality.

Thus, while the area is overlapped with Yu-Shan, Ambrosia and Quintessence can exist there, everything is material, and gods and mortals may accidentally find themselves in Creation and Yu-Shan respectively. While overlapped with the Underworld ghosts can walk amongst the living, and participate in the natural world – and death may not even be noticed. While it’s overlapped with Pure Chaos the area is treated as a borderland (at best) – and no charm, artifact, or hearthstone will negate those wyld energies because they have become a “normal” part of creation while the gate stands. When it’s overlapped with Autochthon, freakish mad science works.

The manse can overlay creation with the rules and forces of twenty-five different worlds – all of the major aspects of the Exalted universe and aspects from other universes entirely.

Unfortunately, as of some sixty years past, the overlay is almost always with Malfeas – within the Dominion of Octavian. Here some of the Green Sun Princes have found their way back into creation, here be demons, here be vitriol and terrible thaumaturgical catalysts and processes – and here have been drawn some of the most dangerous criminals and organizations in existence.

And, as the builder expected, here adaptable humans continue to go about their business.

Things which are probably not true about the Roanapur Manse include…

  • Putting Roanapur on the map is one of the things that can summon Lucien, enforcer of Orablis’s ban on forbidden knowledge.
  • The silvery beach-sands of Roanapur are actually the Sands of Cecelyne – which can reach anywhere there is injustice, and so can CERTAINLY reach Roanapur. Is it not, after all, “the closest place to hell on Earth”?
  • There is a command word – or perhaps a group charm available to the Guardians – which will fully open the gate, turning the area into ten-mile-across doorway elsewhere – a potential bridgehead for a full-scale invasion.

Ruki, Chosen of Battles, Alchemical Hybrid

Ruki doesn’t really know much about her origins. She thinks she fell overboard from a cruise ship – perhaps during a pirate attack or something that kept them from picking her up – at about age five. All she really knows is that the Black Lagoon company had a (rare) charitable impulse and fished her out of the sea.

Perhaps they figured that the kid might have some value, or bring good luck, or some such – but they gave her enough food and care to survive on. Even if she did have to scrounge for much of anything beyond that, many street kids in Roanapur were not so lucky.

Twelve years later Ruki (family name unknown) had become a specialty mercenary enforcer for Roanapur’s crime syndicates. She wasn’t an assassin (even if she sometimes had to kill thugs and guards); she was the one who came up with the really… creative… ways to make someone WANT to make a deal. In her own curious way she contributed to the stability of the city; she was yet ANOTHER thing to try before resorting to outright warfare in the streets.

Then there was a period that she doesn’t remember. It started out with her taking what should have been a REALLY a simple job; taking some stuff from a courier. Simple. Quick. Easy.

It wound up with her waking up in a pit – to find out that, somewhere in that lost period, she’d acquired some really FREAKY powers and what seems to be some cyberware.

So far that’s permitted her to survive against the equally freakish opponents that have started popping up out of nowhere – but a clue as to what the !@#$% is GOING ON would be nice!

At the moment Ruki is trying to learn to use more than just her combat skills to get by in the world. Once she finds out more about operating like a semi-normal person, she’s going to find out who did this to her – and why. And if it was for some stupid reason like ” I just felt like it!” she fully intends to “fuck them up beyond all recognition”.

Basic Attributes:

  • Physical: Strength 2, Dexterity 5, Stamina 4
  • Social: Charisma 2, Manipulation 3, Appearance 4
  • Mental: Perception 2, Intelligence 3, Wits 3

Abilities

  • Journeys: Resistance 5
  • Serenity: Dodge 5 (6)*, Linguistics 1
  • Battles*: Presence 3, Athletics 3
  • Secrets: Larceny 3 (5)*, Stealth 3*, Occult 1, Lore 1
  • Endings: Alertness 3, Martial Arts 5 (6)*

*Favored.

