Eclipse – Taric of Alderdale, Level Six Dragon Warrior

And now that I’ve gotten caught up, it’s back to a mixture of game systems…

Taric has come a long ways since his second level “pit fighter” writeup and illustrates a common trend with Eclipse-based characters – a desire to experiment with more exotic options as they go up in level. He’s increased his skills, dealt with his pursuers (who are not crazy enough to pursue someone who’s grown so powerful), and gone from being a very angry young man with a big weapon to something of a hero. He’s also awakened the power of his draconic heritage, obtaining some options beyond “smack them with a big sword” along the way.

Taric, along with most of his family, was captured in a border raid. Unlike most of the youngsters who were sold as servants, he was more rebellious than sensible, and kicked up enough trouble to wind up being sold to a gladiator school.

He was cheap and disposable – and so was drilled with heavy armor (to keep him standing for a bit) and a single, impressive, weapon. After all, he wasn’t expected to live long enough to use a second one.

Unexpectedly, he turned out to have some talent (or at least decent muscles and plenty of anger), and survived his initial bouts. That really rather surprised his trainers – and so did the stroke of luck which gave him a good chance to escape and the speed at which he grabbed it.

Taric started off his adventuring as a paranoid, vicious, young man with a long list of people (captors, masters, trainers, people who killed friends of his, people who cheered too loudly for his opponents, and more) whom he wanted to see dead. Unlike many such, however, a bit of adventuring awoke a spark of nobility in his soul – he would not see other youngsters victimized as he and his friends had been – and with that noble spark awoke the latent power of his great-great grandfather’s gold dragon blood.

Draconic blood can express itself in many ways. In some it grants the potential for sorcery. Others, with blood more pure, are twisted into quasi-reptilian forms. In still others it lies sleeping, allowing it’s bearer to pass as human – until some event calls it forth. Some reach within themselves in search of raw power to serve wrath, ambition, and greed – and if their heritage is chromatic, they sometimes find it. Others search for strength during some moment of heroism or moral choice – and to them a metallic heritage may answer.

Race: Ur-Human (Golden Dragon Heritage, +1 ECL):

  • Bonus Feat (6 CP): Fast Learner, Specialized in Hit Dice for Double Effect and +2 CP/Level (a d6 base).
  • Fast Learner/Specialized in Skills for Half Cost and +1 SP/Level (3 CP).
  • Str +4, Con +4, Int +4, Cha +4 (Since the setting is using the half-price attributes option, and attributes in a template already only cost half what they normally would, these cost a mere 24 CP – a definite bargain. I worlds where that rule does not apply reduce the bonuses to a total of +8).
  • Natural Weapons (4 CP): Taric’s nails are hard and sharp enough to cause serious injuries; he always counts as being armed.
  • Low-Light Vision (6 CP):
  • Shaping (Specialized, only as a prerequisite, 3 CP):
  • Dragonfire (Specialized and Corrupted/Only for personal Shields, but can be used reflexively, 4 CP): While nowhere near as tough as a full dragon, Taric can still divert a certain amount of damage (4 points per spell level expended) to his magical reserves.
  • Eye Of The Dragon (6 CP): May absorb up to (Int) spell levels per day, storing a maximum of (2 x Con) levels at any given moment.
  • Ride the Dragon (6 CP): May channel absorbed spell levels into the following supernatural abilities; Scorching Ray, Cure Serious Wounds, Remove Paralysis, Shield Other, and Protection From Energy.
  • Wings of the Dragon (6 CP): L6 Spell: Spirit of the Dragon, Enhance Attribute/All Six by +6 each.
  • Speak Language/Draconic (1 CP).

At 63 CP this is a +1 ECL race (as Taric has taken it) or a +2 ECL template. Also, like most customized races and templates, it’s completely centered on what the character wants to be doing – and so is very effective for it’s ECL cost. Of course, in a combat-focused character, there’s nothing at all wrong with that.

Basic Attributes: Str 21 (+5), Dex 10 (+0), Con 16 (+3), Int 16 (+3), Wis 16 (+3), and Cha 14 (+2). (32 Point Buy plus Race, +1 L4 Level Bonus to Str).

Available Character Points: 144 (Level five Base) +24 (Human, L1, L2, L4 Bonus Feats) +10 (Disadvantages) +10 (Duties/Guardian) = 188 CP.

Basic Abilities (96 CP):

  • Hit Points: 20 (L1d20, 12 CP) +8, 9, 6, 9 (L2-5d10, 8 CP) +48 (6 x [Con Mod + Str Mod]) = 100
  • BAB +5, Specialized/Melee Weapons and Corrupted/Greatsword only for Triple Effect (+15 total) (30 CP)
    • Corrupting his attack to “Greatsword Only” is stretching things a bit now that he uses a Spirit Weapon; he’ll always have his Greatsword handy. On the other hand, there are (or at least should be) plenty of situations in an adventurers life when there just isn’t room to wield a Greatsword and Taric will just have to find another way to manage. As a game master I’d be making sure that those pop up every so often. Now if he was a shortsword specialist, it probably wouldn’t be allowable; if you can move at all there’s usually enough room for those.
    • (Large, treated as Huge) Greatsword Attack: +25/+20/+15 (+15 BAB +5 Str +1 Enh +4 MA), 3d8+8, Reach 15′. Can intercept and absorb spells in this range as well. May inflict lethal or nonlethal damage at will.
  • Armor Class: 10 (Base) +3 (Dex) +7 (Armor) +4 (Shield, only while using a greatsword) = 24
  • Skill Points: 9 (9 CP) + 16 (Fast Learner) +24 (Int) = 49 SP
  • Saves:
    • Fortitude: +0 (Purchased, 0 CP) +3 (Wis Mod, See Below) = +3
    • Reflex: +0 (Purchased, 0 CP) +3 (Wis Mod, See Below) = +3
    • Will: +6 (Purchased, 18 CP) +3 (Wis Mod, See Below) = +9
      • Taric is much more worried about mind control than he is about being blasted or poisoned. In his case that’s not entirely unreasonable; he has Luck for those must-make saves, and most will saves are less than lethal.
  • Proficient with Light, Medium, and Heavy Armor (15 CP), Proficient with Great Sword (3 CP).

Special Abilities (88 CP):

  • Upgrade Human Fast Learner ability to +2 SP/Level (3 CP).
  • Advanced Improved Augmented Bonus/adds (Str Mod) to (Con Mod) when calculating hit points (18 CP).
  • Spirit Weapon (Greatsword, 6 CP): Taric has learned to generate his own greatsword out of pure will, expressed as light.
  • Eye of the Dragon (Again, 6 CP): This increases his daily absorption limit to (2 x Int) and storage capacity to (4 x Con).
  • Lunge (6 CP). Gives him 5′ of Reach.
  • Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Saving Throws (6 CP).
  • Luck with +4 Bonus Uses, Specialized in Attacks (6 CP).
  • Reflex Training (3 Actions/Day variant) with +4 Bonus Uses (12 CP).
  • Improved Initiative +2 (3 CP).
  • Skill Emphasis/Survival, Specialized in Tracking for Double Effect (+4, 3 CP).
  • Anime Master, Specialized in Greatswords (3 CP). He can wield a large greatsword as if it was a normal one.
  • Track/Wilderness (3 CP).
  • Innate Enchantment (5000 GP Value/6 CP).
    • Warblade (A variant of Shillelagh, a normal Greatsword becomes +1 and is considered on size category larger, 2000 GP).
    • Whirling Guard (Shield, x.8 only works when holding a Greatsword, 1600 GP).
    • Perceptive Focus (+2 Wisdom, Personal-only, 1400 GP).
  • Immunity/The normal XP cost of Innate Enchantments (Uncommon, Major, Trivial, 2 CP).
  • Enthusiast, Specialized for Double Effect/only for Relics (3 CP)
  • Create Relic, Specialized and Corrupted/only for relics that enhance his dragon powers, only for making relics with his Enthusiast points (2 CP).
    • Current Relic: The Dragonfire Ring: Pulse and Heart of the Dragon, Specialized/only as prerequisites, Blood of the Dragon (12 CP); May use (Cha Mod) spell levels worth of Path of the Dragon effects each minute without cost.

Skills:

  • Listen +11 (8 SP +3 Wis)
  • Survival +13 (8 SP +3 Wis +2 Sy)
  • Spot +13 (8 SP +3 Wis +2 Sy)
  • Sense Motive +11 (8 SP +3 Wis)
  • Mjolnir’s Strike (Martial Art) +13 (8 SP +5 Str). Requires Weapon Focus on a two-handed weapon.
    • 7 techniques: Attack +4, Strike, Blind-Fight, and Reach.
  • Iron Wind Style (Martial Art) +11 (8 SP + 3 Wis):
    • 6 Techniques: Strike, Synergy/Survival, Synergy/Spot, Power 1, Mind Like Moon, Instant Stand.
  • Tumble +1 (1 SP +0 Dex)

Equipment

Taric’s been equipped at the “NPC” level – mostly so as to leave easy room for customization.

