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.

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2 Responses

  1. […] Fantastic Freeholds: Revised rules for Freeholds – to make them actually worth bothering with. Includes several new freehold elements – the Treasury, Hedge, and Manse with revised rules for the usual ones. […]

  2. […] Fantastic Freeholds: Revised rules for Freeholds – to make them actually worth bothering with. Includes several new freehold elements – the Treasury, Hedge, and Manse with revised rules for the usual ones. […]

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