Hearthstones VI – Charles’s Hearthstone Museum

Celestial Body

Can you make these a bit less conspicious?

Charles – as might be expected of someone who’s specialty is cultivating the geomancy of his own world-body – carries rather a LOT of hearthstones, many of them unique. Since the actual list has now become relevant, here it is. It will be starting off, of course, with the biggest and most powerful set – the twenty-four level-***** self-attuning hearthstones provided by his Guardians. Just as the Guardians are each associated with a thaumaturgical field, the stones they generate are as well.

Guardian Hearthstones:

Alchemy – a Philosophers Stone: This glittering flamelike mass of red and yellow crystal spikes eliminates the need for components for Thaumaturgy (***) and Terrestrial Sorcery (****) – and somewhat reduces the need for components for Celestial and Solar Circle Sorcery (*****).

The original version of this stone was rather more potent – eliminating the need for components for any kind of sorcery at ***** – but updating to second edition called for a few changes.

Attack – a Specter General Stone: This rusty-black opalescent gem is the color of dried blood, and is lit from within by the fires of burning cities and the occasional flashes of signals. If held to an ear, the faint sounds of ancient battles – horns and drums, shouted orders, long-forgotten battle cries, timeless screams of anguish, and commanders planning – can all be heard, adrift upon tides of time. If and when the user commands a social unit – whether of troops, workers, bureaucrats or any other sizable group – he or she may divide a total number of points equal to the rating of this stone between the groups effective magnitude, drill, might, or whatever other characteristics it’s got. If the user commands multiple groups and units, he or she may provide this bonus to up to (Essence) of them at any one time.

In Exalted, a social “unit” of any kind is indeed far more than the sum of it’s parts in the same way that a human is more than a collection of cells. In the setting a “unit” is a group is united in spirit as a single, immaterial, organism – in effect, a kind of Behemoth – which is why it can be targeted by various charms as a whole and possesses powers beyond those of any member. When you turn a bunch of random individuals into an group, you unite their essence potentials (as great or small as those may be), you involve the least gods of their tools and bases, and you involve the major gods of that kind of unit (who are universally united on that front; if they didn’t use their charms to make sure that a “Unit” was fundamentally different – and BETTER – than a mass of individuals, they’d all be out of work).

In the Exalted cosmos, the little gods are responsible for enforcing the laws of nature and the workings of thaumaturgy. Once they get involved, the universe starts playing favorites – making special exceptions in the groups favor. The rules really are different for social units in Exalted. If you’re up against an army, their “fighting spirit” – or morale – can kill you all by itself, even if you’re utterly immune to the normal efforts of any given member of the force. A cult can generate enormous mystical forces, despite the fact that none of it’s members has any trace of magical power. A mercantile associations busy patterns of trade can help stabilize creation itself.

That’s also why the Celestial Exalted needed armies of Dragon-Blooded to attack the Primordials of course; the various greater and lesser gods could not participate in a direct attack on a Primordial – which meant that mortal armies were entirely useless against them.

Clairvoyance –  a (standard) Scrying Stone.

Compel – a Destined King Stone: This shimmering band of golden sunstone may be worn as a ring, a tiara, or an armlet, but regardless of the exact form it takes, it’s effect is the same… The user may roll (Valor) each morning on awakening. One success may be expended to attract an extra to the characters service, two for a heroic mortal or creature of similar power. This can be used to build up a Cult (although it takes a LOT of followers to make up a big one), to collect Followers or Henchmen, or even (if the possessor is a Fey) to collect a Retinue. In any case, the stone cannot build up more than (user’s essence) background dots for the user unless the user permanently purchases some or all of the already-accumulated backgrounds at 1 XP per dot.

Countermagic – a Wall of Octri Stone: This simple square of layered mica seems to be digesting an aurora, from which occasional multicolored bursts of sparks erupt. No matter how you hold it, even if you use a mirror to see both it’s front and back at the same time, you will see it’s front side facing you squarely. The user may automatically use any personal Countermagic he or she has available when targeted by a spell, even if unconscious or otherwise busy. Thaumaturgy and Terrestrial Circle countermagic are free, higher-order countermagic effects have their cost reduced by the cost of the Terrestrial Circle spell.

Detection – a Prayerstone:

Divination – a Sorcerer’s Eye:

Enchantment – a Lens of the Moon:

Energetics – a Forgestone. Yes, this particular guardian does operate a Factory-Cathedral as a sideline. The style is much more modern-computer-controlled-nanotech-assembly-tanks than the classical “magical shop” or even “technomantic factory” – but that’s the way he likes it.