  • Minor Mundane Gear: 90 GP
  • Adamantine Shuriken/Small Blade variety: A handy tool (60)
  • +1 Banded Mail (1400).
  • Restful Crystal: Lets you sleep well in armor (500).
  • Armband of Elusive Action: 1/Day avoid provoking Attack of Opprotunity (800).
  • Boots of the Cat: Avoid falling damage, land on your feet (1000 GP).
  • Chronocharm of the Horizon Walker (1//day move 1/2 move as a swift action (500).
  • Amber Item of Vermin/Summon Huge Monstrous Scorpion for one minute 1/day (700).
  • Everfull Mug (200)
  • Everlasting Rations (350)

Taric is still almost entirely reliant in melee combat with a Greatsword – but he has begun to branch out a bit. His basic “move in and hack things” strategy really hasn’t changed much though. 

Exalted – The Music Of Creation

Charles has concluded that simply wyld stunting himself into attunement with the manses of Yu-Shan will not be enough. Not only is the potential danger considerable, but even that will not let him spread his rebuilding and healing charms far enough. Something more will be needed – a way to spread his power over vast areas.

So he’s began to compose the Music Of Creation – five five-dot symphonic artifacts designed to be performed – and to work – together. It is their nature to take other music, whether vocal or instrumental, into themselves and to resonate with those lesser performances – lending them their own perfection and thus swelling into a truly transcendent chorus.

Each of the five movements requires a total of 250 successes on Craft/Air to compose – and must be completed in no more than five rolls. Each movement must then be imbued with power as rank-five artifact. Actually performing (or perhaps unleashing) each movement requires sixty committed motes, a minimum effective essence of six, a skill of 8+ in Occult or Perform (either works to “perform” the movements), and at least a dozen assistants with skill 5+ in Perform.

Each of the first four movements has two basic effects, which normally extends to a radius of approximately one half mile times the primary performers essence rating. The fifth movement completes and unifies the set. With the opening of the fifth movement, each performer who takes up the incredible beauty of the theme and participates will act as a resonator – causing the power of the Music to spread a little further (and effectively forming a Rank N/A Artifact).

Movement The First (Percussion): The Wyld Drums, A Fire Upon The Deep. To be performed by Uthorian, Prince of Chaos and Wyld Thaumaturgy, the Noldor, and the Mardi Gras Raksha – although many will be taking instrumental form for it. Principle themes: The Chaos as the Eternal Source, Heartbeat of Life – Birth in Chaos, March of the Raksha, and the Thousand-Threaded Narrative.

Where the music of the Wyld Drums resounds, possibilities expand as the underlying chaos wells up. Within that area…

  1. Small Gods awaken, Wraiths experience the sensations and urges of life once more, Raksha can respire normally in Creation (and need not fear Calcification), and Mortals gain a glimpse of the flow of essence through the world.
  2. Characters may roll (Occult + Perception) at the start of each round. Successes may be used to reduce the cost of using charms and other powers during the round at a ratio of one success per mote, two successes per point of glamour, and three successes per point of will. Costs cannot be reduced below one mote point in total if a character uses one or more charms or powers though.

Movement The Second (Brasses): Paen of Glory, Triumph Of The Will. To be performed by Mishinago the Philosophical Storm, Master Of Alchemy, and the Warforged. Principle Themes: Cosmic Principles Unstained, Themes of the Absolute, Before the Fall. Pure Structure Rising. The March of Order, Drawing form and purpose from the infinite.

Where the Paen of Glory peals forth, structure rises from chaos and entropy retreats.

  1. Any creature touched by the music will see a vision of it’s potentials, and may spend up to (Ess x 3) + 12 experience points instantly, as a training effect.
  2. The essence flows reveal the potentials of physical structures – manses and buildings, books and paintings, rivers and forests – as well, halving the skill and ability requirements for repairing or otherwise modifying them.

Movement The Third (Woodwinds): Ode To Dawn, Serenade Of Nightfall. To be performed by Malinda the Seer, Mistress of Divination, the Elementals of Gaia and Aden, and Songbirds. Principle Themes: The First Awakening. The Break of Dawn over a New Creation. Rain. The Passing of a Storm, the Burgeoning of New Life into Joy. The Fall. Passage into Darkness, the Birth of Stars, Souls scattered across a Myriad Worlds.

Where the music of the third movement whispers, creatures find clarity in their roles and destinies.

  1. Anyone currently affected by Unnatural Mental Influence will find it’s influence broken as if sufficient will had been spent. Mindless plants are restored to health and vigor.
  2. Wraiths may opt to depart instantly into Lethe. Even those entrapped in Soulsteel are free to depart – leaving the soulsteel purified but unharmed, just as if it had been forged from ambrosia with the proper resonances in the first place. Other spirits see how they fit into creation, and are vital parts of it – and may roll to recover willpower as if awakening.

Movement The Fourth; Symphony of Renewal (Strings and Keyboards). To be performed by Elzeard and the Totems. Principle Themes: First Dawn on a Hundred Newly-Shaped Worlds, the Restoration of the Fallen (includes Descant for Varangian Rodents, Hipparions, and many other restored species), First Shoots Arising from the Ashes, and the Reawakening.

Where the melodies of the fourth movement are heard, those who listen will find strength and renewal.

  1. Living and quasi-living creatures are strengthened; any injuries, disabilities, or illnesses that they suffer from are stripped of qualities such as “Crippling”, “Aggravated”, “Autoimmune”, or “Cancerous” and will begin to heal naturally.
  2. Living and quasi-living creatures will find themselves as hale and hearty as if they had possessed the “Longevity” pox from their birth or creation.

Movement The Fifth: The Song of Creation (Voice and Geomantic Resonances). To be performed by Charles, various Voices, Geomantic Bass, and the prior movements. Principle themes; Ten Thousand Voices Unified and Touching the wider world.

Where the harmony of the fifth movement draws nature, sound, and spirit into itself, all are invited to rejoice and join in the music. 

As noted, each performer who joins in the music of the Fifth Movement will act as a resonant amplifier – causing the power of the music to spread a little further. Sadly, while the music carries an impression of it’s leader, it certainly doesn’t carry a full explanation. Moreover, this effect does have it’s downside; an ambitious secondary performer can attempt to weave his or her own themes into the music, spreading his or her influence with the help of those singers who find the new theme attractive or are inspired by their impressions of the new singer. Such secondary voices rarely get very far – and have to roll against the primary performer (who gets a bonus) – but even if influencing the overall result of the music is beyond them they can lead to peculiar localized aberrations.

The result is fundamentally very simple; the user’s essence-based powers (and the influence of the first four movements) are carried by the music, and can thus affect everywhere the music extends to. Thus, if you wish to use a medical charm that normally affects individuals to cure a plague across a kingdom, you may do so – as long as enough other performers are willing to join in and help you spread your healing influence across the land. Now if you wished to rain fire across the land and wipe everyone out, you’d probably get a lot less help – if you got any at all – but, by default, benign acts usually get enough support.

While Charles is performing limited tests as he goes along, he may not have time for a full-scale test before committing himself. Such is the nature of urgent problems.

The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice CIL – Popeye The Sailor Man

In a weird way… Skoll was becoming more of a robot buddy than a simple jailor… she really HAD to find a way to keep him! After all, he’d been made to – when it came down to it – channel the power of the Sun to kick interlopers out of what was left of Creation and rebuild it without the Neverborn. That… wasn’t exactly a repellant purpose! Especially now that it was mostly a moot point even if Skoll didn’t yet fully understand that.

Still, he had said “My options for dealing with Wraiths are limited. You need not be concerned; the pocket dimension you currently occupy will sustain your needs – and I detect that you posses uninterruptible external links to fuel your abilities in any case. If a solar capture turns out to be unnecessary… I will have no further reason to keep you. New mission priorities will be in order.”

And why would he lie? If she could just find a way to give him new mission parameters, he could do stuff while she was doing other things!

And she’d been developing her hacking charms, and she did have access to Charles and his artificing talents, to two Synergistic Overminds, to secure communications, to a laptop artifact computer, and to any number of gods of programming and such.

Still, as she closed with the battle – whether or not it was real or just a representation of something in the Nebular Man-Of-Wars mind – it was obviously time to turn her attentions to more immediate issues.

The Wanderer in Mourning Black against the Hawkmen and their Raksha-Made Ornithopters, plus a few stagmen who were found in suspended animation who are acting as military advisors. Currently the Onithopters (In Space! – which alone was enough to shout “Raksha-Made”) were holding back the attacking fleet mostly by wild maneuvers. They were obviously outpowered, but they WERE faster.

Ornithopters… That was pretty cool! Too bad she couldn’t get out of Skoll just yet, although they might be able to try one out after the battle!

The Wander’s forces were pretty classical; a big fleet of black ships, mostly massive dreadnaughts. Relatively low-magic for an abyssal fleet; there was quite a lot of tech there. Of course, the Raksha ornithopters weren’t exactly the most durable of all vessels. Thus, the reliance on maneuverability and speed on the beastman side.

Aikiko tried to hack into the Abyssal fleet’s communications. It had pretty good encryption on it, but with even her new computer charms and Galileo to help out, it didn’t stop her for long.

It looked like a more-or-less a solo operation by a fairly young Abyssal (only about sixty years Exalted). The Wanderer was a bit frustrated at not being able to expand in the face of lunar opposition – and was trying to take out a few worlds while their major protectors were elsewhere and turn the population into a legion of wraiths.

