Exalted – Minor Graces Part I: Grace Magic

The Mirror Grace, sometimes known as the Mask, is concerned with Chaos channeled through Order and their impression upon each other – the basis of both Geomancy and the Echo Keyword. For the purposes of Grace Magic, artifacts of the Mirror are simple; they mostly replicate artifacts of Creation, albeit without magical material bonuses and at an artifact rating one higher than the “genuine” version. On the other hand, such artifacts have an attunement cost – for Raksha – of only one mote. Others must pay the normal cost plus one mote. The modifier may be waived if the crafter is emulating an artifact which normally only costs one mote to attune or if he or she is making armor…

The Way Grace is best known for it’s (ridiculously useful) Chancels, but Way Graces can also be forged into Boosters for Behemoths – providing an additional (Rating +1) x3 points worth of mutations, an essence pool to power it’s mutations with of (Rating x 10) motes, and (Rating) internal waypoints where the “rider” can use his “mounts” senses and use any of his charms that normally affect himself, a steed, or a ship (since the distinction is kind of blurred) on his mounts behalf. Sadly, if the mount is slain or wrecked, the rider (and any passengers) will suffer the ill-effects of the crash and will have to abandon the Behemoth to make their own way. It may be possible to turn them into other kinds of transport artifacts as well, but that’s only at the option of the game master. There really isn’t any need for it.

If you want you can also use these rules instead, but the overall effect is basically the same.

The Means Grace is associated with increasing your influence, capitalizing on and building up your resources, and making other tasks easier to accomplish. Such are the themes of Grace Magic forged from Means Graces. The Treasures of the Means Grace are known as Bindings.

  • A Seal (*) allows the user to enforce pacts with the Creation-Born, making their promises and oaths just as binding to them as they are to the Raksha – as if they were sanctified by an Eclipse Caste. A Grand Seal (****) allows the user to make oaths for creatures of essence 8 and below utterly unbreakable – at least by the one swearing to them. Actions which would violate the pact simply cannot be taken, no matter what a player may say. Higher-essence entities are still subject to botches for breaking such an pact however. Legendary N/A Eternal Seals can bind entities of essence 12 and below to unbreakable pacts.
  • An Oathstone (**) allows bets and contracts sworn on it to transfer intangible qualities, such as lifespan, youth, or health levels. For good or ill, a character can only participate in three such contracts at any one time. Terrestrial Circle Countermagic can suppress such a contract for a few hours, the Celestial Circle can break such a contract – and Solar Circle Countermagic may shatter the stone itself and all the contracts it binds if it targets it directly. More powerful Oathstones do exist; each additional dot allows them to hold one additional oath per character and increases the level of countermagic they can withstand by one. Legendary N/A Oathstones can hold seven such contracts and makes them quite unbreakable.
  • Messenger Staves (**) invoke oaths and bindings that predate creation to provide “diplomatic immunity” similar to the effects of the Eclipse Anima. A (****) version extends the effect to the various Exalted while a (*****) version affects the Devas of Primordials, the Nephwracks of the Neverborn, and the Third Circle Souls of the Yozis. A N/A version affects the Yozis, Neverborn, and Primordials themselves – not that this usually matters. Individual Raksha are far beneath their notice.
  • Ushabti (**to ****) allow the user to expend gossamer to temporarily increase the magnitude of a unit under his or her command on a one-to-one basis – although the magnitude cannot be more than doubled by this means. At ** the user may increase units of laborers and servants, at *** mortal troops may be thus multiplied, and at **** units of lesser supernatural entities, such as minor elementals, manse servitors, and similar creatures, may be multiplied, Regardless of the type or level of the boost, it persists for only one scene (or one day for long-term projects, sieges, and similar situations) – although it may be extended for additional scenes/days for one gossamer per scene/day.
  • Economic Indicators (* to *****) may grant up to (User’s Compassion) individuals a (Level) bonus to Resources – or can be used to target entire Clans, Cities, or Nations at -1/-2/-3 levels of effect. If used offensively, to reduce a targets resources, the number of targets is limited by the user’s Valor. An Economic Indicator cannot, however, be both negative and positive at the same time.
  • Tomes (* to *****) allow their user’s to contact various spirits and contract for their services – with the power of the Tome transforming the Gossamer supplied by the user into some suitable payment. * allows the user to contact minor, local, spirits, ** extends to lesser elementals, *** to demons of the first circle and local gods, **** to greater elementals and the lesser celestial gods, ***** to second circle demons (or a magnitude two group of first circle demons) and equivalent gods. Such a tome generally reaches a spirit that’s willing to make a deal – normally at a cost of 3 Gossamer per level of the Tome required, but if the request suits the purposes of the spirit it calls upon it may be willing to work cheap. Legendary N/A Tomes can reach Devas, Incarnae and other transcendent spirits, although what kind of payment a N/A spirit might ask is something that only the game master can say.
  • Franchises (* to *****) are wholly intangible in Creation but, like other abstract concepts, are entirely tangible in the Wyld, where they take the form of books full of strange instructions, often with no apparent point. A Franchise provides it’s owner with a bonus pool of (2 x Rating) motes of essence each day which may be drawn on reflexively and allows him or her to…
    • Franchise *: Reflexively regain one point of temporary willpower each day.
    • Franchise **: And add +* to a maximum of ***** to any one of Cult, Followers, Henchmen, Retinue, Resources, or similar background. If such a background is somehow lowered, it may be rebuilt to its original level at no cost and with no effort at one dot per week.
    • Franchise ***: And a second point of temporary willpower each day.
    • Franchise ****: And add +* to a maximum of ***** to all Cult, Followers, Henchmen, Retinue, or similar backgrounds in which the user already has at least one dot. This stacks with the bonus dot from Franchise **.
    • Franchise *****: And a third and fourth point of temporary willpower each day.
  • Owning a Franchise does have a small downside however; the user must select one thing per level of the Franchise with which his or her name will become closely associated – whether that’s Colonel Slanders Secret Recipe For Fried Fowl, a self-help program, or the Scarelett Empresses’s own Pancakes.

The Treasures of the Thorn Grace are known as Narratives. They’re actually a close relative of basic Fantasies – but unlike a Fantasy they don’t throw a veil of shaping over underlying chaos. Instead they constrain the possibilities of the future exactly as Creation or the near presence of an Ishvara does – but even more narrowly. Narratives are thus at their strongest in areas that are protected by Shaping defenses, such as the great forces which keep Creation from simply being wished away.

Narratives affect a radius of (User’s Essence x 100) feet and penalize actions that don’t fit into their structure by their rating. They require two motes per dot to attune, but may be attuned by a Lorekeeper.

So how do you define the limits of a Narrative? They’re built exactly the way a Primordial First Excellency is – except that if they’re describing the user as a Master Thief, than any actions that would spot, catch, or restrain the user would obviously be restricted.

Narratives also have secondary effects:

  • *: User gains a “-1″ on relevant target numbers (succeeding on a “6″).
  • **: And may roll (Rating) dice once per session in search of a wild, helpful, coincidence (as per the Destiny background).
  • ***: And the user gains +1d on the rating of stunts that work with the narrative.
  • ****: And one of the penalty dice is subtracted from the rating of each opposing stunt, if any.
  • *****: And may roll (Rating) dice three times per session in search of a wild, helpful, coincidence of some sort.
  • N/A: And two penalty dice are subtracted form the rating of each opposing stunt.

There are Lesser Narratives – commonly known as Subplots. These include:

  • Stereotypes (*): The bearer may give up to (Staff) targets stereotypical labels, which make them easily recognizable as such by everyone who sees them and will tend to get them treated as if they fit the label, no matter how little sense that makes. If you label the elegant socialite an “Uncouth Barbarian” his social talents will work as well as ever – but people will still complain about his primitive dress, need to bathe, and how out-of-place he or she is. This can be helpful if you need a disguise, a pain if you don’t want an inappropriate social label.
  • Typecasts (**): The bearer may give up to (Ring) targets stereotypical roles, regardless of whether or not such a role makes the slightest sense for them. Typecasts can cause a botch once per day and a simple failure once per day if a target fights them, but do provide a pool of (Ring) bonus dice which may be drawn on each day in support of the typecasting. Obviously enough, Typecasts can be helpful or annoying depending on whether or not they suit the target.
  • Directives (***): These can give up to (Cup) targets secondary entanglements; causing trouble at home, attracting a proposal of marriage (or a stalker), bringing the target to the attention of a major organization, or otherwise closing off the lines of possibility that DON’T lead to secondary plots raising their heads. Once again, this can be good or bad, although sometimes it’s hard to tell; being hailed as the savior of the city may be very good indeed – until they expect you to do it again.
  • Scripts (****): The bearer may give up to (Sword) targets the equivalent of Destiny-5, oriented towards whatever goal the user specifies – which can be either a blessing or a curse depending on just what that effect is.

And no – these effects have no keywords, and no defenses save (possibly) an Essence roll-off (essentially just an effort to use your raw reality-bending presence to push towards a future that you’d prefer). This grace operates by blocking off possible outcomes – tampering with the possibilities of the future. Trying to defend yourself against that is trying to defend yourself against causality; it calls for a new Time of Cascading Years so that you can have your own personal future, independent of everyone else’s.