Fortune – The Happy Wanderer’s Azurite Songstone: This deep blue gem sparkles with all the colors of the dawn and sunset as it’s turned within the hand, beautiful and cheering. The bearer – for no apparent reason – tends to jauntily sing or whistle, no matter what the situation. It acts as a combination of a (standard) Freedom Stone and Guardian Stone.

Yes, that’s equivalent to a pair of three-dot stones. The scale, after all, is not linear.

Geomancy – an Earthmaster’s Stone: This small, hexagonal, basaltic pillar resonates with the deep forces of the earth – and with the manses that geomancy empowers. The user may link this stone into any geomantic network he or she controls, allowing him or her to simply allot network points to power devices which would normally require hearthstones within a radius if (stone rank x 100 years) or to channel geomantic power into buying extra successes with Geomancy (up to 4xRank, at 3 relay points each) or into powering geomantic rituals (each relay point replaces one mote when undertaking geomantic tasks such as awakening demesnes).

Healing – a Soothing Heart Stone: This stony blossom varies the color of it’s petals and their arrangement whenever no one is looking, never appearing the same twice. The user may roll (Compassion) each morning on awakening. Each success so generated may be used on anyone within one hundred yards, healing one level of damage, removing one unwanted point of mutation, providing a +4d bonus on rolls against disease or poison for that day, curing any one mental disorder, or removing the “Crippling” keyword from any one injury.

Illusion – an Honorable Diamond Gem: This simple, thousand-faceted, gem shows an impossible clarity, stripping away personal illusions and misperceptions to allow the purest of virtues to shine through. Add +2 to the user’s effective virtues. The user need not, however, roll those dice unless he or she wants to.

Charles suspects that, in the hands of someone who’s virtues are already all perfect, the stone may show some additional power – but this has yet to be confirmed.

Lifeweave – an Xavarite Cubicon: This small, simple, cube of violet crystal projects a rippling aura of blue-white light in the hands of an essence-user – an aura which expands to engulf the bearer when he concentrates on it to “change it’s settings”. It provides the user’s minions (Behemoths, Cultists, Followers, Henchmen, and similar) with (Rating + 1) points worth of mutations. The bearer may give them all the same thing or customize as desired for particular groups or individuals – although such “settings” may only be changed once per day.

Link – a Grand Gem of Vision: The exact appearance of this oblate stone remains unknown, since it is always surrounded by a shimmering aura of welcoming blue-green light – an effect which it can project immediately around the bearer and which serves as a gateway to the vision-quests he or she opts to offer. The user may allow people to vision-quest to, and remotely attune to, any manse that he or she is already attuned to – although they may also be de-attuned as long as they haven’t actually visited in person.

Necrotics – a Stone of the Spirits Song: This pallid white “stone” appears to be made of ivory rather than any actual mineral, and is carved with hundreds of tiny birds in flight. The user may materialize or dematerialize at the cost of a mere twenty motes. Nonliving items the user happens to be carrying may be included or not at whim.

If someone with a world-body – like Charles – wants to use apply this effect to his or her world-body it costs two hundred motes instead of twenty, but anyone who does not get taken along and who fails to dematerialize or re-materialize on their own, should be treated as if they were in a destroyed Chancel; they will be left behind where the world-body used to be – in pure chaos.

Shadow Weaving – a Black Opaline Inkstone:

Technomancy – a Silicon Mind Stone. This “stone” is actually a small (but extremely powerful) programmable scientific calculator/microcomputer. It’s an upgraded version of the Stone of the Adamant Will: The bearer’s mind cannot be read or tampered with. He or she cannot be forced to forget things, be possessed, be forced to spend will points to take normally-allowable actions, be compelled to alter his or her behavior, have his or her mental attributes reduced, or have his or her mind read. The stone offers no defense against social skills (even if supernaturally enhanced), blackmail and threats, torture, or similar mundane tactics.

Telekinesis – a Gem of Perfect Mobility: A standard stone.

Telepathy – a Radiant Heart Ruby:

Travel – a Homes Hearth Stone.

The stone can transport people from point to point within Aden whenever Charles pays ten motes but can’t teleport people to anywhere outside of Aden. The recall-to-the-manse function does work from outside of Aden however.