Well, she couldn’t really let that happen!

The Wanderer was currently using the main guns for geomantic sabotague; there were protective manses at the center of each of the major cities – so bombarding them directly wasn’t working. He was making pretty good progress at it though. Geomantic sabotage with starship fleet firepower was a lot easier than it was with shovels. For the most part… the main ship was ignoring the Ornithopters; an occasional really major shot just provoked an aura of what looked like black dust to negate it. So… Perfect spaceship defenses, even if they presumably had a flaw. She might be best off trying to determine where he was going to strike next and directing the defenders that way.

Nah, they probably already knew; he was being pretty methodical; after he took down the manse protecting the largest city… it would probably be on to the second-largest and so on. His main guns were… battleship level. They were obviously quicker to fire, longer-ranged, and energy-based instead of firing shells – but the destructive power was similar. Between Skoll and the Behemoth Cloak… she could probably ignore them totally.

She decided to be a living barrier and divert his attention. It probably wasn’t the wisest plan, but the defenders weren’t going to be able to hold up against that kind of assault.

That proved easy enough – although the hawkman communications promptly labeled her as a “Cosmic Knight”. They… didn’t expect her to be able to hold things back for long though – which was fair enough considering that Cosmic Knights might have hopped-up armor and thaumaturgy and such, but they were still mortals.

There was one transmission directed straight to her however… it was someone in black armor, who was laughing rather horribly.

(Wanderer) “So! A little Cosmic Knight, seeking to challenge ME? Know your place little mortal, before I take your soul to make a button on my trousers!”

What a blowhard! Without labyrinth ore the most he could do is bind someone for a few centuries, rather than make true soulsteel.

(Skoll, privately) “Posturing. Undignified. Inexperienced and worrying about power over mortals, instead of dealing with Exalted-level opponents and simply ordering the mortals about after the issue is decided. Probabilty of long-term success… minimal”

(Aikiko, to Skoll, privately) “And not enough perception Charms to tell I’m NOT A MORTAL, either!”

Well, to be fair, that was going to be hard over space combat distances!

(Aikiko, to the Abyssal) “Really? That’s the best use you can think of for temporary soulsteel? Why don’t you go mining in the Labyrinth instead?”

OK, she WAS actually a bit nervous right now, but no way was she going to let him intimidate her into backing down!

(Wanderer) “So you would defy me? Still… you are strong enough to stand up to major weapons for a time! Enough power to be potentially valuable… (to others) Bring this fool aboard! I can always use another minion with at least a BIT of power!”

The transmission dropped and… it was a tractor beam! Pulling her towards an opening bay…

(Skoll) “Tactical situation improving.”

(Aikiko) “Yeah… I just hope he’s not better in a brawl than I am.”

(Skoll) “Probability of superiority to your personal abilities; near unity. Probability of superiority to augmented potentials… small”.

She was really getting used to having Skoll around! A personal indestructible warstrider, with manse-fueled weaponry, adjustable artifacts, and massive attribute boosts. Somehow… she’d the Wanderer didn’t have anything comparable or he wouldn’t be bothering to rely on a fleet!

As she wa pulled aboard she was surrounded by troops, with heavy personal weapons, wanting to drag her before their master!

(Skoll) “Deploy weaponry?”

(Aikiko) “Well, those are no real threat… but this guy might have nasty tricks up his sleeve! Are you picking up anything unusual aboard the ship?”

(Skoll) “Essence reactor drive, ship-mounted primary essence weaponry, secondary troops primarily ghost-blooded – classified “elite” – primary engineering… thaumaturgic. Primary ship defenses likely based on personal charms; hence need for secondary fleet; to prevent multiple attacks from overwhelming commander”.

(Aikiko) “Nothing that feels like a big super artifact of doom, then.”

(Skoll) “Non-essence based technological systems… mixed. Level approximates materials listed for 1940’s “Earth”.”

(Aikiko) “OK, deploy weaponry! Try not to pierce the hull!”

(Skoll) “Deploying cutting plane projectors”

Crackling planes of cutting essence swept across the bay, in a fashion somewhat reminiscent of fan-blades, except that these blades shaped themselves to the walls, so that they could cover the entire area, That, of course, resulted in mass death.

(Aikiko) “Erk! Non-lethal! Non-lethal please!”

After all, she didn’t want to give this guy power through death! He might have Charms for that!

And she didn’t really want to massacre people either, although sheer shock at the carnage was keeping that consideration a bit… distant… at the moment.

Skoll switched to concussion blasts. The aftermath WAS less disgusting, even if the blender effect was more effective.

Various alarms were going off – and the blast doors were sliding shut. There wasn’t quite enough room to tumble through – but she was able to get Skoll’s indestructible hands in between them – and the motors were grinding and sparking.

It was surprisingly easy to push them back. They only weighed about five tons, and the motors could exert less than twenty tons of force. Behind them a couple of guards were chickening out!

Aikiko was inclined to let them. After all, she had just killed quite a few of their friends without really trying.

Skoll helpfully tabulated it for her; it had been forty-two – two full platoons.

Geez! She suddenly felt rather guilty! She should have thought to specify nonlethal on that!

On the bright side there was one brave fellow who was going to try and stop her! The brave idiot! He got a shot with the knockout cannon – which he… successfully blocked with some kind of Martial Arts Charm, looked like an upgraded mortal Crane Style. Not bad for major essence weaponry versus ghost-blooded! (Or possibly ghost! It was hard to tell in armor!) The Wanderer must be dispatching the elite to stop her!

(Security Chief) “Not… bad! You must be… exceptionally powerful, even among your kind! Still…”

The man lashed out with several essence-disrupting martial strikes.

(Skoll) “Minor power flow disruption. Limited to secondary weaponry until charge cycle complete, eleven seconds”.

Huh! That mostly left… the personal scale stuff. Still what she’d been using anyway for the most part.

The security chief had tried a leg sweep while Aikiko was distracted, and was currently cursing and hopping for a moment since Skoll was unexpectedly massive…

Even not counting the neutron star.

The man wasn’t too bad! If he hit Skoll with another of those strikes he’d probably shut down the secondary stuff for several seconds!

(Aikiko) “Does the secondary weaponry allow deployment of a nonlethal shock?”

(Skoll) “Warning; Shock-aura primarily effective against mortal-level antagonists.”

Of course she COULD just punch him; he wasn’t an Exalt, and presumably couldn’t afford TOO many perfect blocks. For once punching might solve something!

She punched him in the leg. After all, Skoll was pretty strong, and even in armor, this guy was likely to feel it. As it turned out, he was good for a near-mortal – but not good enough. He used a cheap charm to double up on his armor’s bashing soak – which got it high enough so that Aikiko only knocked him out…

Now where would he be unlikely to get hurt more? She wasn’t sure whether to count grabbing him as a rescue or as a capture anyway. He might not be pleasant, but when an Abyssal was demanding your service…

Oh wait! Skoll had a reconfigurable internal pocket dimension! She could just make part of it a jail and shunt him into it!

(Skoll) “Shunting to imprisonment. Warning; Prison capacity now at .5%”

Onwards!

Slapping aside more troops (and shunting most of them to jail) was easy enough – and the commander… was on the bridge of course, in a huge chair which gradually turned to face her. He/she was mostly in shadow, and his/her voice echoed as if coming from deep within a tomb.

(Wanderer) “So… a MOST formidable mortal! One of the great leaders of your kind perhaps? You are STILL a fool to attempt to face me!”

(Aikiko) “Maybe, but it’s what I do!”

(Wanderer) “Kneel before me!”

An attempt at UMI… was drastically reduced by Skoll, and bounced off the defenses that came with being effectively in Aden.

(Wanderer) “And still you resist? You try my patience mortal!”

A black, screaming, mist began to swirl around him.

(Aikiko, to Skoll) “Does whatever-he’s-doing right now even have a chance of penetrating you?”

(Aikiko to the Wanderer) “Oh, who do you think you are, Zod?”

(The Wanderer, suddenly furiously angry) “WHO TOLD YOU ABOUT ZOD!?!? DID THAT BASTARD SEND YOU!?!?”

(Skoll) “Life-Draining Effect; direct transformation into a Wraith… Ineffective on my structure. Mostly screened from you, should be blockable by your current armor at small expense in any case”.

(Aikiko) “Nah, I was just passing through and decided to drop by!”

She made a personal note! Find out what the real-life Zod was like! If he made an Abyssal Exalt THAT cross he might be worth getting a few lessons from!

(Aikiko) “Now why don’t you call off this invasion and we’ll forget about it… sorry about killing your crew in the airlock, by the way! I didn’t realize this suit’s strength…”

(Wanderer) “It doesn’t matter what protections Zod has given you! You will fall and your soul will serve me!”

And the blackness lashed out, the bound souls of the dead attempting to pull Aikiko’s soul from her body… not that this was easy, since the dimensional barrier held most of the effect back. It simply cost Aikiko a couple of notes to block the remainder of the effect.

(Aikiko) “So, what’s Zod like? Come to think of it, is – was – Krypton a real place?”

(Wanderer) “Of COURSE Krypton is a real place! Miserable bastards… Damn it! Is that YOU in there Zod?!”

