Exalted – Building Artifact Armor

Well, the interruptions are hopefully over – so once again it’s falling back on some quick Exalted stuff while I try to get things reorganized.

Exalted artifact armor as written is barely an improvement on ordinary armor – and it’s boring to boot. The original notion was to assign some extra benefits to existing artifact armor – but that gets a bit complicated once you start bringing in first-age technomagical armor. That’s a good deal more useful than the stuff in the basic book and so it shouldn’t get as many extra benefits to make it worth it’s price. (Not to mention that it doesn’t fit in with a lot of character concepts).

Ergo, here’s a simplified version of the general artifact design system for building artifact armor. Armor built with these rules still mostly offers passive benefits – but you can make armor that actually offers a fair amount of protection for its cost or which offers some other interesting boosts.

  • First up, pick a mundane armor base. It can be any kind you want. You’re dealing with a magical wonder created by mighty supernatural beings. Even if they used superheavy plate as a basis, that cost was nothing in comparison.
Armor  Soak  Mobility  Fatigue  Notes
Leathers  +1L/1B  0  0 Counts as normal clothing.
Breastplate  +4L/2B  -1  1 May be concealed under heavy
jacket or cloak.
Buff Jacket  +3L/4B  -1  2 Yes, it’s an armored trenchcoat.
Chain Shirt  +3L/1B  -0  1 May be concealed under normal
Chain Hauberk  +6L/7B  -3  2  
Lamellar  +6L/8B  -2  1 May be concealed under heavy
jacket or cloak.
Reinforced Buff Jacket  +5L/8B  -2  2  
Articulated Plate  +9L/9B  -3  2  
Plate and Chain  +8L/10B  -4  3  
Reinforced Breastplate  +7L/6B  -2  1  
Chain Swathing  +11L/14B  -6  5  
Superheavy Plate  +12L/12B  -4  3  

The design for basic artifact armor is (Power (X) + Usefulness 3 + Plot Impact 2 + Script Immunity 1)/4 = Rating. Ergo ** at Power 2, *** at Power 6, and **** at Power 10 (the upper limit). All armor designed this way is presumed to be self-powered sufficient to reduce the base attunement cost to one mote (although expensive powers may increase this), to be basically indestructible while attuned (for artifact **) or pretty much permanently indestructible (for *** and ****), and to be “Perfect” (gaining +1 mobility +1 fatigue, and two more +1’s divided between Soak, Mobility, and Fatigue). Those are all basic powers, at a cost of one or two points each. Thus Artifact ** armor has 1 point to spend, Artifact *** armor has up to 14 points to spend, and Artifact **** armor has up to 29 points to spend – which is probably more than enough.

If you want to start adding in maintenance for technomagical armor or other exotic modifiers, you’re just going to have to go to the full artifact design system – and if you insist on cramming it full of noncombat features, the game master may upgrade the usefulness and plot impact factors, making it more expensive. However, presuming that you remain reasonable about it, here are the available powers:

  • Adamantine: (1) Hardness = 1/2 Net Soak, rounded up for bashing, down for lethal. For (2) use 2/3’rds Net Soak, and for (4) use it all – but the use of one (or more) (4) effect(s) increases the attunement cost to 5 motes.
  • Adaptive (Keyword): (1) The user may spend two motes at any time to get one-tick immunity to any one of Crippling, Desecration, Shaping, Sickness, or Poison effects. At (2) the user may do so with any of those effects. At (4) the user may do so to resist any kind of special effect – but the use of one (or more) (4) effect(s) increases the attunement cost to 5 motes.
  • Augmenting: (1) Adds +2 to an ability, (2) adds +4 to an ability. May be applied to as many abilities as you can afford. At (4) you can augment a group of abilities (such as “attack abilities”) by +2 (which would also add to DV), but the use of one (or more) (4) effect(s) increases the attunement cost to 5 motes.
  • Disguised: (1) The armor can disguise itself as a particular type of clothing OR as any kind of armor, (2) the armor can disguise itself as any type of armor or clothing, including “none”.
  • Enduring (1): +1 level of Ox-Body Technique. Take this as often as you like.
  • Enhanced Sense (1): The user gains a basic enhanced sense – nightsight, a boosted sense of smell, etc. This may be taken more than once, but only to add additional special senses. For (2) the user gains a supernatural sense – spirit-sight, essence-sight, the ability to detect demonic taint, or similar.
  • Environmental: (1) The wearer is immune to the ill effects of a particular environment, albeit not to directed effects. He or she might be able to wade through lava, breathe underwater or in a vacuum, and otherwise endure extreme environmental conditions. At (2) he or she can resist any natural environmental effect.
  • Essence Focus: (1) The user may commit one point of will in lieu of three motes or any part thereof which would normally be required to attune the armor.
  • Exoskeletal: (1) to add +1 to Strength or Stamina. (2) to add +2 to Strength or Stamina or +1 to Dex. May be taken for each attribute if desired.
  • Hearthstone Socket (1): The armor can mount an extra Hearthstone. May be taken twice, for a total of three.
  • Increased Soak: (1) +2L/+2B Soak, (2) +4L/+4B Soak, (4) +6L/+6B Soak- but the use of one (or more) (4) effect(s) increases the attunement cost to 5 motes.
  • Lightweight: (1) Reduce either the Armor Mobility Penalty or the Fatigue Rating by one. May be taken up to three times per penalty. If both the mobility and fatigue penalties are reduced to zero, the armor no longer counts as wearing armor for the purposes of charms and abilities that will not function if the user wears armor.
  • Parrying: For (1) the armor (presuming it includes gauntlets, greaves, or boots) will allow the user to parry weapons while otherwise unarmed without a stunt. For (2) the suit includes a built-in mundane weapon.
  • Striding: (1) add +3 to a calculated speed (+6 when Dashing), (2) double a calculated speed, (4) add a new movement mode, such as flight – but the use of one (or more) (4) effect(s) increases the attunement cost to 5 motes.
  • Talismanic: (1) Duplicates the effect of a grade-three thaumaturgic talisman up to three times per scene – albeit only once per attack. This will not stack with similar defenses, but “walkaway” effects (reducing the final damage) are popular. This may be taken more than once to add additonal talisman effects. At (2) it offers direct access to an immediate thaumaturgical effect – telekinetic control over a particular element, the ability to phase through short distances of earth, and so on, although this generally costs 3 motes or one will to activate.
  • Tides of Life: (2) The wearer regenerates one level of bashing damage every third action. At (4) add one level of lethal damage every ten minutes – but the use of one (or more) (4) effect(s) increases the attunement cost to 5 motes.
  • Transforming: The user may use (1) four points worth of pre-assigned mutations, (2) 8 points worth of preassigned mutations, (4) eight points worth of selected mutations of up to the four-point level – but the use of one (or more) (4) effect(s) increases the attunement cost to 5 motes.
  • Virtuous: (1) +1 to a Virtue while worn, (2) +2 to a Virtue while Worn.
  • Warding: The armor caps the final damage from any attack or flurry at five health levels for (1). May be taken up to three additional times, each time reducing the final maximum by one health level to a minimum of two health levels at (4). Note that the damage caps are FINAL caps. It doesn’t matter whether your awesome primordial blast does 10,000 levels of damage, or your charm multiplies the “final damage” by ten, or whether a charm is supposed to ignore armor, or whether your flurry hit ten times, or anything else; if you attack someone who’s armor caps the damage at three health levels, that’s all you can get through. Defense is primary.