Warding – Phantom Castle Stone: This simple greenstone spike sticks easily into earth or stone for ease of placement. When placed within a demesne with a rating of at least (Stone Rating -2 or 1, whichever is greater) this hearthstone creates a temporary duplicate of the manse that empowers it, with all it’s powers, that lasts until the stone is removed from the hearthstone room. Manse Guardians and such must, however, build up normally.

Weather Working – Sardonyx of Elemental Mastery: This layered stone shows a variety of tiny inclusions, and is engraved with the sigils and likenesses of the great elemental dragons flowing in and out of the stone. It’s power is simple and profound; the user may open lines of communication to the elemental spirits active in the area and attempt to talk them into doing things.

Yes, this is simultaneously trivial and mighty – depending on just how good a speaker you are and how likely the elemental spirits are to listen to you.

Wyld Magic – Wyld Heart Stone: This dark stone appears featureless at first, but on closer inspection seems to be filled with clouds of swirling darkness. When touched it breathes a subtle wisp of fantasy into the mind, birthing strange dreams and visions. The user may roll Temperance each morning on awakening to gain one Glamour per success and pays one less glamour for any charm that normally requires its use.

Other Hearthstones:

Dudael’s Forgestone (******):

Adamant Cascade of Sorcerous Mastery (*****): This mass of small diamonds constantly flows, swirling like turbulent water in response to essence disturbances nearby. It reduces the time required for shaping actions to three ticks.

Yes, this is the campaign replacement for the Stone of Brigid, which is – in comparison to things like the Perfect Mobility stone – simply pathetic.

Ambrosial Chalice (*****)

Black Emerald Before The Dawn (*****): This emerald is so dark as to be nearly black, and breathes forth the scent of rich earth, of new leaves bursting forth, of fresh rain, and glimmers with the faint radiance of the last instants of the night. The bearer gains two levels of Ox-Body and adds his or her current wound penalty to his or her dice pools instead of subtracting it.

Nising Weirdstone (*****): This blue-and-purple disk is essentially equivalent to the Sign of Chaos stone. If the user already has Style, this simply adds a second occurrence of it which stacks with the first.

Essence Armoring Carbuncle (****): This red-blue stone pulses in time to the bearer’s heartbeat. The bearers essence pool and his or her ability to use it becomes unassailable. Effects which would involuntarily drain essence from the user’s pool, or which would increase the mote cost of various powers, automatically fail. As a side effect, any item mounting this stone cannot be forcibly de-attuned from the user.

Fate Defying Ruby (****): The user may reflexively spend 5 motes to step outside of fate, and may remain there for up to three days. If the user is currently bound into fate by some power, the situation is resolved with an essence roll-off. Interestingly, if the user is currently being (or is about to be) subjected to some badly-written charm (almost always martial arts) which lacks relevant keywords, functions partially outside the established game system, is widely considered “broken”, or offers no more appropriate defense, the same essence roll-off applies. When you’re outside the rules, it’s easier to counter the things which also reside there.

Grace Stone (****). While it appears to be a simple stick of chalk, the Grace Stone can be used to congeal portions of the target’s aura into Graces – the usual set of four, either individually or all together. In either case, the user may provide the target with graces rated at (the appropriate virtue +1).

Willow Branch Stone (****):

Gem of Supernal Clarity (***):

Powerstones, (**) and (*).

Stone of Radiant Purity (**):

Black Opalescent Inkstone (**): Creates and prints with ink.

Spell Stone (**): -2 to Occult Target Numbers, +1 Willpower/Day.

Charles also employs a half-a-dozen Savant’s Eyes *** (for second edition these can no more than half an XP cost) and the same number of standard Memorial Irons (*).

Finally, Charles also routinely generates nine dots worth of purely internal hearthstones – but those tend to vary a lot.

10 Responses

  1. Whoa, hold up a second there. Charles has a NECROTICS Hearthstone? Isn’t that supposed to be BAD? It said in the advanced thaumaturgy guide that using Necrotics required accepting a shard of oblivion into oneself. For a Primordial, that should be one way ticket to “I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream”. UNless he’s using and alternate version of Necrotics that doesnt feed off of oblivion, but that would probably decrease what he could do with it.

    • Probably fortunately, while that particular Guardian is monstrously good at thaumaturgy in general (just like all the rest of them), she doesn’t actually use Necrotics; she simply uses her theoretical knowledge of the topic to offer advice – mostly “Don’t even think about it! It’s not worth it!”. Still, there are a few practical applications such as helping Abyssals find ways to avoid falling to oblivion when they die).