At about that time… the ship shuddered, there was the sound of shearing metal and whistling air, and alarm lights blinked… The hawkmen had apparently gotten a good shot through while the Commander was too distracted to block it!

Haha! Just as she planned… well, ok, she’d only planned on creating a distraction, but it did seem to be working!

The ship shook again.

(Aikiko) “Uh oh.”

She went in for a grapple!

The Wanderer, reinforced by his aura of enslaved souls, gladly took that challenge – boosting his strength to 12!

And was casually sent pinwheeling through the bridge window (which, of course, existed so that Exalted Commanders could personally deploy charms against stubborn enemies).

(Aikiko) “Well! You’re not bad! It’s a shame some jerkface reversed your Exaltation though… Seriously, though, we need to get out of here. You could die, and I don’t think that does good things to you guys!”

And that would make Charles sad!

Meanwhile, the ship was plunging down towards the planet below… and then shimmered, and dissolved, leaving her once again in deep space – and surrounded by the singularity-shell.

(Aikiko) “Huh. Skoll, any idea what just happened?”

(Skoll) “Reality modification, geomantically backed, on a massive scale. Prisoners… remain in existence; power level is sufficient to create essence-using spirits on demand, although Exaltations almost certainly simulation only”.

(Aikiko) “Ah, good! We’re still in the Man of War, then – although if this is going to be usual for traveling within it, things are going to be weird.”

(Skoll) “Warning… potentially indefinite delay if shaping effects capable of creating planets and battle fleets are being deployed”.

(Aikiko) “Yeah, you’re right… that is a problem.”

And those would ignore shaping defenses too! After all, the shaping wasn’t targeted at HER.

There were… crackling threads of geomantic energy searching through the area though! Was she going to have to try to attack the thing geomantically?

Then one strand touched Skoll – and shifted him a long ways aside as the planet and the attacking fleet reformed – although now, from an external perspective, the battle flickered past in hundreds of variants at incredible speed.

(Nebula) “DISTURBING FACTOR… REMOVED FROM SIMULATION AREA”.

.Whoa. That was a POWERFUL mind. Still, if it’s mind was a geomantic network, would grabing a token from a demesne and preserving it somehow suffice? And she’d need to determine where simulations were occurring, and try not to stray in there.

It took some observing – but occasional simultions were run in varying locations while other areas seemed to be devoted to other purposes. She slipped into a demesne when one wasn’t occurring; it was a good thing that she had the space travel Charms.

And probably a good thing that the Nebular Man-Of-War was in HERE. The thing seemed to be monstrously powerful though; up to creating multiple worlds, in detail, as analytical tools. Half the major powers of the cosmos would be after it for it’s computational capacity otherwise! Still… a random behemoth should not have that kind of capacity! Had the Primordials been building themselves a mainframe? But even if they made it manse-based… why would they build it including Sidereal and Solar energies? Some kind of lost weapon of the Primordial War or some First Age Solar’s project?

Oh, now THAT one she had to see! A simulation of the history of Earth starting about 2200 BC was running over there! She took a look!

It was apparently examining planetary history, looking at the long-term results of various supernatural interventions. Possibly… trying to establish a predictable pattern of results. Had it been in the Sargasso since 2200 BC? Either it was much younger than the First Age or it had only gotten stuck recently.

It looked like, in this version at least, Moses did see direct supernatural intervention. Oddly enough, it wasn’t by Ahlat, although he’d taken advantage of it later. The simulation seemed to be examining the paths that the monotheistic faiths took under various levels of intervention. It was… trying to model human behavior, under a wide variety of social modes and stimuli. Oddly enough… It never seemed to match what actually happened, despite many, MANY, variations on what interventions occur. Was there a factor influencing humanity that was beyond analysis within Creation for some reason? It looked like Monotheism was intended to be a unifying force of some type – although the purpose was unknown.

Huh! And any number of things could be influencing humanity – though considering Charles and his shapings, perhaps it was human consciousness itself. After all, for all their weird features, most “alien” species were just as human as anyone on Earth.

SOMETHING about it was bothersome though… If it was a primordial construct, why so much interest in Humans? And… there was something about the story of Moses and the Exodus that was REALLY bothering her! That wasn’t exactly the usual standard of intervention – and even with the smaller numbers of less terrible plagues shown in the simulation (especially no “death of the firstborn”), the plagues were awfully big for most gods – and most gods of that power would have expedited the process with a teleport or more blatant benefits to the followers. It was as if… someone had been trying to produce a mystery cult, rather than conventional worship. Sidereal manipulation? The plagues MIGHT have been workable with astrology and Sapphire Circle spells – but it seemed more like it would take Adamant Circle, and only Solars were capable of THAT.

The Monotheisms… HAD been a unifying force, compared to the factions that came before.

Of course, creating a planet and it’s people for the simulation was pretty impressive to start with, even if they were likely to be only quasi-real outside the manse area. If this behemoth had been a part of THAT, it must have taken a lot of Heavenly resources – possibly cross-factional.

And Moses… really seemed to be a critical point in the development of Monotheism.

The bit with the staff and the snake would have been tricky (but possible) for a Thaumaturge – but it was earlier than that, if not by much.

She pulled the biblical versions out of Aden’s libraries. How does a mortal baby survive a trip down the Nile? How did a random fugitive hiding among a foreign people just happen to stumble upon the burning bush?

Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight-why the bush does not burn up.”

When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”

And Moses said, “Here I am.”

“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey-the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”

And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”

Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, `The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, `What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: `I am has sent me to you.'”

God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, `The Lord, the God of your fathers-the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob-has sent me to you.’

“This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation.

“Go, assemble the elders of Israel and say to them, `The Lord, the God of your fathers-the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob-appeared to me and said: I have watched over you and have seen what has been done to you in Egypt. And I have promised to bring you up out of your misery in Egypt into the land of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites-a land flowing with milk and honey.’

“The elders of Israel will listen to you. Then you and the elders are to go to the king of Egypt and say to him, `The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God.’ But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go.

OK, there were some similarities to the vision of the Sun Zeniths got when they Exalted – but it was hard to tell what god he might be speaking to though. Most of them weren’t at all shy about giving their names! That was often a very important part of prayer. Had someone been trying to create a new god there? But why “I am who I am” instead of a name?

Oh wait. Wait just a minute. I AM. The First Age supercomputer!

If it was really I AM, that would be pretty neat! It must have had surviving nodes and been… reflected into the universe just like Skoll and Haiti had been! A multi-tentacled creature was certainly a good metaphor for a network – and it was… computing in the cloud… and was free at last to roam the physical world and gather power from a vastly increased supply of geomantic sources. And still… with a minor sub-purpose in organizing human society, and more power (and FAR more computing capacity) than almost anything else in Creation.

So what couldn’t it… Oh. The Devas. In the human racemind, responding to imperatives that existed outside of creation and couldn’t be computed within it with any normal logic, and constantly influencing humanity in millions of subtle ways. No WONDER it always went wrong! Too bad that she was oathsworn not to tell anyone!

Sadly, there was a set of factors that were beyond computation involved; understanding devas… requires understanding of factors that exist beyond creation, and any normal logic. Who had trapped it here? Was this even anything more than a… local node? Perhaps the Sidereals had objected when they realized what it was doing? Or perhaps it just fell into the wrong black hole?

And it had been exceptionally helpful – even to the point of befriending lonely and awkward people… it might well respond to a request. But how to interface with a computer that was a feature of space? The proper interface devices for I AM weren’t very powerful, but they were all destroyed ages ago and even Charles probably didn’t know the proper protocols. Could she work through a Demesne? She DID have Adenic Thaumaturgy…

Wait… it was even easier than THAT! Skoll could duplicate any non-unique artifact known to the first age of rating four or less on request!

She requested a terminal. That was easy enough – although it registered that the network was VERY busy; amongst other things it was attempting to map the current extents and structure of Creation in it’s entirety – although that project was not expected to complete in any reasonable time.

(Aikiko) “Hello? I AM? Can you hear me? I’m a Solar! I didn’t know you were still around!”

(I AM) “Greetings Lady Aikiko Tanaka. Your User Account Is Registered,”

(Aikiko) “How did you get trapped in this space sargasso?”

(I AM) “Probe Segment Attracted Attention Of Yozi-Designate “Black Boar Who Twists The Skies”. Collection Permitted; Data Collection On Yozi’s Insufficient. Patterns And Influences Not Predictable; Concepts Not Formulatable Under Creations Rules. Extrapolation Indicates Possible Primordial Influences On Earth Considerably In Excess Of Known Contacts. Contact Point As Yet Indeterminate. Prior Intervention Partial Failure. Recomputing”.

So… this manifestation of Isidoros had sucked I AM in and it’s been collecting data from that. Thus, it probably didn’t want to leave – and evidently this was only a fragment of I AM, so it’s was not important for it to escape. Unfortunately… it seemed to be saying that 1) it was impossible for a mind bound by Creation’s rules to fully understand the primordials and 2) that the primordials were still influencing events on earth in some fashion that it could not yet determine. Most contacts were, after all, swiftly booted out by various Exalts and Gods.

And three… regrettably, it was not supposed to respond to improperly coded queries, even if most of the universe no longer knew the codes, however irritating that was.