The Hanging Gardens Part III – Secondary Areas

Other notable areas in the Hanging Gardens Freehold include…

The Docks. Partially within a cavernous cave (where wondrous indestructible vines and flowers of silicon and metal grow up the walls – and across the entryway should the Gardener wish to seal it off) and partially outdoors, the Docks are a bustling center of commerce. Llewellyn’s Treasury-Mint-Store is hardly the only place of business; stores, warehouses, and wandering street-vendors all do a brisk business. The “Fishermen” here are, in fact, Wyld Questers – bringing in a steady stream of rarities and bizarre wonders. The few actual Traders are engaging in a far riskier business – seeking out actual destinations in alien worlds and doing some actual trading there.

Raksha are GOOD at Wyld-Questing; they roll one interval more often than a creation-born (daily in the Middlemarches), require only two successful rolls (just like a mortal using drugs), and obviously don’t have to worry about mutations – although it seems fair to make similar rolls of (Essence + Will + Wyld Questing Specialities – usually about 15 dice in total for a Commoner Wyld “Fisherman”) at difficulty two to avoid some Sinbad-style encounters along the way.

A commoner “Fishermans” actual wyld-questing roll is generally Perception 6 (5 + Glorious Hero Form +1 Int/Per) + 7 Occult (Favored) +3 (Wyld Questing Specialty) + 2 (Mutation Speciality) + 4d (Wyld Compass or similar one-dot treasure) +1d (ritual) = 23d against a difficulty of 0 (for Information) or (Background Level) (for resources, artifacts, and other wonders). This is not at all hard; a Raksha “Fisherman” has a better than 50% chance to pull a rating-5 item out of the Wyld every two days. I’m presuming that it’s harder than than just for sanity’s sake, but the twenty to thirty Fisherman about the docks ensure that there are plenty of gossamer (questing for it is, after all, only at a difficulty equivalent to the level of the Gossamer background you want to emulate) and minor wonders available at the docks.

Here too is the Shipyard (Unreal Shipwrights Method), and – in the back of the dock-cavern, associated with the Stronghold – are the workshops where weapons and other items (Crafter’s Arsenal and/or Gossamer Forging Art) are made. Above that is a flat area of stone and verdant turf where various forms of aircraft – the most common form of ship used by actual traders – may land or dock.

High above the docks, in airy chambers reminiscent of the workshops of Leonardo Da Vinci, miniature worlds are forged (Principle Of Worlds). The workshops where virtues and graces are forged, fashioned into artifacts, and where grace magics are reforged, are higher yet, located just below the Cathedral Of The Winds.

Small shops throughout the city house specialists in other areas, master craftsmen who take the simple items produced in their shops via Ordinary Object Conjuration and Essence Forging Art and make of them something extraordinary. Stylish Outfitters cater to Raksha and Mortals who wish to have their properties or (in the case of mortals) themselves transformed with exotic mutations (Shape Forged Servant, Subversion and Transformation Artifice, and Morphogenic Mastery).

New Raksha (Ecstatic Reproduction Style) occasionally rise at scattered locations around the city, almost always from waterfalls and pools where the essence-laden wyld waters of the great Font coalesce.

The city includes many other areas of course – the “Holodeck Gaming Arcades”, the “Red Light District”, the Theaters (Gilbert and Sullivan is a favorite, as are Sci-Fi movies), the dreaded Nazgul Legal And Accounting Services (all associates guaranteed ravished so as to be entirely without compassion), the Baker of Forever (who turns delicious ideas into tangible meals), the Field Of Kites, the Slave-Market, the fabulous Orchards (not to mention the many fruit and nut bearing trees shading the streets), the Dueling-Arena, the Zoo (with it’s various fantastic or believed-to-be-extinct creatures), the Processional Way with it’s lines of statues, the Bicycle Paths, and the Guard-Stations (thanks to the overall awareness of the Freehold, little passes unnoticed. Whether or not anyone cares is quite another matter). There is a notable lack of Hospitals and only a few physicians (although there are rather more veterinarians). After all, the Manse’s healing aura handles almost any difficulty along those lines.

“I’m sorry Mrs. Debtor. It’s very unfortunate about your tragic losses and we’re eager to help you get out of debt. But don’t worry – we’ve already sold you husband and son into slavery, and have put a lien on both your souls. You should be able to work off the debts in a mere two hundred and fifty years.” -The Witch-King of Lawyers.

There are several Incumbered Waypoints in the Hanging Gardens. Some of the more notable include…

  • The Fountain of Desire has been aspected as the ultimate romantic spot… Couples just keep ending up there, whereupon they usually stare soulfully into each others eyes for lengthy periods, enjoy romantic meals, and entertainments, and waste hours, days, or even a week or two before they finally move off. Fortunately, the effect can be resisted or spotted in advance as usual. It’s only a problem if you happen to have a pressing appointment in that time anyway.
  • Similarly, Heroes-R-Us is a seedy complex down a back alley, its glory long faded – although it’s diamond-studded armored teacher retains his enthusiasm for earth-mastery, fortification, and eccentric heroism. Heroes-R-Us once specialized in training heroes, champions, and adventurers across the land. Now, they occasionally take in a wander whose path somehow runs across their door. Qualified visitors will often find themselves involved in some eccentric course – ranging from Combat Golf to Military Strategy. They also occasionally lend out minor Onieromancies full of all the mutations useful for a particular mission.
  • The Oracle Lodge spins a tale of Vision Questing and answers to subtle questions, involving those who visit it in a Wyld Quest in search of information, a quest which is somewhat shortened by the peyote, LSD, and other hallucinogens (and, for traditionalists, fumes from deep within the earth’s crust) which it makes freely available to those who seek. Fortunately, unlike a traditional Wyld Quest, since this takes place entirely inside a Freehold, participants need not worry about mutations.

The City Treasures are quite another thing. Thanks to Leon’s incredibly powerful graces and near-Ishvara status the Hanging Gardens – a city founded on his power – should have built-in Grace Magics of awesome power. Sadly, I have no idea of what might be appropriate for grace magics of levels nine or ten. Ergo, they’ll mostly be using simple modifiers such as – to start with the Onieromancies – “Cluster; This artifact is indestructible, unaffected by countermagic, and may be unattuned at will, but otherwise is treated as a cluster of lesser artifacts with a total value of (Rating – 1)”. That makes things a lot less complicated.

Ergo we have eight one-Dot City Onieromancies, Inward-Facing unless otherwise noted. These include…

  • On Joyful Tides: Imposition of Law; Residents automatically succeed at Athletics/Sexual, Linguistics/Communicating Clearly (despite language barriers), and Perform/Musicals checks.
  • The Essence Of Civilization: Imposition of Law. Residents automatically succeed at Craft/Air, Craft/Fire, and Craft/Water checks. (And yes, we are using Craft as a general skill and individual crafts as specialities).
  • The Rite Of The Masons: Imposition of Law. Residents automatically succeed at Craft/Earth, Craft/Wood, and Computer/Programming checks.
  • The Scholars Tome: Imposition of Law. Residants automatically succeed at Lore/History, Occult/ Thaumaturgy, and Investigation/Research checks.
  • The Handy Haversack: Ordinary Object Conjuration: (Note that describing the details of what you want counts as a descriptive stunt to get it. Thus if you want that to be a Delicious Chocolate Cream Pie, or a Delicious Ham-and-Cheese Pie just say so). Allows the production of a Delicious Pie, a Goblet of Wine (or other beverage), a Doctor’s Bag, a Pillow, Good Clothing, a High-End Smartphone, some Contraceptives, a Crystal/Gem, or a coil of Rope/Twine.
  • The Crafter’s Drum: Ordinary Object Conjuration: As above, describing the details of what you want counts as a descriptive stunt to get it – thus you can specify what kind of bar stock and so on. The Crafter’s Drum lets you produce: Metal Barstock, A Toolkit, Wood (boards, dowels, and logs), Coal (optionally burning), a Blade, a Camping Kit, Shaped Rock (hey, bricks and such are handy) plus Elemental Transformation (Fire): Provides 8 Mutation Points: Impervious to Normal Fire and Cold (2), Enlightened Essence (4), Night Eyes (1), and Fur (1) (a package which makes it MUCH easier to work with hot and cold materials and protects against minor injuries).
  • The Music Of The Spheres: Assumption of Dreams and Passion (Inspiration and Enthusiasm). Outward-Facing Effects; Elegant Muse Attitude/+3d when engaged in peaceful, constructive, pursuits), Elegant Muse Attitude / +3d when serving, defending, or enhancing the Hanging Gardens or it’s residents, and Elegant Muse Attitude/+3d when engaged in peaceful multitasking or otherwise rushing work (yes, this means they can work twice as fast since they’ll take no penalties for a two-action flurry).
  • The Flower Of Contentment: Four instances of Veiling The God’s Eyes, focused inward to produce four thaumaturgies that affect the entire Freehold. This includes a Telekinetic Cleaning effect that keeps the place neat, clean, and straightened up, a Barrier Ward that keeps kids from stumbling into anything dangerous unless they REALLY work at it, another Telekinetic Effect (“Roof of Dreams”) that performs minor structural repairs if the Creation-born happen to damage something so that it can’t just be shaped back, and a Transmutation effect that turns any notable quantity of explosive material (conventional or not) in the possession of non-residents into sand.