      Similarly, while the hearthstone is vaguely related to the theme (like the others), it’s still ordinary geomancy. There’s nothing particularly necrotic about materializing and dematerializing, but it is strongly associated with ghosts and spirits.

      • So that Guardian is really more related to Death in the way that Saturn is, minus the Fate part? I guess that makes sense how she could use powers similar to Necrotics, though alot of the really nasty stuff would be out of bounds.

      • Well, in many ways she’s a poseur; she does a lot of death-themed stuff – but it’s mostly just special effects applied to perfectly normal thaumaturgy and charms.

        The actual writeup may include some necromancy instead of sorcery, and probably access to ghostly powers in some fashion – but definitely no actual magics-of-oblivion. That’s a part of the cosmos that needs fixing in Charles’s view, and he’d never incorporate something like that into himself.

        Still, he also wanted – or at least felt that it was necessary – to cover all the arts and sciences. Ergo, a symbolic stand-in.

  2. I remember from the Black and White Treatise book that Sorcery was capable of doing quite a few of the things that Necromancy was, albeit with less efficiency. In sorcery some spells were one circle higher than they were on necromancy, increased mote costs, shorter durations and such. All of this was explained as the result of using life based essence for the spells instead of death. This would be a good way for her (the Guardian) to have “Necromancy”. As long as she stays away from anything that is Oblivion based it should be good.

    Mechanically I suppose there would be dice penalties for brute-forcing death based things with life based essence, but that is probably something he would just accept. After all, it seems well within Aden’s optimistic themes that the perseverance of life should always overcome death

    • Probably some fairly substantial penalties – but Charles doesn’t really worry much about “efficiency”. He is, after all, still very young, and where he can’t find a way around difficulties simply backing his projects with ever-increasing networks of manses has worked well enough so far.

      And he’s definitely an optimist; it would be hard to call anyone who fully intends to get rid of oblivion, turn death into “just a fresh start”, and otherwise fix everything, anything else…

  3. […] Hearthstones V: Philosopher’s Stone (second edition version), Specter General Stone, Destined King Stone, Wall of Octri Stone, Happy Wanderer’s Azurite Songstone, Earthmaster’s Stone, Soothing Heart Stone, Honorable Diamond Gem, Xaverite Cubicon, Grand Gem of Vision, Song of the Spirits Stone, Silicon Mind Stone, Phantom Castle Stone, Sardonyx of Elemental Mastery, Wyld Heart Stone, Adamant Cascade of Sorcerous Mastery, Black Emerald Before the Dawn, Nising Weirdstone, Essence Armoring Carbuncle, Fate Defying Ruby, and Grace Stone. Also, Social Units, War, and Virtual Behemoths. […]

  4. […] Hearthstones V: Philosopher’s Stone (second edition version), Specter General Stone, Destined King Stone, Wall of Octri Stone, Happy Wanderer’s Azurite Songstone, Earthmaster’s Stone, Soothing Heart Stone, Honorable Diamond Gem, Xaverite Cubicon, Grand Gem of Vision, Song of the Spirits Stone, Silicon Mind Stone, Phantom Castle Stone, Sardonyx of Elemental Mastery, Wyld Heart Stone, Adamant Cascade of Sorcerous Mastery, Black Emerald Before the Dawn, Nising Weirdstone, Essence Armoring Carbuncle, Fate Defying Ruby, and Grace Stone. Also, Social Units, War, and Virtual Behemoths. […]

  5. […] Hearthstones V: Philosopher’s Stone (second edition version), Specter General Stone, Destined King Stone, Wall of Octri Stone, Happy Wanderer’s Azurite Songstone, Earthmaster’s Stone, Soothing Heart Stone, Honorable Diamond Gem, Xaverite Cubicon, Grand Gem of Vision, Song of the Spirits Stone, Silicon Mind Stone, Phantom Castle Stone, Sardonyx of Elemental Mastery, Wyld Heart Stone, Adamant Cascade of Sorcerous Mastery, Black Emerald Before the Dawn, Nising Weirdstone, Essence Armoring Carbuncle, Fate Defying Ruby, and Grace Stone. Also, Social Units, War, and Virtual Behemoths. […]

  6. […] crackling through the streets of Yu-shan, the fifth movement began – and Charles employed his Earthmaster’s Stone to help him replace most of the first KiloMote that he’d need to supply to Yu-Shan with Geomantic […]

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