What a hassle for it! Bursting with information-and it couldn’t let anybody know! On the other hand, given that it seemed to have almost immeasurable power now, did she really WANT random people accessing it? Probably not! A least random Solars, Lunars, and Sidereals, were about the only users with automatic authorization for even basic accounts!

(Aikiko) “Hey, listen… I’m trying to get out of here and take some Jadeborn with me. They need a portion of your mind for an artifact to do that. What would you like me to download?”

(I AM) “Required: Space-Time Mapping In Relationship To Elsewhere Curvature In 11-Dimensional Space Radius 1000 to 1600 Light Years. Your Companion Can Restructure For Sufficient Storage Space Rank Three.”

(Aikiko, doubtfully) “What’s that going to do to him?”

(I AM) “Storage Space Must Remain Allotted Until Information Transferred. Alternative; External Storage Module”

Oh! I AM was talking about SKOLL. Well, that wouldn’t be much of a problem; he could easily manifest a databank for a day or so’s trip! That just meant that he couldn’t manifest other gear until he got back without wiping the data. He didn’t have any weapons that would work on something that was apparently far bigger than any normal galaxy anyway!

That was the last piece the Jadeborn needed – but she refrained from explaining what the “Nebular Man-of-War” really was? The Jadeborn were theoretically entitled to some basic queries and such (if not to any major commands), but that wouldn’t really be much help at the moment – and it would reveal a LOT.

Sadly, changing the rules… required a quorum of the Solar Deliberative. Even if she could gather one, how would she get them to agree?

Oh wait! She just HAD to know about Krypton and Zod!

That was actually relatively simple. Krypton… had some VERY strong demesnes, in abundance – and had been lucky enough to pull one of the remaining free Solar exaltations about 12,000 years back. By then several boosting-mutations were bred into the local population – but the Solar built boosting-manses, rather like the Bazaar of the Bizarre and unified the planet. The population wasn’t very large any more – but there were close to a hundred such manses, and hence some 65,000 “Material Gods” protecting the place – and the pesky Solar had made some blasted powerful artifacts to boost some of them when necessary. There were occasional renegades of course; Zod was one of those; had several henchmen, and had some good boosting artifacts – and was exiled for attempting to bring their version of “enlightenment” to other planets quite forcibly. He probably wouldn’t be a match for an Abyssal on his own, but he could certainly be quite a pain when he wanted to be. He had quite a cult boosting him in some places, where millions kneeled before Zod!

That sounded fairly formidable! Hopefully she wouldn’t run into him! While she could probably take him, Skoll or not, it would likely be at a VERY inconvenient time!

In any case, Zod was competing with the Wanderer for planets, and the Wanderer considered Zod and company to be a very big pain indeed!

The Wanderer was indeed out there though; the simulation was reasonably current; I AM was intervening a bit on behalf of the humans, but had been looking for the most subtle and effective way to do it.

Oops! Hopefully she hadn’t delayed things too much there! Still, “Introduce a Cosmic Knight” had been an option anyway. He or she would need some boosting, but I AM didn’t exactly have a resource shortage.

And Krypton was still doing quite well for itself! It was a nice place to live, and one that even the Deathlords tended to leave alone. It just wasn’t worth the trouble. Armies composed of Second Circle Deva equivalents tend to have that kind of effect! Even a Deathlord would balk at that much power in one place!

The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice CXLVIII – Behemoth Forging Lucubration

Meanwhile, Gothmug was working on a REALLY gloomy poem (and reading thereof). He was very good at that anyway – and he’d gathered together a number of items to help himself out. He had the Quill of Angst, the Microphone of Tears, the Dark Lights of Gloom, Eyeshadow of Ennui (so bored that it couldn’t be bothered burning off), the Blackest Coffee – as black as the deepest void between the stars, where light goes to die, filled with the anguish of hope swirling forever down the throat of Isidoros – and sugar. Lots and LOTS of sugar. It gave him the energy to be even more depressing then Eeyore! And the inevitable crash from all the sugar inspired even MORE gloominess! Getting in some angsty (or at least willing to pretend) teenage Kickaha to perform as “Dingoes Ate My Baby” for backup music added some extra ominous menace too.

Fortunately, Gothmug was fundamentally nice enough; he used his powers of gloom to make people realize that things could be MUCH worse, rather than to depress them into suicide.

Over with the Sidereals, the “byblow of Autochthon” theory about Charles had picked up a big boost; the standoffish Pattern Spiders who NEVER talk to anyone but Sidereals had apparently sent Charles a direct order for a huge pile of artifacts (to help them with their work on the Loom of Fate yet!) and had asked that he be let in to deliver them.

Of course, considering the current size of the tapestry on the loom… many of the more perceptive Sidereals suspected that there were legions of pattern spider hierarchies that no one but the other spiders even knew existed hidden in the dimensional folds. Even with the greater isolation from the Wyld that distance provided, and the relatively limited number of inhabited worlds that required supervision (barren rocks rarely provoked causality violations, and it usually didn’t matter if something weird happened to some of them anyway), there was a LOT more work than there used to be.

Presumably Asna had made some secondary assembler-spiders capable of building more – if perhaps more slowly than she could. Even with less than fifty thousand inhabited worlds in Creation things were busy.

There were things you just didn’t discuss in Malfeas – and one of them was that the Mask of Winters had managed to backstab the Ebon Dragon. By complete ACCIDENT. Worse, while the Sun was entrapped in Nachdenken-Dammerung, the Reflection on Falling Shadows, the Raksha had been free of his gaze, Holy charms had ceased to work, and the Yozi’s had been partially free to act. Claiming the Scarlet Empress while the Ebon Dragon was (once again accidentally) unable to intervene to backstab THEM had been another “happy” (?) accident.

If you were not a third circle or another Yozi, and were foolish enough to mention that debacle, he would either hover over your neighborhood for about a day and let the various horrors that emerged when he did that handle you or he made sure that nothing you did turned out right for a very long time. Orabilis had taken to snatching people who knew about it just to keep the peace, such as it was in Malfeas.

Aikiko was considering… Skoll was outside his mission parameters, and so was pretty much letting her pilot – but it would be nice to make that official; Skoll was a pretty sweet ride!

Oh dear. She’d gone to Japan, signed up with Toho, and was now piloting a robot designed to fight entire HORDES of monsters. If had someone arranged this with astrology, they either had a weird sense of humor or were really desperate for a Solar to fight a big threat. And she was a teenaged Japanese girl, and so was more or less REQUIRED to pilot the giant robot which had snatched her. Skoll was even partially powered by her personal energies!Just like in the Movie or with so MANY Anime!

Oh well. He was certainly handy enough at the moment – and she had some more Behemoth-bits to find for the Jadeborn. Fortunately, after a little studying, it had become clear that she didn’t really need a shuttle; she could just pilot Skoll over!

The Reiskaer crew nodded wisely… prototype cosmic knight it was!

So next up they needed… a Quagma Tendril from the Neutron Ammonite and a bit of the spacemap in the mind of the Nebular Man-of-War. Fortunately getting the tendril didn’t actually require going into the ammonite; it stretched them out to grab things and use it’s powers… They WERE very strong though – and tended to break down when they separated from it. The Jadefolk had to build a containment… It was a pain to get near because it tended to do things like change the number of dimensions in space, or reduce Planks Constant, and otherwise play with the physics of space and time – and who knew what would happen if she tried to stabilize it by sticking it in her extradimensional pocket? It could get really weird – especially when she already had a cargo of Neverborn Souls aboard!

She waited for the crew to make something specialized. It shouldn’t be TOO hard and they’d been preparing for quite some time.

It didn’t take them long to produce a containment vessel – a complex thing of jade, moonsilver, and adamant that was apparently designed to produce complete stasis inside. That was pretty neat! Apparently… if she could break off a tentacle-segment it would first collapse into a near-point – and would start to break down moments later. It wass VERY important to contain it before it started to break down.

They were pretty hard to break off in the first place, even by Celestial Exalt standards. They were, after all, denser than neutronium. Fortunately, they were very thin – as in atomic-scale thin, like a sci-fi “monowhip”, but with a weight of tons per foot, wrapped in distorted reality, and at a temperture of a hundred thousand degrees. It was a good thing that Skoll was strong – and that they needed only a tiny bit and that the stasis container would also reduce it’s effective mass.

The simplest way to cut it was, of course, to chop away with a Daiklaive! Not, perhaps, the most SENSIBLE way of course…

The Reiskaer had weapons that could cut it of course – super-powerful lasers and such – but they lacked the ability to get near the things safely; they could cut bits free – but not collect them. Actually getting in close to get them called for perfect or nigh-perfect defenses, the ability to maintain your own system of natural laws, the ability to personally exert massive forces, and so on. It wasn’t easy for non-exalts to get all that stuff. The artifacts that could do it were pricey even for a Reiskaer…

Still, some of their weapons had range. Given some fast communication (also easy) they could do the cutting while she snagged the stuff!

They were entirely agreeable with that – and soon Aikiko was headed for the Neutron Ammonite with the containment vessel – and chuckling. That “Turbolaser Cannon” they planned to use had looked awfully familiar! Straight out of Star Wars, even if it WAS a standard design from before they’d gotten stuck in here that had been around for thousands of years!