Veiling the God’s Eyes:

As updated to comply with the current errata.

  • Cost: 3M, 2 G; Mins: Heart 2, Essence 3; Type: Simple
  • Keywords: Glamour (2), Mutation (4), Shaped-Only, Combo-OK
  • Duration: One Action/Special
  • Prerequisite Charms: Unassailable Tower of Glamour

Waking: The Little Gods of Creation are almost as vulnerable to the illusions of the Raksha as any mortal – and deceiving them can be as effective. The user may throw out a veil of glamour and deceive the little gods within a radius of (Essence x 50 feet) into immediately enacting some thaumaturgic effect without requiring any special resources. While the Raksha must still achieve the requisite number of successes to produce the effect desired with a (Man + Occ) check, he or she need not know the thaumaturgical ritual involved; it is, after all, the business of the gods to know it. The results are normal thaumaturgy, and so are not subject to Glamour Resistance, although they are subject to essence roll-offs if they’re affecting a resisting target directly.

Dreaming: The user may spend 1G to send messages to any and all desired recipients – and the message may be different for each known recipient or simply be a general broadcast to various groups – within twenty waypoints.

  • Onieromantic Effects: As an Onieromancy the thaumaturgical effect must be chosen in advance – but it is entirely free and still requires no components. The actual roll is still required, but successes need not be spent on making it quick.
  • Abjuration Effects: As an Abjuration, the user may choose a specific art or science and use it without need for components, will, or mote expenditure. The actual roll is still required, but successes need not be spent on making it quick.

Which, once again, makes it usable in grace magic. 

Exalted – The Hanging Gardens, Part II

To continue with Leon’s Freehold…

The Treasury manifests as a small store down near the docks, selling a variety of wildly exotic imports and basic nautical supplies – with a back room full of chests of treasure and a man-sized humanoid dragon wearing a pirate outfit behind the counter. Occasional would-be thieves usually wind up mutated into minor feybeasts (Norwegian Death Parrots) and joining the sales-stock. Here Master Llewellyn, as the Freehold’s Chairman, facilitates it’s commerce and also collects a central stock of Gossamer which he can make available to Leon and those he authorizes as it is needed.

Llewellyn himself is a most personable sort, and is very good at social manipulation. If (when) he has troublesome visitors, he’ll call up a small horde of skeletal pirates (Transient Work Of Flesh And Bone) to do the fighting for him since he really isn’t all that good at it himself. He is pretty good at wards though. His “wife” and two “children” (all foxes for some reason) help him out around the shop and provide trenchant commentary…

The (well-concealed and heavily warded) “Mint” is down in the cellar, and consists of several commoners with the motivation “Make Llewellyn happy by giving him or his servants gossamer” with three levels of Workers Gift each. They exchange gossamer – and each then produces six more gossamer. Since there are Creation-born around, scenes are set at about twenty minutes – so every twenty minutes the eight of them produce forty-eight gossamer. For no particularly good reason, Llewellyn has them take the forms of a Budgie, Cat, Coyote, Dog, Duck, Hunter, Rabbit, and Roadrunner and give each other the Gossamer by fantasizing it into various (effectively harmless) weapon forms and bopping each other with it as they chase each other madly around the room.

No, there really isn’t any Gossamer shortage. There are dozens of ways to get all you want.

The Manse Curator actually has relatively little to do; the effects of the Forge Of Ways manse are all continuous. Sure, there’s a door to shut occasionally, and a bit of minor maintenance to do every little bit – but for the most part it’s a sinecure. Thus the Professor spends most of his time fiddling around on the pyramid that supports the Manse – looking out from his island of greenery, gardening, building (perfectly functional thanks to the Manses “Heronimous Machines” effect) devices out of wood, vines, and fruits, and teaching basic thaumaturgy to youngsters.

The Forge Of Ways (Adenic Manse ****):

In it’s Creation-side “public” aspect this simple circle of strangely-carved stones appears old and worn, with a modest selection of interior stones and a few slabs laying about. Oddly enough, the nearby campground offers a full set of conveniences, perpetually-pleasant temperatures, and even internet access. It’s notable for nothing there ever going wrong, and (less publically) as a hangout for hobos and runaways. If you’re skilled enough to locate the secret passage under one of the central slabs (which isn’t easy, as that feat is D11) you can walk down a broad flight of stairs – and then up some stairs – to emerge in a similar set of standing stones atop a sizeable (and garden-covered) stop-pyramid in the Hanging Gardens, Leon’s Freehold.
Build Points: 8 (Manse ****) +4 (Hearthstone 0) +6 (Manse Enhancement Artifacts) +3 (totally uninhabitable) +2 (Maintenance 2) = 23.

  • Exotic Aspect (Adenic, 1). Adenic-aspected manses favor Magical Conveniences, Integrated Artifacts, Thaumaturgic Enhancements, Wyld Revocation, and Life-Sustaining functions.
  • Essence Vents (1): Sort of required for a Manse-4 on a Demesne-5. The essence vents in a set of four mighty blazes atop tall pillars, and provides both nighttime illumination and hot water for the Freehold… And yes, when the structure is a malleable as a Freehold, that makes no sense. Such are Leon’s whims.
  • 3x Advanced Magical Conveniences (Favored, 3): 1) Electrical Power, 2) Water, 3) Waste Disposal, 4) Air Filtration and Conditioning, 5) Internet Access, 6) “Fossil” Fuel Supplies, 7) Flying-Carpet Taxis, 8) Fertility Control, 9) Owners can specify limited aspects of recovery for slaves, 10) Theme Music, 11) Heronimous Machines (diagrams and models of machines work as well as real ones do), and 12) Acme Deliveries (anything you order will arrive in mere moments).
  • Life-Sustaining (Favored, 2, add +1 to add recovery from crippling injuries, such as Raksha draining): Everyone living within the Freehold gains a 50% bonus to their lifespans, +4 bonus successes against poison and disease, heal two extra levels of bashing damage per hour, one lethal per hour and one aggravated every five hours. Crippling effects will vanish within twenty-four hours.
  • Zone of Influence (3): The effects of the Manse cover the entire Freehold. This doesn’t really matter much – the Curator can handle that anyway – but if something happens to him or her, this will keep it’s benefits in force throughout the Freehold and (for that matter) on the Creation side of things.
  • Guardian Force (4): The manse is defended/served by a set of “Deep Wyld Horrors” using the attributes of the Hearthstone Bearer as a base. For some odd reason this reduces the magnitude of the “unit” by one, but allows each to be customized as usual. They may be deployed by either the manse itself or by the hearthstone bearer.
  • Mutagenic (1): Humans within the Manse’s zone of influence will gradually acquire the Essence Channeler and Exalted Healing “mutations” – although this has no effect on their ability to survive in creation since the effect is manse-induced. This actually takes effect quite quickly, since it’s simply turning some of the Freehold’s temporary effects into permanent ones.
  • Wyld Revocation (Favored, 3): Wyld Spaces/Further incidences of Wyld Revocation can be purchased at half cost, rounded down.
    • Wyld Revocation (1): Geomantic Bounding/The manses energies are sustained by the Wyld, making it independent of external geomancy beyond the Freehold.
    • Wyld Revocation (1): Metric Isolation/The manses zone of influence enhances the “isolated pocket” aspect of the host Freehold. The area is only loosely anchored within space; and may be relatively easily moved around without respect for mass, gravitation, or inertia by any form of internal drive – including thaumaturgy.
    • Wyld Revocation (1): The A-Team Effect/The manse provides a +2d bonus on checks made to build or create something and reduces the time required to one-twelfth normal.
    • Wyld Revocation (1): Cold Iron has no effect on Raksha, their powers, or their magic, within the Manse and its Zone Of Influence.

 

And yes, that’s a rather specialized and very convenient manse…

The Hedge is, of course, under the care of it’s Gardener – and manifests as the indestructible stone of the cliffs that surround the plateau and the stony barriers that seal off the waypoints of Chancels that are partially linked to the Freehold. Only with the cooperation of the Gardener can easy access to, or departure from, the freehold be obtained. Veridion Forge wears an assumption of Earth and Fire and Mechanism, and manifests as a creature that might well fit into Autochthon as a native spirit; a figure of bronze armor filled with blazing fire. Employing a Heart of Creation rather that Charms to increase his power, Veridion Forge focuses on “gardens” of living stone, growing and harvesting strange crystals, blooms of exotic metals, stalactites and stalagmites, and vats of strange alchemies. His domain is filled with the subtle music of tuned stones set to singing by falling water. Veridion Forge is, in fact, interested in Creation-style artifacts and mechanisms, rather than the treasures of the Raksha, and often experiments with crafting such things – although, so far, only the lesser items lie within his reach. That’s not discouraging him though; he’s already using a couple of minor Creation-style crafting artifacts to enhance his talents.

Heart of Creation: Inward-Facing Onieromancy I: All five Elemental Transformations, granting him an extra 36 mutation points – all of them “mechanical”.