Backgrounds

  • Contacts 3
  • Resources 2

Basics:

  • Permanent Essence: 3
  • Personal Essence: 12 (20)
  • Peripheral Essence: 34 (26)
  • Willpower: 6
  • Virtues: Compassion 4, Conviction 2, Temperance 2, Valor 2

Sidereal Charms

  • First Martial Arts Excellency (1 mote/die, cap equal to Permanent Essence).
  • Second Athletics Excellency ( 2 motes/success, cap equal to Permanent Essence.
  • Optimistic Security Practice (5 motes, +3A/3L/3B Soak)

Martial Art Charms – Leaf on the Wind Style:

  • Drifting Leaf Technique (3 motes; until next action, ignore onslaught penalties to DVs and add higher of +5 or opponent’s Essence to Dodge DV).
  • Sudden Gusting Movement (2 motes; +5 to Join Battle pool).
  • Whipping Branch Exercise (3 motes; +5 to raw damage).
  • Shadow of the Canopy Technique (4 motes; +5 successes to attempts to reestablish surprise in combat).
  • Leaf on the Wind Form (5 motes; add dice equal to the number of yards moved before attacking to attack rolls; +1 to Dodge and Parry DVs per opponent beyond first).

Alchemical Charms:

  • Subcutaneous Armor Plating (-).
  • First Stamina Augmentation (1 mote/die, cap equal to Stamina).
  • Integrated Artifact Transmogrifier (allows her to look normal).

Flaws:

  • Climate Sensitivity (Variant, -1): Ruki HATES heavy, encumbering, clothing, and will refuse to wear it if at all possible. This may result in her suffering a -1 die penalty on actions in a frigid climate – or in constant complaining and discomfort if she gives up and wears something more appropriate. Hopefully she’ll buy this off soon.
  • Criminal Background (-1): Ruki has an extensive criminal background, which results in social difficulties when dealing with the authorities, looking for honest jobs, and in similar situations.
  • (Assorted) Enemies (-2): Ruki’s pissed off a fair number of people and organizations – either for not taking a job, taking a job against them, doing a job badly, or doing it too well (what, did you expect a bunch of criminal syndicates run by nutjobs to be reasonable?).
  • Obligation (-3): Ruki owes some people some fairly big favors – no surprise in her business, but potentially awkward. Who likes to work for free?
  • Amnesia (Variant, -3): Ruki has numerous background details that are unknown to the player – such as HOW she got cyberware, exactly how being an Alchemical Hybrid works, and so on.

Merits:

  • Lucky Charm (Merit, 3): Ruki may reroll or have some minor stroke of good luck once per week – and may grant that same benefit to individuals with whom she has a positive intimacy.
  • Essence Master (Merit, 1): Transfers 2x (Int + Occ) motes from the characters Peripheral Essence Pool to his or her Personal Essence Pool. The “2x” multiplier may be upgraded by +1 a the cost of 2x the current multiplier XP.
  • Perfect Mechanistic Interface (Mutation, 2): The characters alchemical charm slots are no longer inherently obvious, although the charms themselves may be.
  • Artifact ** (Background, 2): Shard of Dream (Anime Action Hero). This particular version grants access to the Acrobatic Excess, Bullet Time, Catchphrase, Dramatic Monologue, Flashback, Multiple Angle Shot, The FX is in, and Zoom In functions once per scene each. It has no attunement cost.
  • Artifact ** (Background, 2): Necklace of Cinders.

Necklace of Cinders (Artifact **):

Three mundane objects the user possesses are treated as being Perfect. A single selection may be changed with a successful (Dex + Occ) check at the cost of 1 Mote, or all three at once (albeit with a D3 check) at the cost of 1 Will.

Power 3 (Class-B Thaumaturgic Enchantment effect, Class-B Self-Powered/no attunement cost), Usefulness 3, Plot Impact 1, Script Immunity +1 (3 Total). Total = 8, 8/4 = Rating **.

OK. “Perfect” gear isn’t a big thing in Exalted – but it is reasonably handy. Ruki doesn’t know where this came from either – but she’s cool with it; it goes well with every outfit she’s tried on. Normally she’s enhancing her kevlar-reinforced clothing, her joint supports (+1d to Martial Arts and to Dodge), and her Thieves Kit (+2d Larceny).

  • Kevlar Reinforced Clothing: Soak 4L/2B, Mobility -, Fatigue -, Cost **, Tags Bp (Bulletproof; reduces the damage from bullets to bashing), Cl (counts as normal clothing, not armor). While perfect: Soak +6L/4B, +2d to appearance-based social maneuvers.