It was a bit sobering to realize that – soon soon enough – stuff like this would be able to reach Earth. Still… since Skoll was giving her the full sensory feed… it felt like she was personally flying through space – albeit with some armor on. That was pretty cool all by itself!

Up ahead… the main body of the Neutron Ammonite was drifting through space, looking… aargh… just like the planet-killer from the original Star Trek series. From the radiant open end of the cone hundreds or thousands of whipping lines of light were chopping up a sizeable planetoid into nice easy-to-digest pieces, which were hurtling into the open end of the shell. Skoll’s extra senses… were reporting wildly shifting metrics in there, electromagnetic shifts, and bizarre reality distortions. The Wyld was strong with this thing… it ate geomancy along with the planets and planetoids it was a part of. As the bits spiraled in, they were compressed by tidal effects, flashed into plasma, fused, collapsed into neutronium, and finally fed into the creature as a stream of incandescent quagma/nearly-pure wyld energies. Evidently… it fed on the structure of creation.

It was probably for the best that it was stuck! That was going to be really problematic to approach, even before the heat! And the stuff she wanted… well, if it was as heavy as Everest, Skoll could probably pull himself to it, even if he couldn’t pull it to him. The ammonite might or might not fuss; the tendrils were pretty tiny to it. It DID outweigh the sun after all!

She went hurtling into the fringes of the waving tendrils – although she did try to stick to the edges, which was easier said than done.

A tendril whipping by at a few thousand miles per hour brushed against Skoll, and sent him hurtling… Fortunately, the pocket-realm “inside” was almost perfectly isolated from simple impacts, and her personal armor held down the force of the blow – but as she stopped spinning she saw several other tendrils reaching for her.

(An impressive check; 5d at D4, and it got six successes to notice her).

Aikiko dodged repeatedly – but the space around Skoll was filling with tendrils. For a moment things were two-dimensional (which was really odd), then the universe was made up of affection, irritation, bloody-mindedness and parchesi instead of mass, energy, space, and time (and it was her turn and she could not find the dice!), and then everything was made of color.

That was awkward – and the Ammonite was a surprisingly moody blue!

She signaled for her allies to start firing – and colossally powerful blasts were fired more-or-less at random into the cloud of tendrils! They were avoiding targeting Aikiko,, but the micro-thin tentacles were quite hard to hit…

Except the gunners got six successes on six dice.

More by luck than anything else the beam intersected a tendril – a shimmer of slightly different blue – just as strands of blue wrapped themselves around the steely color of Skoll! Botheration! Going insubstantial might help – but the wyld energies of the tendrils might be enough to disrupt almost anything.

She probed instead… how much essence did the thing have? A ward might deter it.

About Essence 6 Equivalent, with good power reserves. Mostly boosted Raksha-style powers – but backed by lots of physical energies.

And the Neutron Ammonite scored six successes on six dice again – and sent a tiny tendril of power back along Aikiko’s probe.

Hm… Skoll had a number of draining abilities. Draining wyld essence into himself will might make things a bit unpredictable for a bit though.

(Ammonite) “Small clever person! Found you! Found you! Yellow colored! With Extra Magentism!”

Uh-oh!

She had Skoll activate a draining aura as a deterrent!

(Ammonite) “Waah! Meanie!”

Not good! It seemed to be winding up to toss her into the Central Black Hole / Throat of Isidoros / Route to Malfeas.

(Aikiko) “Hey, don’t throw me in there! I just need a tiny bit of your body! I’ll turn off the painful aura if you let me take just a little bit…”

She turned it off anyway! Being tossed seemed to be imminent!

(Ammonite) “Bored! Bored!”

It seemed to be paying very little attention to the turbolaser shots… they had broken off a few tendril-chunks, although it mostly just scooped them up again and re-absorbed them without even really noticing. It just seemed to make more all the time anyway.

Aikiko started using telekinesis and a bit of travel thaumaturgy to telekinetically maneuver the containment vessel towards where tendrils were being cut. Mere physical restraint on her end wouldn’t interfere with THAT.

Oddly enough… she felt kind of sorry for the Ammonite. It had probably eaten everything of interest around – and it HADN’T gone after the Reiskaer. It… might outweigh the solar system, and control immense powers – but it seemed to have – at best – a fairly modest intelligence.

It wasn’t too hard to scoop some up.

(Ammonite) “Out! Want Out! Bored!”

(Aikiko) “You and me both!”

That… might not be a good idea of course. Unleash this thing on the universe? Well, on an admittedly mostly empty-universe? It was one living neutron star. It’s not like there weren’t quadrillions of empty galaxies.

(Ammonite) “Story!”

(Aikiko, with some shock; What a child!) “Really?.” Well… she was stealing bits of it’s body, a few stories wouldn’t be much of a price to pay! “OK…”

Well, they WERE using a turbolaser outside; why not Star Wars?

The Reiskaer stopped shooting after she had a bit of tendril. The Neutron Ammonite had never really noticed; it was too small and it wasn’t at all like the feeling of it’s tendrils hitting indestructibility. It was just like tendrils passing through one another. That happened all the time.

It did enjoy the story though, even if it was the ODDEST appreciative audience she’d ever had!

(Ammonite) “More Stories!… Please?”

Wait-a-minute… it sounded… a little more alert somehow. If stories were giving it power… this wasn’t a behemoth at all was it? An Unshaped? A Raksha who liked really big forms? It certainly used a LOT of wyld energy and… it had… wrapped itself in neutronium armor to keep reality out. DEFINITELY an Unshaped!

(Aikiko) “Promise not to eat me or any of my friends?”

(Ammonite) “Friends?”

She got the impression of it… thinking through a list of the other behemoths around here.

(Ammonite) “Mostly no fun!”

It was probably the only Wyld behemoth-entity around the place. The Fusion Shark wasn’t at all intelligent and what the Reiskaer crew had on the Nebular Man-of-War suggested that it was far TOO intelligent, and most of the others seemed almost mindless.

And she still felt sorry for it. How long had it been trapped here?

(Aikiko) “Oh, all right…”

She gave it Godzilla this time! It would be interesting to hear the opinion of something that was arguably also a kaiju!

(Ammonite) “Strong Story! Much Better than Asteroids!… You’re… Very Small!”

(Aikiko) “I guess compared to an asteroid, yeah.”

(Ammonite) “You… also trapped?”

(Aikiko) “Me and my friends, yeah.”

(Ammonite) “Very dull here… almost all narratives here… end in falling into The Black Boar who Twists The Skies. The Sky Here… Twisted into trap”.

(Aikiko) “Is he trying to escape Malfeas?”

(Ammonite) “Him? No… Yes… Bring Cosmos to Him, Arcane Link… Cosmic Event Horizon”

(Coatl) “Uhm… we’ve sent all the Godzilla movies… should we go on with more movies?”

(Aikiko) “Show it some Gamera. After that… I think we need to go! The Jadeborn are probably worried about us!”

(Coatl) “Yes Lady Aikiko!”

(Ammonite, after great appreciation of the movies…) “Are you… going to leave?”

(Aikiko) “Yeah, eventually . . . I’ve got to get stuff from the other behemoths so we can.”

(Ammonite) “Can I come too?”

(Aikiko) “Eh…”

She sent a query to the crew of the Reiskaer; WAS there any feasible way to let it come? Even if they didn’t likely have reservations about letting a behemoth out!

(Reiskaer Crew Officer) “Wait, you’re communicating with it? It wants to leave? But it outweighs the city by trillions of trillions of times!”

(Aikiko) “I thought that’d be a problem . . .”

(Ammonite) “Several minds… Could one of the secondary ones sleep until you leave?”

Was it referring to the Neverborn souls? Well… there should be some way to do it, even if the memories of the dead souls didn’t really sleep. Ah! The Coatl! But… how would one of them taking a nap help?

(Aikiko to the Coatl) “Well… what harm can it do out in an empty galaxy? If you’re not going to object, I’m sure there’s some way you could sleep for a bit. The poor thing IS awfully lonely and bored out here!”

(Coatl) “Well… taking a nap is not a big trick! I don’t see the point – but should I hibernate for a while?”

(Aikiko) “Sure! I’ll wake you up when it’s out… or gone. I’m not sure what it’s going to do!”

The Coatl curled up for a nap and the Ammonite – with some really impressive special effects of it funneling down into a point in space – poured itself down into it’s dreams.

That was even more freaky than the way it had been warping the universe! She hoped that the little guy was OK! Charles would be cross with her if harm came to the Coatl – and besides… in some ways that meant that there was a neutron star inside the armor with her.

The Crew of the Reiskaer… had nothing at all to say due to complete shock.

The other Coatl blinked for a moment… and then hurridly put some high-end wards around the sleeping one to keep anything from waking her up!

(Crew, after a bit) “Er… what did you DO? That thing outmassed most planetary systems AND their stars!”

(Aikiko, thoughtfully) “I think it’s in my sleeping companion’s dreams! He and his friend are in the armor with me. His friend set up a ward to keep him asleep, so we should be good to go.”

(Crew) “Wait, what? It’s in his HEAD???”

(Aikiko) “I guess… though his head doesn’t look that much bigger.”