Exalted – The Hanging Gardens, Part I

Nestled in the hills and moors of Scotland, Leon’s freehold – and it is very much a personal creation founded on his graces and charms – will soon be attracting the notice of England’s very active fey community…

The Hanging Gardens are a vision of the ancient east as it once was, or perhaps as it should have been; a place of trickling streams, lush wetlands, rich fields, and mossy outcroppings surrounding a massive plateau, it’s upper reaches hewn into a fabulous city of stony buildings and tunnels, its waterfalls feeding terraced rooftop gardens, it’s slim towers crowned with elegant domes, and its many fountains playing. The busy streets are watched over by the benign statues of the combined Egyptian-Babylonian Pantheon, and it’s harbor (thanks to a Chancel-Gate) opens upon the seas of chaos, and the realms of Aden – and, for that matter, Sinbad – just beyond. The mighty Guardian Statues protect each side of the Plateau while Obelisks and Stelae mark important locations and the heat of the sun is moderated by the cool stone and flourishing greenery into gentle, cooling, breezes. The slightly off-center step-pyramid is relatively modest, but it’s terraced gardens, paths, and hundred small waterfalls make it a lovely place to stroll and relax. The occasional hawk, fire lizard, or flying carpet soars above, but most heavy traffic – and the more modern amenities – are handled below the surface. Sadly, a good deal of the more distant vistas are actually semi-illusory, or are miniature scenes populated by manikins or (for those which are supposed to be “closer”) poppets.

Just below the city a trio of waypoints serve as a guardpost, as a staging area, and as a crossroads for the Journeys linked to some of the Chancel-Waypoints that the Freehold has claimed. From there, a ramp spirals down to another complex of waypoints hidden deep within the black depths of the mesa – where the barracks for the Freeholds troops, armories, vehicle hangers, a command post, and other military facilities await a call to arms that will, hopefully, never come. Still, if the call does come… a modest fleet of light tanks, APC’s, attack helicopters, and other light military units await. The access-ways to the surface, the harbor, and the fields and practice ground at the foot of the mesa appear to be solid rock, but the portals can be easily opened with a little simple shaping. Here is the Stronghold headquarters of the Commander, the Old Man of the Mountain, Master of the Dervish Janni – his skills at command exceeded only by his mastery of his twin blades and the Quixotic Knight Style.

The Hearthfire burns beneath the central palace, the mighty edifice which Leon uses as his home and workshop – taking the form of a seething pool of volcanic fire, suitable for forging mighty rings of power with a splendid winecellar close at hand and without all that bothersome traipsing about through a rocky wasteland full of orcs. Here too is Leon’s Throne Room and the offices of Lohenwilt of the Night Mist, the Evil Grand Vizier, who usually keeps the Freehold organized. Lohenwilt is a Heroic Commoner Raksha, most noticeable for his use of an inward-facing onieromancy (The Serpent’s Fang Ring) that allows him to readily conjure poisons, toxic mists, impenetrable fog, blasts of molten lead, and chains, as well as for his mastery of swift telekinetic thaumaturgy (also a feature of the ring actually) which he can use to manipulate such things. He usually wears an assumption of Fire, Wood, and Fox. Most poisons are utterly ineffectual within the Freehold thanks to it’s Manse, but if you get a nasty stomachache after a meal, it may well mean that Lohenwilt is annoyed at you. Outside of the Freehold such tactics are MUCH more effective.

The Cathederal Of The Winds soars at the edge of the plateau area, looking out over the rippling waves of the storm-tossed sea, the wings of it’s swanlike-roof offering cool shade and a place to study. Here are kept a thousand scrolls of heroic tales, each a catalyst capable of transforming a mere mortal into an embodiment of dream. Here the Doctrine and the Hanging Garden’s internal Onieromancies are managed by “Cardinal Richelieu”, the Freehold’s Prelate – a slightly odd Heroic Commoner Raksha who, in his spare time, plots to take over France and reinstate the monarchy while sparring with several commoners playing the Three Musketeers. The fencing academy is out back and, while the master is no great challenge by Exalted standards, he’s a true marvel as a teacher for Mortals.

Deep in the stone beneath the plateau, in an aquifer that is a metaphor for the seething power of Chaos that empowers the Freehold as much or more as it is supplied by melting snows in distant mountains, great pressures sealed beneath layers of impermeable rock drive a stream of water and essence up through a fault to erupt at last in a might fountain atop the central ziggurat, rolling down it’s sides to flow out through a hundred miniature aqueducts to feed the flowing pools and channels of the rooftop gardens, the thirst of the city, and the waterfalls that cascade down the sculpted cliffs and terraces of the plateau. Where that seething water flows the power that pours from it as it pours from the Font has engendered consciousness – a mind vast and slow that informs the entire Freehold. Here the Chancellor of the Hanging Gardens listens to the ever-shifting song of chaos and from it plucks melodies to drift upon the airs of the Freehold, bearing with them obscure strengths.

Hanging Gardens Freehold Consciousness. Demesne 5, 14 waypoints base. One primary and six secondary gates are scattered around; these are DC 10 to stunt through (usually with Larceny) and conceal themselves with ten automatic successes. It produces 15 Pennants.

  • Virtues and Graces: Heart 4, Sword 10, Ring 9, Cup 9, Staff 9, Way 6, Means 7, Mirror 6, and Thorn 6. (Compassion 4, Conviction 4, Temperance 2, Valor 2.
  • Caste: Noble Artisan (with 250 XP).
  • Essence 4 (5), Essence Pool 50, Will 10 (5 BP)
  • Health Levels: Effectively infinite.
  • Thaumaturgy; Access to Adenic Thaumaturgy.
    • Physical Attributes: Strength 5, Dexterity 8, Stamina 6
    • Social Attributes: Charisma 5, Manipulation 7, Appearance 4
    • Mental Attributes: Perception 6, Intelligence 8, Wits 8
  • Caste Abilities: Bureaucracy 3, Craft 4, Integrity 2, Investigation 4, and Lore 4.
  • Favored Abilities: Larceny 4, Archery 3, and Occult 4
  • Other Abilities: Awareness 3, Presence 3, and War 3
  • Specialties: +3 (5) Occult/Spellcasting, +2 War/ Raksha Forces, +2 Craft/Graces, +2 Lore/Mythology,
  • Backgrounds: Arsenal 1 (5), Gossamer 3 (6), Birth 5, Followers 4, Retinue 5, Style 5 (From Charm),
  • Birth-Charms: Assumption of Earth Form, Ravishing the Created Form, Banquet of Crumbs, Essence-Forging Art, Awakened Dream Manufacture, Forging (The Grace) (All) (these manifest at the Cathedral Of Winds, where mortals and others may read heroic legends and develop their own Graces), Gaping Virtue Mouth, Ecstatic Reproduction Style.
  • Other Charms: Continuum Of Dreams (may move into common mortal dreams), Dreaming Thunder Guardian (may perform wyld stunt defenses reflexively), Essence Forging Art (plus, Gossamer Forging Art, Crafter’s Arsenal, Unreal Shipwrights Method, and Principle Of Worlds, all manifested as workshops), Evocation of Earth Form, Fall Of Night Shadows The Truth (conceals the city from investigation), Forge of Dreams (boosts wyld stunts, may perform (Sta) per day extra), Glorious Hero Form x 5 (+1 to each attribute), Gossamer Winged Flight (it can fly), Great Works of the (Grace) and Unshaped (Grace) Transformation for all eight graces (yes, this means working with types of treasures that are currently unknown; A part of the workshops at the Cathederal Of The Winds), Harvest of the Winds (gain motes and glamour from the magnitude of the mortals around you each day), Into The Maelstorm (wyld stunts are per session, not story), Oneiromantic Conjuration (draw one gossamer/scene where there’s a sleeping mortal; yes, that’s citywide, for about 80/day), Ordinary Object Conjuration, Scourging Wind Raid (steals things), Shape Forged Servant (gives your creations mutations), Style Improving Spirit (gain style five), Subversion and Transformation Artifice and Morphogenic Mastery (may mutate normal and fantastical creatures, including sapients), The Dream-Quest Of Unknown Kadath (+1 to artifact level, four maximum, requires (new dots) months, 5 Committed Motes, 1 XP or 20G, soaks things in the Font), Transient Works Of Flesh And Bone and Calling The Dance Of Blades (summon superior armies and monsters), Unassailable Tower Of Glamour (all stunt dice succeed), Unsightly Rigor Approach (temporarily boost virtues/graces), Veiling The Gods Eyes (Instant area effect thaumaturgy with no components).
  • Currently Chancel-1 Gates to Aden/The Sea Of Chaos, Los Angeles, London, and Ireland.

Thanks to Leon’s incredible graces, the Freehold founded upon his power is a most impressive Freehold indeed…

The Beacon is a blazing gemlike structure, high above the center of the city like a glittering star (Only the great guardian statues rise higher) and serves as a lookout into Creation. Here Savina of the Tower, The Elerin, Seer of Tanis, looks forth across the leagues, occasionally using her thaumaturgic powers, the guiding power of the Beacon, or the Staff-Shaping powers of the Brush of Etherill to launch Staff-Shaping “attacks” (often bestowing various mutations via Behemoth Forging Meditation) at mortals in the surrounding lands – or guiding the lost and abandoned to the Freehold or otherwise interfering. Savina rather likes mortal children – they’re cute and make great pets! – and occasionally grants them unexpected boons of power. (Yes: she uses Imposition Of Law to ALWAYS spot things she will find interesting within several hundred miles unless they’re hidden by magic or stunts. With mortals… they rarely are)

The Brush of Etherill:

For this cycle of the moon I shall strive to touch the lives of mortals with the wonders of the Wyld.