Combat

  • Join Battle: 4
  • Soak: 2L/4B (Stamina) +2L/3B (Subcutaneous Armor Plating) +6L/4B (Perfect Kevlar Clothing) = 10L/11B.
  • Hardness: 1L/2B
  • Clinch: Speed 6, Accuracy +0 (11), Damage +0B (2B), Defense -, Rate 1
  • Kick: Speed 5, Accuracy +0 (11), Damage +3B (5B), Defense -2, Rate 2
  • Punch: Speed 5, Accuracy +1 (12), Damage +0B (2B), Defense +2, Rate 3
  • Dodge DV: 7
  • Parry DV: 6/8

Other Notes:

  • Experience 36, Spent 36
  • Ruki currently has a Switchklaive (Repair 1, Speed 4, Accuracy +3, Damage +4L, Defense +1, Rate 3, Minimums Str •, Dex •••, Cost ••, Tags P, Attune 6) but hasn’t yet paid for it – or used it much.
  • She does not yet know exactly what being an Alchemical Hybrid entails. It certainly puts her outside of fate. It apparently prevents her from using Sidereal Astrology at the moment, since the Pattern Spiders cannot currently see her – and it’s disruption of the body prevents her from using Sidereal Martial Arts (although there may be some way around this). Adding more alchemical charms is likely to be expensive and difficult – and it’s possible that their essence costs will be higher than normal. At this point she just doesn’t know.
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6 Responses

  1. It seems you have forgotten to put Ruki’s Clarity on there (or I overlooked it). But at this point, I believe it would be safe to assume that she only has a single dot of clarity, if any, due to the small number of alchemical charms she has.

    And if any Terrestrials start wondering why she seems so human compared to other Alchemicals, she could just say that her appearance is because she had an upgrade to better facilitate interactions with humans. This is assuming, of course, that she DOES appear to be a very human-seeming Alchemical, more than others. That might do well to divert anyone from thinking her “Insidious”.

    • Sadly, the lack of a Clarity score is due to lack of information. At the moment, Abalux is running things for Ruki, while I’m mostly doing background information, rules-writing, and filling things in (such as Ruki’s rather scanty character sheet and the manse and background for Roanapur). Since Abalux hasn’t fully revealed how she intends to run a Sidereal-Alchemical “Hybrid”, I don’t know if Ruki has Clarity, or the usual Sidereal problems, or both, or something else entirely.

      You can find more of Abalux’s Exalted stuff over HERE or in the Blogroll under “Marty’s Player Blog” since sometimes she forgets to tag things (“Marty” referring to one of her usual characters, not her).

      Ruki will seem pretty much entirely human at the moment though; the Integrated Artifact Transmogrifier charm is pretty useful that way, as is the Perfect Mechanistic Interface mutation.

    • Going by the first edition rules for this . . . Ruki has Clarity instead of Limit -and with no access to astrology, does not worry about Paradox. That is currently at 0; Ruki has not met the criteria for increasing it yet ( suppressing her Compassion or being away from meaningful human contact for a week).

  2. […] The Roanapur Manse (Travel-5): A manse for creating dimensional overlays. Exotic Aspect (Travel), Advanced Magical Conveniences (Talisman Powers), the Alternate Gate Locations power. Also Ruki, Chosen of Battles/Alchemical Hybrid, and two Artifacts – the Necklace of Cinders and Shard of Dream. […]

  3. […] The Roanapur Manse (Travel-5): A manse for creating dimensional overlays. Exotic Aspect (Travel), Advanced Magical Conveniences (Talisman Powers), the Alternate Gate Locations power. Also Ruki, Chosen of Battles/Alchemical Hybrid, and two Artifacts – the Necklace of Cinders and Shard of Dream. […]

  4. […] The Roanapur Manse (Travel-5): A manse for creating dimensional overlays. Exotic Aspect (Travel), Advanced Magical Conveniences (Talisman Powers), the Alternate Gate Locations power. Also Ruki, Chosen of Battles/Alchemical Hybrid, and two Artifacts – the Necklace of Cinders and Shard of Dream. […]

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