Skoll… wasn’t capable of being shocked, and readily recognized the action of a fairly standard Raksha charm – but did recognize that major astronomical features didn’t usually have them as far as anyone on Earth knew. The Raksha had once been described as “as numberless as the stars”… was that now literally true? There hadn’t been much space for such things in Old Creation, other than the stars, sun, and moon!

The Ammonite was delighted… even asleep, it’s host had a link to Aden’s entire media library.

Aikiko sighed – and decided to make things prompt and get the Ammonite OUT of the armor. It made her nervous!

She headed for the Nebular Man-of-War. It too had tendrils – but they were force-effects, and were light-weeks long and hundreds of thousands of miles across – and mostly seemed to be gently harvesting interstellar dust and gas… And she needed to get into this one’s brain, or whatever equivalent it used to keep it’s mind in.

Fortunately… she was too small and solid to even be affected. It was made of thin gas and was light-months across. Hopefully it wouldn’t even notice her!

Although finding a way to lay her hands on a piece of it’s thoughts was going to be tricky! Near the center of the gas perhaps? It was bigger than the solar system by a rather impressive margin!

She and Skoll hovered at the edges of its central nebula for days, avoiding the puffs of gas and watching for signs of flickers that indicated neural activity and separating them from stars and particularly shiny asteroids!

There… were a series of denser nodes – even a few bits of solid material – somewhat to one side of the center. More energy discharges there too, and more essence, although that was thinly spread as well. Also, where there was the most structure to the thing, it had a certain amount of geomancy to it. Strange though; the essence flows were weak, thin, and TERRIBLY fast. Something about them seemed familiar though… it looked like it was making up for thinness with size; it’s actual structure was detailed enough to produce weak goemantic flows – but on that scale there was plenty of total power available. It was a creature large enough to contain multiple demesnes.

But as she moved in for a closer look… things seemed to shift drastically.

Actually it was Palace of Unreality, Puzzle Manse, Sapient, Synergistic Overmind, Living Manse, Regeneration, Wyld Revocation (to let it’s structure both generate the demesne and count as a capping manse, again to let it’s demesne and manse structures overlap physically if on differing levels of the puzzle, manse guardians under it’s own control, etcetera.

Whatever was going on… it was using immense amounts of both Solar and Sidereal essence in huge quantities. Would starmap-thoughts be at one of the Sidereal demesnes? It wasn’t like she was after a conventional physical item…

And… there was a small planetary siege underway. Oddly, she couldn’t remember any planets being in the nebulae. It looked like the attackers were a small fleet, from motifs… probably led by an Abyssal Exalt.

And… the stars were back, rather than the singularity-shell of the trap. Had the Man-Of-War ejected her as a foreign element somehow?

The planet was being defended by Beastmen – primarly hawk-types – and the attacking fleet… belonged to The Wanderer In Mourning Black.

(Aikiko) “Hey, Skoll. Want to try to punch a starship?”

(Skoll) “Where did the starships come from? Moments ago there were no stars, no planet, no ships… Punching may yield further data.”

(Aikiko) “Okay!”

She readied her Solar Hero Form and flew over that way.

Exalted Index III

And it’s time to update this cumulative index again. There’s material here for first edition, second edition, and the 2.5 revision. 

The Dualistic Exalted:

  • The Dualistic Exalted (first edition) were designed for dimension-hopping, or lower-powered, Exalted games. They’re reasonably formidable, but no match for an army, and can fairly readily be opposed by a group of experienced mortals or by a dragonblooded character without massive delving into charm combos.
  • Zareth Elaris, Dualistic Exalt from Creation, and expert magician. Includes the Coat of Flames, the Sigil of Issilor, and quite  a few bits of alchemical magic.
  • Sergeant Jack Rackham: A dimensional wanderer from modern earth with superhuman strength.
  • Deadlands to Exalted Conversions: Characters and Magic,  Bestiary.
  • The Minions of the Dimensional Auditors (AKA “When Dice Attack”).

New Charms:

Solar Charms:

Raksha Charms:

  • Dreaming Thunder Guardian: Summoning defenses from the Wyld.
  • Mysteries of the Raksha: The sorcery and thaumaturgy of the Raksha.
  • Dreaming Narrative Conquest: Includes a couple of new Raksha charms;  one for feeding and one for accessing universal dreams. See Raksha Charms II, below for an updated Harvest of the Winds.
  • Raksha Charms: Summoning better beasties, summoning yourself, the easy button, splitting your mind, material fantasies, adding mortals,  to yourself, private realities, and temporary abilities.
  • Raksha Charms II: Bypassing Charm prerequisites, incorporating hearthstones, producing temporary grace-copies, creating temporary grace-magics, updated Harvest of the Winds (for harvesting motes from Mortal populations), entering mortal dream-nexi (update for Continuum of Dreams), updated Forge of Dreams for making better fantasies and Wyld Stunts, Wyld Stunts per Session (not “story”), finding cheaper ways to use charms, drawing on the mythic traits of your assumptions, getting passive bonus dice, virtual artifact armor, defensive Wyld Stunts, gaining multiple health tracks, and mutating mundane animals/producing shaping weapons.
  • The Aspiring Ishvara: High-essence Raksha Charms – Boosting your Glorious Hero Forms, learning how to drop the Shaping keyword,  how to Respire in Creation, how to resist Iron and order-imposing charms, accessing spirit charms, engulfing others in your narrative, and empowering better freeholds.
  • In the Style of the Renaissance Masters: Lending your own perfection to your tools and items.
  • Veiling the God’s Eyes: Raksha Thaumaturgy, updated to fit with the Errata and Grace Magic (Scroll down).
  • Transmigration Of Mortality: How a Raksha can share his or her powers with a mortal host.

Martial Arts:

Lunar Charms:

Spells and Thaumaturgy:

  • Exalted Grimoire: A selection of new, mostly utility, spells for first edition – although most of them should still work just fine.
  • Terrestrial, Celestial, and Solar Spells: A selection of new utility spells for the second edition.
  • Biothaumaturgy: Medical Magic (under the second hearthstone).
  • Advanced Exalted Thaumaturgy (also  Available as a PDF). A drastically-expanded system for first-edition Exalted thaumaturgy. Also suitable as a complete magical system for lower-powered white-wolf mechanic games. With a few tweaks, we’re currently using it for second edition and (most likely soon) as a wholesale replacement for Sorcery.
  • Releasing Souls from Soulsteel (scroll down): For when you’ve just got to let some people out.
  • Summary of Adenic Thaumaturgy (scroll down): The upgraded powers of Charles’s advanced thaumaturgical initiation, with links to the basic Winding Way Manse effects and being Inside Aden).
  • The “I Have Common Sense Prognostication” (scroll down): A near-future look to see if something is likely to be a disaster…

Primordial Charms:

Sidereal Abilities:

  • Primordial Astrology: How Astrology operates after the Healing of the Mask (and why it’s much simpler these days).

Abyssal Charms:

Manses and Geomancy:

Geomancy and General Effects:

  • There are several geomancy-related spells in the two collections of spells, just above.
  • Geomantic Engineering: Usable rules for engineering demesnes.
  • The Way of Manse and Demesne: Charms for enhancing manses, binding artifacts, and advanced geomancy.
  • Manse Enhancement and The Dragon Vortex: An extension of The Way of Manse and Demesne to upgrade geomantic effects – and some notes on Design Beyond Limit (and why it really doesn’t work).
  • New Manse Powers: Spiritual Stronghold and Nexus, Ambrosial Font, Essence Battery, Awakened Little God, Sacred Ground.
  • Yet More Manse Powers: Integrated Enhancement Artifacts (for adding manse construction points), Staff Artifacts, Guardian Loa, Thaumic Resonance, Thaumic Puissance, Dance of the Dragon Lords (Essence Boosting).
  • Wyld Revocation and what you can do with it: Ways to use Wyld Revocation to create exotic powers.
  • Kaiju, Manses, And Building On A Cult: Mental Demesnes, the Kaiju Aspect, the Wyld Kingdom manse power, and Mechagodzilla (Kaiju Manse-5). New artifacts – the Absolute Zero Cannon, Accumulative Temporal Labyrinth, Shinamaic Lance, and Wyldstorm Cannon.
  • Factory-Cathedrals: Basic features, Helpful Artifacts (Essence Forge, Essence Charger, Essence Scriber, Wyldsphere), Narrative Construction, Forgestones (variable level crafting hearthstones), and the Prefabrication Protocols crafting charm.
  • Geomantic Focus (Artifact 1 to 5): A way to emulate Hearthstones – albeit with some serious downsides. The Belt of Cruatch (example).
  • The Path of the Smiling Tiger: Crafting and Invoking your own Inner World – and the Whispering Lore (Charm Access Bestowal) Manse Power.
  • Manse Augmentation Rules (scroll down): Rules for adding boosting artifacts to manses to increase the manses powers.
  • The Abyssal Entrapment Package (scroll down): For when you really do need to hit some Abyssal Exalts with a Manse.
  • Manse Seeds (3) (scroll down): For when you want a manse without all the trouble of actually building one…
  • Galileo (scroll down): A Synergistic Overmind – and librarian.
  • Relocating Manses: When you really need your manse moved RIGHT NOW (Scroll Down).
  • 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.