This Sthiti Oath has a five-mote committment cost and takes the form of an artists brush, shimmering with the opalescent hues of wild energies. As a Staff-Shaping Weapon, the Brush of Etherill has Speed 5, Accuracy +1, Damage +16, Defense +1, Rate 2, and the “P” tag. As a five-dot artifact it also has a major power; the Brush of Etherill can sketch the Sigil of the Logrus – the True Sign of Chaos. Even in the very heart of Creation the user may expend 3M to launch a staff-shaping attack at a six-waypoint range or over an arcane link.

As an Oath it bestows:

  • Workers Gift (2): Whenever the user brings the forces of the wyld into creation, he or she will gain two Gossamer.
  • Gossamer Winged Flight (2): The user may be borne aloft upon the brushes shimmering rainbow radiance.
  • Swift Wings of Song (1): The user may add his or her Cup rating in automatic success to Join Battle, Join War, and Join Debate rolls.
  • Untouchable Performer Technique (1): It is most difficult to stir up action against the user.
  • Gladdening Visage (1): The user is almost impossible to directly identify as a Raksha.
  • Surpassing Excellence (1): The user gains a +2 stacking speciality in Craft (Art).

The Brush of Etherill is a very potent artifact indeed – as befits a five-dot device of any kind. 

Exalted – Fantastic Freeholds

Freeholds, as written, do very little and take up a good deal of what space is allotted to them with repetition. Ergo, here we have some revised and expanded rules for them.

Like cities, Freeholds are built up out of lesser structures – essentially minor grace-artifacts. In general, gaining control of such a structure requires peaceful access to it for a few hours, a minor ritual (that leaves the ritualist vulnerable for a time) suited to it’s nature, and a committed mote. Only one Raksha can actively control a structure at a time, but several may commit to a structure and rotate control among themselves. While only a Banefire is absolutely required, the majority of Freeholds have several additional structures.

The Hearthfire (Heart Grace, Element of Earth) is a fountain of raw, radiant, chaotic power – but it is chaos that is, while still perilous and terrible, bound and limited. It’s the core of the Freehold, and requires twenty motes and one gossamer per tale to maintain. Whoever attunes themselves to the Hearthfire is the Master of the Freehold. The Hearthfire…

  • Turns the area into the stationary equivalent of a Chancel containing (Demesne + Grace + 5) Waypoints. Sadly, a Freehold in creation cannot attain it’s full internal size; a waypoint covers up to 700 square miles in the Wyld, but only up to 50 acres in Creation. The area differs from a Chancel in two ways; it’s destruction simply returns the area inside to its original location, but it is possible (if not easy, see below) to create unauthorized entryways from that location using shaping techniques.
  • Produces (The greater of Heart Grace or Demesne Level) x 3 pennants. These act as virtually indestructible mundane equipment. Carrying one prevents essence loss from Calcification. Each three carried provides one mote/hour. The Master can dissolve a pennant wherever it may be, and reform it from the Hearthfire over the course of a story.
  • Limits shaping and mutation effects used within or against it. The Freehold may reject any shaping within it that does not fit it’s theme, increasing the difficulty by it’s Master’s Essence against charms and by twice that simply shaping and wyld stunts – an effect which also serves to help keep anyone from bypassing the designated entryways and (by default) shields residents against wyld mutations, storms, and similar annoyances.

As long as a Master of the Freehold is within the Freehold or holds one of it’s pennants…

  • He is reflexively aware of all activity there, may interact with the whole Freehold at once, and can use shaping actions and interact socially as if present anywhere within it.
  • He gains a number of automatic successes equal to his Essence on all shaping rolls within the Freehold and may use his own shaping defenses on the Freehold’s behalf.
  • He may reflexively spy on anyone carrying pennants from the Freehold, looking in on them as if present.

 Those attuned to subsidiary structures get lesser benefits. 

The Font (Ring Grace, Element of Water) manifests as a passive but graceful element or source – most often involving water somehow of course. Whoever commits to the Font is the Chancellor of the Freehold. A Font…

  • Turns the Freehold into a living being that serves its Master(s) and it’s Chancellor. Freeholds are built as Raksha with similar heart ratings (1 commoner /2 heroic commoner /3 noble /4 noble with 250 XP) although their purchased physical attributes only apply for calculation purposes and they don’t have to pay for their base graces (although they may pay to upgrade them or to acquire their own, independent of their founders, in which case they’ll have two). Like an indestructible manse, a Freehold may only be “injured” through shaping effects or geomantic sabotage. The consciousness of a Freehold is distant and abstract, but it witnesses everything that transpires within itself and may choose to interact – albeit wordlessly. Secondarily, a Freehold’s graces become built-in Treasures of the same rating (these days a much-needed alternate way to create a more powerful treasure without leaving Creation to quest against the unshaped). Like manse-based Artifacts, these Treasures require no attunement, activation, or maintenance on the Freehold’s part.
    • Treasures may grant their effects to up to (Will) individuals who are either within the Freehold or are carrying one of it’s pennants at any one time.
    • Inward-facing Onieromancies apply to anyone within the Freehold whom the Freehold wants them to. They become active once the Freehold has a Doctrine.
    • Outward-facing Onieromancies apply either around the Freeholds original location or to everyone in the Freehold. They become active once the Freehold has a Doctrine.
    • Abjurations may be sworn to by anyone sworn to the Freehold with access to the Throne. If a Throne hasn’t been installed yet these treasures have no effect.
    • Behemoths may be manifested as usual (with triple normal health levels) – but only once the Freehold has a Stronghold for them to “live in”.
  • If the Font is rated at 4+, the Hearthfire becomes entirely self-sustaining.

The Chancellor gains the same benefits as the Master (above), but his shaping actions, defenses, and automatic successes are limited to ring-shaping.

The Doctrine (Cup Grace, Element of Air) often manifests as some sort of tome, monument, museum, library, or shrine. Whoever commits to the Doctrine is the Prelate of the Freehold.

  • The Prelate may alter the ambiance of the Freehold at will, making a social attack with (Doctrine Rating + 5) successes against any or all of the individuals inside at the beginning of each scene. It must, however, be the same suggestion for all targets. Mortals are often hit with “love, obey, and linger with the Raksha here!”, invaders may find their morale collapsing, and even the residents may find their desire for a crusade waxing uncontrollably.
  • The Prelate may increase of decrease the respiration of individual Raksha within the Freehold by up to (Doctrine Rating) points per hour.
  • The Prelate may activate, direct, and deactivate the Freehold’s Onieromancies.

The Prelate gains the same benefits as the Master (above), but his shaping actions, defenses, and automatic successes are limited to cup-shaping activities.

The Stronghold (Sword Grace, Element of Fire). Manifests with warlike male symbolism – a fortress, warcanp, or gatehouse, a mountain, or an armory. Whoever commits to the Stronghold is the Commander of the Freehold (although other military titles are often used). A Stronghold…

  • Allows a Freehold to claim up to (Sword x 10) extra waypoints. In creation this involves seizing control of a chunk of territory adjacant to the Freehold and holding it for three months. In the wyld an adjacant waypoint need only be claimed via sword-shaping.
  • Fills the Freehold with features that offer an advantage to it’s occupants and a hindrance to attackers. Attackers suffer a +2 external penalty to all combat-related actions, while defenders gain +2 dice on similar actions. Secondarily, the Freehold has a garrison equivalent to a magnitude (Stronghold Rating + 4) unit of elite warriors to defend itself with and to enforce it’s will.
  • The Commander may deploy and direct the Freehold’s Behemoths. Without a Commander they cannot be used.

The Commander gains the same benefits as the Master (above), but his shaping actions, defenses, and automatic successes are limited to sword-shaping.

As a note…

According to the original rules the commander could rearrange the journeys between the Freehold’s waypoints once per scene, although he could not completely isolate any of them. Of course, technically… setting up a pair of waypoints that can only access each other isn’t actually isolating either of them. Even if you disallow self-contained systems like that a commander could always take, say, 21 waypoints, make a ring out of them, link it to the outside with one link, and keep that link on the opposite side of the ring from whoever’s annoyed him – placing them always three hundred miles from the exit. Given that each time they make a journey it will be a new scene, letting the general rearrange things again, the only escape would be waiting for the General to get bored or using something like Mirror Shattering Method or wyld-shaping to escape the Freehold altogether. Given that this is rather silly, this ability has been replaced.

The Throne (Staff Grace, Element of Wood) manifests as some sort of social center; a grand palace, a nightclub, or a political rally. Whoever commits to the Throne is the Freehold’s Vizier (“Evil” and “Grand” are both optional).

  • The Throne allows residents – Raksha or not – to bind themselves in fealty to the Freehold and its master. Any oaths binding the Freehold apply to all such characters until they or the current master rejects that fealty. If sworn on the Throne, oaths are as binding to non-Raksha as they are to Raksha.
  • The Vizier may swear one oath or abjuration per tale on the Freehold’s behalf, applying it’s benefits to up to (Will) residents and/or individuals carrying pennants from the Freehold at a time.
  • The Vizier controls the Freehold’s innate Abjurations, and is free to offer them, withhold them, or even cancel individual oaths sworn to them, at will.

The Vizier gains the same benefits as the Master (above), but his shaping actions, defenses, and automatic successes are limited to staff-shaping.

Secondarily, a Freehold may be given minor graces as well – and may thus manifest additional structures.

The Beacon (Way Grace, tied to Perception) manifests as some more-or-less spectacular attraction – something guaranteed to draw the eye. Whoever commits to the Beacon is the Freehold’s Seneschal.

  • A Beacon enchants a radius of (rank x 2) journeys in the Wyld or (rank x 5) miles in Creation. Anyone in that area who isn’t affiliated with the Freehold is subject to a once-a-day social attack with (Way Trait + 5) automatic successes attempting to direct their paths. They may be drawn to the Freehold or kept from intruding on it, be steered into or around hazards, be encouraged to move away, or be led to stumble across fey gifts at the whim of the Seneschal.
  • Within the Freehold the Seneschal may bend space slightly, tripling the effective movement and granting a +3 on their ranged DV to those he favors.
  • The Seneschal is automatically aware of all Way-shaping within the Freehold, may use any relevant Way defenses against shaping attacks made against the Freehold’s waypoints, and may take Way-shaping actions as if present in any of the Freehold’s waypoints. The Seneschal is also automatically aware of the current strength of the Freehold’s reserves and of the current Essence pool of all Raksha residing there.

The Treasury (Means Grace, tied to Manipulation) manifests as place of commerce and exchange – a country store, a mint, a fair, mall, or a dragon’s horde. Whoever commits to the Treasury is the Freehold’s Chairman.

  • A Freehold with a Treasury may divide up it’s Means rating as desired between Gossamer and Arsenal (as a bonus if it already possesses either or both), renewing it’s stocks at the beginning of each game session. It can also be considered to have appropriate stockpiles of supplies, mundane resources, and shaping weapons.
  • The Chairman is automatically aware of all means-shaping within the Freehold, may use any relevant Means defenses against shaping attacks made against the Freehold’s waypoints, and may take Means-shaping actions as if present in any of the Freehold’s waypoints. He may also broker transactions through elsewhere between any willing parties who are either within the Freehold or carrying one of it’s pennants, transferring properties and gossamer as needed.

The Manse (Mirror Grace, tied to Appearance) appears as just that – a manse. Whoever commits to the Manse is the Freehold’s Curator.

  • A Freehold with a Manse possesses a dual aspect; to the creation-born it appears to be a manse which – through some secret passage or hidden portal – offers access to a Freehold. To a Raksha it appears to be a Freehold, with some secret passage or hidden portal that offers access to a manse.
  • The Manse is rated at (Mirror Grace Rating – 1) or (Demesne Rating – 1) whichever is less and is designed normally – although it simply comes into existence and never has any features which are hostile to Raksha.
  • The Curator is automatically aware of all Mirror-shaping within the Freehold, may use any relevant Mirror defenses against shaping attacks made against the Freehold’s waypoints, and may take Mirror-shaping actions as if present in any of the Freehold’s waypoints. He may draw on the equivalent of the Manse’s Hearthstone without need for attunement or Heaven Rains Wisdom even if someone else has it or it’s been destroyed at the moment and has access to all the manse functions – which he may extend throughout the Freehold if he so desires.

The Hedge (Thorn Grace, tied to Charisma) manifests as some sort of intransigent barrier – an impassible cliff, moat of lava, literal hedge of thorns, or other hindrance round the Freehold. Its nature is to constrain possibility and drain the strength of others through countless tiny frustrations. Whoever commits to the Hedge is the Freehold’s Gardener.

  • While the Hedge’s manifestation is an indestructible annoyance, it’s true power lies in the limitation of possibility. The Gardener is automatically aware of all attempts at stunting within the Freehold, and may opt to reduce their effectiveness by one level – or by two if the Thorn Grace used is rated at five or more. This constraint reduces both the die bonus and the rewards of the stunt.
  • The Gardener is automatically aware of all Thorn-shaping within the Freehold, may use any relevant Thorn defenses against shaping attacks made against the Freehold’s waypoints, and may take Thorn-shaping actions as if present in any of the Freehold’s waypoints. He is also aware of it if any sworn member of the Freehold is entrapped in Creation, Malfeas, or the Underworld, or if they suffer a true death. If the hedge is rated at 5+, the Gardener may choose to do battle as if he was creation-born himself.

Lesser Structures are usually manifestations of the Freehold’s Charms. For example, a Freehold with Unshaped Cup Transformation will probably have a workshop of some sort, where a Raksha can use (and pay for) the effects of that charm.

Exalted – Mothra Leo, Greater Kaiju Manse

And to continue with the catching up…

Mothra Leo was one of Charles’s little side-projects – a venture into the realms of the human racemind to build a manse on a mental demesne to embody that demesne. Perhaps sadly, there weren’t all that many of the major Kaiju demesnes left – but, for good or ill (and possibly quite intentionally) the Cauldron-Born hadn’t yet gotten around to creating a Kaiju-Manse to embody Mothra Leo – perhaps the single Kaiju most perfectly suited to Charles’s nature.

Charles promptly took the chance to build Mothra Leo to be his own friend – forgetting in his enthusiasm that Leo is rather strongly linked with tiny “Fairies” – also known as Diminutive Raksha – even if they are generally protective of the earth.

Manse Construction Points: 10 (Rank-***** Base) +1 (Can be driven off by the efforts of other Kaiju Manses or major military operations) +3 (Maintenance, normally handled by it’s Guardian Force), +5 (-5 Hearthstone levels) +9 (Integrated Enhancement Artifacts III, acquired by the Raksha Guardian Force via Wyld Questing) = 28

If you don’t use the rule for manse-boosting artifacts you can achieve exactly the same effect by just adding a few more points from geomantic relays of course.

  • Exotic Aspect; Kaiju (Of course; 0). Kaiju Aspected Manses: offer a -1 on the cost of Essence Vents, Exotic Aspect, Living Manse, Mutagenic (affecting the manse only), Immutable, Wyld Revocation, and Integrated Essence Artillery, as well as access to the Wyld Kingdom.
  • Essence Vents (0): These are a necessity for Kaiju manses; when one turns up, there tends to be a sudden surge in belief – which may temporarily boost the effective cult rating. Without some way to discharge the extra power, a Kaiju could explode.
  • Living Manse (0): All Kaiju are, to some extent, living creatures – and so can have mutations. They are, however, still structures; they do not need to eat, drink, or breathe and aren’t vulnerable to things that usually don’t affect structures, such as poison, crippling, disease, and similar effects.
  • Mutagenic (0): All Kaiju are mutated – and usually very highly so. While this ability only works on the manse itself, Kaiju – like other creatures altered by demesnes and manses – can survive unhindered in Creation, no matter how severely mutated they become. (Oadenols Codex, Page 50).
  • Awakened Little God (1): As a Rank-5 Manse, Mothra Leo has “Leo” – an Essence-4 god – for a manse-spirit. Leo, like many manse-spirits, sees the manse it’s embodied in as it’s “body” and provides assistance with spellcasting and piloting.

Leo (Quick God Version): Essence 4, Will 9, 85 Motes, Soak 16B/11L/6A, Health 1x-0, 7x-1, 6x -2, -4. Int 10, Dex 10, Wits 10, Remaining stats all 4. Abilities: Athletics 5, Archery 5, Integrity 5, Presence 5, Martial Arts 5, and Occult 5. Compassion 5, Temperance 2, Conviction 4, Valor 2. Charms 24 – and 15 bonus points to spend. Leo also has Cup, Ring, Sword, and Staff virtues rated at (Corresponding Virtue + 1) thanks to Charles’s Grace Stone, and can take Raksha Charms as if he had Heart 4.

Leo is an expert thaumaturgist, with several charms to enhance such abilities and access to Adenic Thaumaturgy. He’s quite friendly really, and considers anyone who watches Toho Studios Mothra movies to be a worshiper – but it DOES have it’s duty to oppose menaces to earth.

  • Immutable (1): Mothra Leo, and everyone within it, is immune to unwanted shaping effects – allowing it to ignore many attacks and to navigate deep space and even the Wyld without fear.
  • Network Node (1) and Geomantic Nexus (1): While the Great Kaiju rarely rely on external sources of power – why make yourself vulnerable when you have internal options? – it’s always handy to be able to use it.
  • Bound Servant Force (3): Many Kaiju have associated creatures, even if they’re often purely internal. Mothra Leo has an entire crew of Heroic Commoner (quasi-) Raksha. For some reason they’re all kind of tiny though…
  • Indestructible (5): A Greater Kaiju may look like it’s taking damage, but it never really does. It can, however – as noted above – be temporarily driven off by another Greater Kaiju (or, preferably, by a team thereof) or by a sufficiently large and powerful army. They’ll just show up again later though, good as new.
  • The Wyld Kingdom (5):
    • Bilocation: Kaiju are always present (And relatively stationary with respect to other ideas) in their dream-domain, but may manifest in the physical world and wander around there freely.
    • The Wandering Mind: The “inside” of each Kaiju acts as a Chancel, with a rating equal to the manses. The landscape is freely shapeable, which does not hinder the manse’s movements since the Chancels are considered to be in the stationary aspect. This allows Kaiju to have their own internal manse networks, to support immense “crews”, and for those “crews” to be pretty much unaffected by the material Kaiju-aspect of their manse being irradiated, blasted, tossed around or otherwise assaulted. At least one mystic has claimed that all of Creation and it’s associated “local” wyld is, in fact, within “The Great Turtle”, and that the Shinmai simply define it’s outer shell – but most of the rest of Creation are pretty sure that he’s wrong.
    • The Sentai Syndrome; Kaiju function rather like Raksha Behemoths; they use the best powers and abilities of their crew (or awakened spirit) as a base, and the crew may use their charms through it or on it’s behalf.
    • Wyld Radiance: Greater Kaiju “mutations” take effect while they’re being built. When stacking mutations they are considered to have essences of (Rating + 1).
    • Living Weapons: Greater Kaiju artifact weapons require no maintenance, may have unique “special effects”, have a minimum rate of 2, multiply their radius of effect or number of targets (all use the same attack check, a flurry is not required) by the number of levels of Gargantuan the Kaiju has and multiply their ranges similarly.
  • The Wyld Kingdom (5):
    • Raksha within Leo are reconciled with Creation, and are treated like normal creation-born while within it. They may attune to Leo, respire there, and are not subject to calcification or to charms such as Order Restoring Blow.
    • Raksha within Leo will find their bodies supported by essence-flows, much as they are in the Wyld; while they still cannot simply shape themselves back from death, they do double their normal allotment of health levels (if combined with another, similar, effect this can triple their health levels – but that’s the upper limit).
    • Raksha within Leo find that Essence is just easier to manipulate; they get a +12 bonus to their Essence Pool, +1d when it comes to essence roll-offs, and three bonus charms from among those they’d normally be eligible to pick. (They can pick new ones if and when they learn one or more of them normally).
    • Raksha within Leo may choose to invest their lowest health level in him. Thereafter they’re always considered to be within him as well as wherever they physically are. If they’re killed or otherwise destroyed in any fashion that does not destroy Leo as well, they will reform at the manse. There unique method of destruction which will prevent this, but the nature of it is very difficult to discover. Equally unfortunately, if all the health levels above the one transferred are gone, their body will die immediately.
    • Raksha within Leo find it easier to attune and activate Grace Magic; the first five “committed motes” do not come from their essence pool and they reduce the cost of activating onieromancies by 5 motes and 1 glamour.
  • Integrated Utility Artifacts/Essence Artillery (since they’re both the same cost for a Kaiju manse, they can be mixed as desired as long as the total is correct, 3)

Mothra Leo… has a wild and wonderful array of powers in the source material, including energy rays, personal transformations, binding effects, laying magical seals, force fields, regrowing forests, healing, space travel, invisibility, armoring himself, spraying electro-shock webs, dividing into many smaller versions of himself, manipulating the earth, ritualistically building up more powerful attacks, releasing poisons, slashing through targets with razor sharp wings, transmuting enemies into crystal, reflecting attacks, providing life support, lightspeed or FTL flight, and time travel. The manse-based version has Adenic Thaumaturgy and some boosters for it, which provides a similar range of powers – if not the time travel.

  • The Cabalistic Tree Of Life (*****): The energies of the Tree Of Life affect Mothra Leo and everyone within him, enhancing Thaumaturgy to an incredible degree. Everyone within Mothra Leo gains a +2 bonus to each mental attribute, a +10 bonus to Occult, a -2 the Target Number for Occult, reduces the base cost of using Thaumaturgy to 2 Motes, may ignore the need for ordinary (resource *** or less) material components for their thaumaturgy, and reduce the base time their thaumaturgy requires by one level.
  • Heavy Implosion Blow (*****): This has a variety of special effects, but they’re all basically a big energy-blast.
  • When Mothra Leo has enough geomantic relay points available he provides a mote pool of 125 motes (5) for his residents to draw on (although it’s shared between EVERYONE, so its only in extreme emergencies) and additional sets of artifact-weapons.

Mutations:

  • Changing Coloration (1) Yes, Mothra Leo is multicolored and very pretty.
  • Cheetah’s Pace (+6 movement, 4)
  • Elemental Rejuvenation (Regains essence and wound levels while in the air, Air, 6)
  • Enhanced Sense x5 (+2 dice on all awareness checks, 5)
  • Fog (Cloud) Sense (Sees through clouds, 1)
  • Gargantuan (variant; provides no bonus health levels; those are converted to base movement. +4 Str, +4 Sta, +10 movement per level, six levels, 36)
  • Supernatural Quickness (+6 movement, 6)
  • Third (Well Thousand) Chakra Eye (+2 Awareness, Sees Spirits, 2)
  • Wings x5 (Flight at x10 base speed, 6).

Mothra Leo thus has a normal movement rate of (Dex + 76) – generally a minimum of 86 – and a flight speed of 860. That’s roughly 180 / 1800 MPH. Movement boosting charms will affect this normally; Leo often uses Landscape Travel to quadruple it (achieving Mach 13 in flight).

Actually doing effective battle with a Kaiju Manse is a lengthy project. Sure, you can unleash your mighty weapons, and super-charms, and so on – and destroy Tokyo while you’re at it – but it will just appear again in a sequel. If you actually want to defeat one permanently, you’ll need to fight indirectly. You could go in for psychomantic sabotage; all you need to do is to destroy or weaken the human race sufficiently or to institute a cultural countercurrent. Simple inattention won’t be enough though; a manse stabilizes it’s own demesne – so simply trying to make humanity forget it won’t work. You need to actively put out books, movies, and other productions that undermine it – and hope that it hasn’t become self-contained and independent of external psychomancy.

If it has gotten that far you’ll need to engage it in battle long enough to find a way into it’s internal realm, get in, defeat it’s crew and internal guardians, and either take it over or find it’s “vital organs” – the internal manses that add to it’s power and insulate it from external power losses – and destroy them and THEN get rid of it with psychomantic sabotage.

Yes, that’s kind of awkward. It’s often easier to just find a way to get it into a conversation and persuade it to go away or help out rather than making a mess.

Exalted – Some Raksha Miscellany

Next up on trying to catch up it’s a few leftover things for Leon – a Charm, three more Treasures, a couple of Horrors, and an accounting for Leon’s duplicates of Charles’s Hearthstones and Artifacts.

In The Style Of The Renaissance Masters (Cost: -; Mins: Ring 4, Essence 3; Type: Permanent, Keywords: Native, Glamour (3), Mutation (2), Duration: Permanent, Prerequisite Charms: Style-Improving Spirit).

The user’s sublime style now extends to those objects he or she uses; all such items – weapons and armor, tools and clothing, and everything else – is treated as being “perfect”. Creatures (and any shaping weapons that manifest as such) are also affected; the usual +1/+1/+2 bonus traits for “perfection” may be allotted to attributes, abilities, and total mutation points, although additional mutations for ordinary creatures (say, the horse you just stole) are usually invested in fairly subtle things, such as being faster, or inexhaustible, or some such. Items which are fine, exceptional, or “perfect” already (such as most artifacts) do not gain both sets of bonus; you have to subtract any existing quality bonuses first.

And yes… this particular charm is a reflection of Charles’s crafting talents, as filtered through Leon’s “I’m on vacation!” prospective.

Cloud Of Awe (Oneiromancy *, 3 Motes to Attune)

The Cloud Of Awe takes the form of just that – a fabulous aura of power, derived from the near-divine blood running through the user’s veins (yes; it’s an injectable Oneiromancy). While it’s power infuses the user his words carry terrible power and his speed is quite inhuman.

  • Assumption of the Person’s Heart (1): The Cloud Of Awe takes the form of a radiant, silvery, substance to be injected into the user’s circulatory system.
  • Beguilement (5): Boosts staff-shaping attacks in the Wyld, converts social attacks to UMI that cost 2 will as a base to resist in Creation. The user’s words strike straight to the heart, drawing the target into the user’s ideas.
  • Mad Gods Mien (1): The Cloud Of Awe is not subject to Countermagic.
  • Swift Wings Of Song (3): The user may add his or her Cup rating to Join Battle, Join War, and Join Debate checks.

The Shamanic Way (Oneiromancy *, 3 Motes to Attune)

  • Assumption of the Person’s Heart (1): The Shamanic Way takes the form of a complex tattooed mandala, showing a thousand spiritual paths woven through the sigils of the five elements. That wheel constantly turns in the user’s mind, when he or she focuses upon it, it will reveal the elemental secrets of Creation around the user.
  • Imposition of Law x3 (9): Always succeeds in identifying the right spirits to get in touch with to produce a given effect, always succeeds in getting in touch, always succeeds in explaining exactly what’s needed (actually persuading them to help is a job for the user’s social skills).

The Phoenix Oath (Abjuration *, Commits 1 Mote).

While I walk in Creation, I shall hold it’s elements as my own!

  • Assumption Of Fire Shape (1) : Provides immunity to nonmagical heat and fire.
  • Assumption of Dreams and Passion (1): Select an emotion. Gain one automatic success on all social rolls where it might be useful and +1 MDV against mental influences which would contradict it.

The Phoenix Oath is a common way for Noble Raksha to gain an effective form without resorting to permanent personal mutations, with all their penalties. Those who swear it must, however, show some respect for the elemental powers of nature – although that’s often a good idea in any case.

Leon’s Personal Shaping Weapons:

Horrors: Base Attributes Str 14, Dex 17, Sta 16 (8L/16B Soak), Cha 0, Man 0, App 0, Per 12, Int 12, Wit 12. Will 12, Compassion 7, Conviction 7, Temperance 7, Valor 8. Melee 5, War 5, Athletics 5, Archery 2, Dodge 9, Firearms 2, Occult 11, Thrown 3. 11 mutation points with Xaverite Cubicon, up to 13 with In The Style Of The Renaissance Masters. All gain the benefit of Hit Locations and Leon’s extra health levels.

Sirrush/horse-sized dragon-cat-things. +2 Dex, +1 Thrown, Mutations (12) Opalescent Gossamer Raiment (+12 L/B Soak, Net 20L/28B, 2), Ordinary Object Conjuration (Stream of Flaming Napalm, 3, aimed with Thrown), Gossamer Winged Flight (2), Racing Dragon Speed x 2 (2), Surpassing Excellence (aiming flames, +2d, net 28d, 1), Claws and Fangs (1), and Assumption Of Fire Shape (gives them immunity to natural fire and smoke; they have no objections at all to hosing themselves down napalm occasionally to discourage attackers).

  • Napalm Blast: Acc +4, Dam 12L+4L/Action Flame, Rate 2, Range 60, 20 ft radius.
  • Sirrush as a sword-shaping weapon: Speed 5, Acc +5, Dam +8, Def +0, Rate 3.

Sirrush are actually quite lovely (or perhaps the word is “Spectacular”), in the fashion of a monstrous scaly creature of multicolored fire with horns, feline forelegs, raptorial talons on the hind legs, and muzzles full of teeth. Their usual tactics are pretty simple; they swoop by overhead and set things on fire. If the target proves impervious to fire, they may fight directly, but are just as likely to drop heavy objects, push over walls, or carry the victim to a great height before dropping them. They aren’t STUPID – but when you’re armor-plated, immensely strong, fly, and “breathe” massive blasts of napalm, you usually don’t need sophisticated tactics.

Humbaba, the Bull Of Heaven, is a mighty giant with the horns of a bull, the face of a lion, a serpent for a penis, and scales over his fairly manlike body. +1 Str, +1 Archery, Mutations (13): Opalescent Gossamer Raiment (+12 L/B Soak, Net 22L/32B, 2), Gargantuan (4x normal size, +4 Str (Net 19), +4 Sta (Net 20), extra health levels: -0x2, -1×4, -2×4, 6), Essence Channeler/only to power Attack and Weather Control Thaumaturgy, 2), Claws and Fangs (1), and Armament Of Flesh (Dreadful Gaze: Speed 5, Accuracy +6 (Net 26), Damage +3L (Net 22L), Rate 3, uses Archery, range 300, 2).

  • Humbaba as a sword-shaping weapon: Speed 5, Acc +4, Dam +8, Def +2, Rate 2.

Humbaba will usually scoop up a really big club (treat as a mundane Tetsubo) to smack things that get close, turn his terrible destructive gaze on things that are further away, and – if given time and the situation calls for it – use his powers over the natural elements to invoke assorted natural disasters, ranging from simple storms and floods to earthquakes, tidal waves, and rains of fire.

Storm Kings Banner; Accuracy +4, as a Hazard causes an extra -2 penalty, for a total of -14.

The Can Of Beer; Defense +3, as a Hazard gains a +2 bonus to the user’s social attacks which involve enjoying the party.

Charles – and thus Leon – uses a monstrous pile of rating-5 Hearthstones. Leon can socket thirty of them in his Graces (and does so) via Hatching The Geomantic Egg, as well as having a few more hearthstone sockets available in various items.

Hearthstone-Based Effects: (Mote Recovery 2/Minute).

  • Devoted to Committed Motes (8): Ambrosial Chalice, Black Opaline Inkstone, Earthmaster’s Stone, Two Forgestones, Honorable Diamond Gem, Phantom Castle Stone, Radiant Heart Ruby. This provides him with the equivalent of eighty committed motes – far more than enough.
  • Noted Statistical Bonuses: +1 Int, +1 Dex, Double Style Pool and Recovery, +3 to effective Cult. These are already included.
  • Defenses: Immune to Physical Restraint, +2 levels of Ox-Body, add wound penalties instead of subtracting them. Personal reroll-and-pick 2/Story, Force others to reroll and you pick 2/story, burn either kind of reroll to soak two levels of damage for yourself or others at any time. Mind cannot be read or tampered or his mental attributes be reduced. May Materialize or Dematerialize for twenty motes.
  • Magical Bonuses: Does not need thaumaturgical components. Shaping Actions require only three ticks. Has All-Encompassing Sorcerer’s Sight. May roll (Int + Inv) to Scry. Can speak to elemental spirits in the area. May use Thaumarurgic Countermagic whenever targeted by a spell, even if unconscious or otherwise busy, at no cost. Regains 10 Will/Day, as needed. Roll Temperance 1/day to gain Glamour and pay one less glamour for any charm that requires its use.
  • May remote-attune others to manses or break those attunements.
  • All non-sorcerous actions halve their time requirements.
  • Draw up to (Ess) temporary dots of Cult/Followers/Henchmen/ Retinue/Etc. Buy permanently for 1 XP/Dot.
  • Teleport up to six to Aden from anywhere, or from Aden to the Wyld.
  • May roll Compassion each morning to heal some of those in the area of almost any affliction.
  • May increase the attributes of up to (Essence) units/organizations under his or her command by a total of five.
  • May grant minions (Behemoths, Cultists, Followers, etc) six points worth of mutations. The bearer may customize as desired.
  • May reflexively spend 5 motes to step outside of fate for up to three days. If bound into fate an essence roll-off is required. If the user is subjected to some badly-written charm (usually 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.
  • May bestow the graces rated at (Virtue+1) without cost.
  • Half all XP Costs.
  • Gains Nightvision.

Charles – and hence Leon – actually uses a LOT of artifacts, and has quite a few redundant effects running since we do use stacking limits. Secondarily, Leon can use Adenic Thaumaturgy, even if he doesn’t use it all that much. Ergo, a Summary, for committing 30 motes and four health levels (of his choice) he gets…

Defenses:

  • +25A/L/B Soak, Hardness 13, caps injuries at 2 health levels. Does not count as wearing armor and can look like any kind of armor or clothing.
  • +3 levels of Ox-Body Technique. All health levels are doubled, but the lowest four are invested in Manses. Heals 4B/Minute, 2L/Hour, and 2Ag/5 Hours
  • Immune to Aging, Bleeding, Crippling, Disabling, Disease/Sickness, General Environmental Effects (not directed ones), Poison, Scarring, Unwanted Shaping, and Unnatural Mental Influence. Need not Eat, Sleep, or Breathe.
  • May attack and parry with Occult as if using a “Perfect” Javelin (with special effects as wanted).
  • May spend 2M at will for one-tick immunity to Desecration effects.

Sorcery/Thaumaturgy:

  • Uses the Advanced Thaumaturgy System.
  • 24 free Thaumaturgies per day with +3 Successes and a one-level reduction in casting time.
  • May spend 1W to absorb an incoming Terrestrial or Celestial spell for his use. Can store three.
  • Can store nine Thaumaturgies.
  • May select six Thaumaturgies to be self-sustaining and to come back in six ticks if dispelled.
  • “Spell Shattering Palm” and similar effects affect his spells as Celestial Circle Countermagic.
  • Dispelling his spells with countermagic is automatic as a defense, but otherwise requires an opposed essence check. He gets +6/+3/+0/-3 dice vrs Thaumaturgy/Terrestrial/Celestial/Solar countermagic.
  • May stack stack one Thaumaturgic effect with charms, artifacts, and other sources of power.
  • Adds (Conviction) to Thaumaturgy rolls.

Utility Functions:

  • +(Ess) dice on rolls calling for fine manipulation.
  • +3 dice to any action that is enhanced in no other way.
  • 4 Hearthstone Sockets.
  • Access to the Aden Network.
  • Arcane Reference Library: +2d on relevant checks.
  • Double ground speed.
  • Essence Gathering Temper.
  • May spend 2 motes to take on 12 mutation points.
  • May Craft Quintessence, Ambrosia, Gossamer, and Fate with Occult.
  • May attune any magical material.
  • May Strike Immaterials.
  • May spend 2 motes to do an hours basic work.
  • May transfer his own health levels to those touched.
  • Negates four botches per scene.
  • Perfectly secure storage for 20 Lb of gear as if worn/carried.
  • Nightsight and a sense of smell as keen as a wolf’s (+2d).

Noted statistical bonuses (Again, already included):

  • +1 Valor
  • +4 Essence for calculation purposes (not for learning charms).
  • +4 to Craft, Computer, Linguistics, Lore, Medicine, Technology, Integrity, Resistance, Survival, Awareness, Dodge, Socialize, Presence, and Bureaucracy, Investigation, and Performance abilities, +6 Occult.
  • -2 on Occult target numbers
  • Attributes: +5 Int, +5 Str, +5 Dex, +5 Sta, All Others +1

And yes, that’s an utterly insane pile of bonuses. After all, Charles has been building this stuff for more than a hundred and sixty sessions…