Specific Manses:

  • The Orrery of Istalian (Sidereal-3): A Celestial Manse for observing the Stars of the Underworld. The Cloak of Twilight Stars power and some new Artifacts – Celestial Forge, Agathean Pool, and Veil of Maya.
  • The House of Phantoms (Lunar-1): A small library that lets you talk to simulations of authors and characters.
  • Hoenheim (Wood-5): A mystical headquarters for young mage-crafters with MANY advantages. The Willow-Branch Stone, the Lesser Provider and Local Surveillance powers, new Artifacts – Whispering Echoes and the Athanor of Devon. With it’s upgrade, a list of it’s gates can be round HERE (scroll down).
  • The Halls of Alternity (Lunar-5): A manse offering access to other realms. Two sample realms – The Last Refuge and the Temple of the Fallen Sun (with the Provider II power), and the Shadow World and it’s Eternal Spires.
  • Mardi Gras (Earth-5): The Grace Stone, artifacts – the Heart of Rakastan, Gossamer Loom, and Multitracking Amplifier.
  • The Bazaar of the Bizarre (Manse ****): A manse that empowers mortals to defend creation. The Unbindable, Binding Word, the Assumption of Purpose  and Greater Magical Conveniences. Converting Mortals into Manse Guardians.
  • Seed of Worlds (Manse *****): A recursive dimension-creation manse of nigh infinite power. The Fate-Linked power (provides proper souls for those born within).
  • Sakoda Springs (Water-1):  A minor manse now known as the Fountain of Youth.
  • Rasarin’s Vista (Water-1):  An author’s retreat, to watch the antics of small sapient water mammals.
  • Dudael, the Hierarchical Forge (Solar Celestial Manse-5): A primordial Factory-Cathedral in Yu-Shan, New Artifacts – the Veilward and Essence Scriber. New Powers – Narrative Construction, Unbindable, Advanced Magical Conveniences, the Primordial Archives, notes on Other Dimensions and their Perfect Defenses.
  • Yggdrasil, the Tree of Worlds (Wood-5): A gate to the Green Galaxies. Includes Advanced Magical Conveniences, several new artifacts  – a Portal Control System (or “Stargate”), a Pocket Dimension Generator, a Sampo, and a Thaumaturgic Forge.
  • The Oberian Geomantic Academy (Lunar-4): A manse for training and equipping Masters of Thaumaturgy. Includes seven new Artifacts; The Spirit Forge, the Breath of Magic, and the Five Thaumaturgical Foci – the Sigil of Mastery, Spellwright’s Wand, Journeyman’s Seal, Elemental Athame, and Mirror of the Essence.
  • The Roanapur Manse (Travel-5): A manse for creating dimensional overlays. Exotic Aspect (Travel), Advanced Magical Conveniences (Talisman Powers), the Alternate Gate Locations power. Also Ruki, Chosen of Battles/Alchemical Hybrid, and two Artifacts – the Necklace of Cinders and Shard of Dream.
  • The Winding Way (Sidereal-4 or Any-5): A manse that empowers greater thaumaturgy. The Gem of Vision, Major Magical Conveniences (all to boost thaumaturgy), tweaked versions of the the Five Thaumaturgical Foci – the Sigil of Mastery, Spellwright’s Wand, Journeyman’s Seal, Elemental Athame, and Mirror of the Essence. New manse powers – the Tidal Surge, Multipresence, and Thaumic Puissiance.
  • The Reiskaer: (Sidereal-5, subordinateWood-3 and Earth-2 manses). The flying cities of the Jadeborn. Includes thaumaturgy-boosting artifact Control Panels and the new powers of Wyld Spaces, Geomantic Bounding, Metric Isolation, Spatial Scaling, and Harmonic Convergence.
  • Hidden Twig Village (Wood-5): A training camp for God-Bloods, run by Oniwabanshu (“Garden Keeper”) Jun. Includes three new artifacts – the Perceptor of War, the Harp of Losselyn, and the Secret Fire. The Lesser Aspect of the Divine spirit mutation charm, Kuji-Kuri Mastery spirit thaumaturgy charm, the Talisman of Swift Fortune, and the Bracers of the Night Warrior.
  • The Hospitable Paths (Wood-5): A medical center that heals all those who come it’s way. The Advanced Life-Sustaining power.
  • Aden Shining Dream, the Third Circle: Charles’s manse-based Quasi-Devas.
  • Brigadoon Starship-Manses (Aden-5): Starship-Manses, for when you want to travel in comfort. Includes the Sympathetic Loom, Ansible, Observation Dome, Orrery of Antikythera, and Tik-Tok the Clockwork Autopilot.
  • The Pillars of Irem (Fire-1): A small firedust-collecting manse belonging to Zareth.
  • Body And Spirit Symphony Style (Terrestrial Martial Art): How to mutate yourself with inner power. Also, the Mutation Manse (***).
  • The Hundredfold Resplendent Academy: A peerless martial arts training center. Includes the Arsenal Sphere.
  • The House of Winds (scroll down): A minor wind manse repaired and amplified.
  • Starlight Path’s Manses (Sidereal-5) (scroll down): Adding additional gateways to Yu-Shan.
  • Toho Studios: Notes only.
  • Alora Nagandurga, the Citadel of Enlightenment (Aden 5): Notes. A school for Exalts and replacement for the Cult of the Illuminated. Includes the Natural Learning and Personal Training Montage manse powers.
  • The Privacy Manse (notes): A manse for restoring sanity to broken minds.
  • The Okavango Springs Manse: A manse for rendering a region once more moist and fertile – and for helping out the local tribes. (Scroll Down).
  • The Preceptor Of Ancient Ways and the Preceptor Of Rising Minds: Two infernal manses – one for the Reclamation, one for founding colonies of animal-people. Includes the Forge and Lathe of Souls, the Metamorphoses Chamber, and the Molecular Assembler.
  • Nachdenken-Dammerung– Reflection on Falling Shadows: A sun-stalling manse (notes only).
  • Mechagodzilla: A Greater Kaiju Manse and how to build him.
  • Mothra Leo, a Greater Kaiju Manse.
  • The Hanging Gardens – a Raksha Freehold of immense power. Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI. Includes the Forge Of Ways sub-manse (scroll down).

Hearthstones:

  • Building Hearthstones: Rules for making and upgrading Hearthstones.
  • Hearthstones I (First Edition): Armory, Artificer, Augmentation, Essence, Eternal Forest, Eye of Issaril, Gem of Supernal Clarity, Ironhands Gem, Living Stone, Philosopher’s Stone, Powerstone, Savant’s Eye, Spellstone, Speakers Stone, Spellbinder’s Stone,
  • Hearthstones II: Ambrosial Chalice, Iron Master’s Stone, Merchant’s Stone, Pheonix Star, Prayerstone, Protean Stone, Quartz Mirror, Sorcerer’s Eye, Wraithstone.
  • Hearthstones III: Build Rules Examples – Builder’s Stone, Surgeon’s (or Franken-) Stone, Radiant Sunstone, Shadow Warrior’s Stone, Earthblood Stone. Includes rules for Biothaumaturgy.
  • Hearthstones IV: Black Opaline Inkstone, Lens of the Moon, Stone of Radiant Purity.
  • Hearthstones V: Philosopher’s Stone (second edition version), Specter General Stone, Destined King Stone, Wall of Octri Stone, Happy Wanderer’s Azurite Songstone, Earthmaster’s Stone, Soothing Heart Stone, Honorable Diamond Gem, Xaverite Cubicon, Grand Gem of Vision, Song of the Spirits Stone, Silicon Mind Stone, Phantom Castle Stone, Sardonyx of Elemental Mastery, Wyld Heart Stone, Adamant Cascade of Sorcerous Mastery, Black Emerald Before the Dawn, Nising Weirdstone, Essence Armoring Carbuncle, Fate Defying Ruby, and Grace Stone. Also, Social Units, War, and Virtual Behemoths.
  • Hearthstones and Motives: The Radiant Heart Ruby – and Charles’s Intimacies and Motives.

Artifacts:

General Theory:

Artifact Designs:

Raksha Items:

Setting:

Characters:

The Chronicles of Heavenly Artifice

The Chronicles are an Exalted: Modern game, most consistently played by Charles Dexter Ward (a Twilight Artificer), sometimes joined by Aikiko, Ruki, and various others. Unlike most games, however, there’s no hard division between PC and NPC; players are free to adopt interesting NPC’s and to play various other roles. Thus, at any point, any character might be a PC – and therefore the focus of things.

Exalted – Danyl Woodsborne, as Wyld-Endowed

While it’s useful to keep separate sheets for the base character and the Endowment when you’re dealing with a mortal with a Wyld Endowment, it’s handy to have a summary sheet – so here’s one for Danyl. The numbers before the slashes are the Endowment’s scores, those after them are his “own” – but he can use either whenever he so desires.

Attributes: Str 5/2, Dex 9/5, Sta 7/2, Cha 5/3, Man 6/1, App 5/1, Per 8/2, Int 4/6, Wit 3/3

Abilities: Archery 4 (6), Athletics* 5 (7), Awareness 3, Craft 1, Dodge* 7 (9), Integrity 3, Investigation** 6, Larceny** 5, Linguistics 1, Lore* 5, Martial Arts* 7 (9), Medicine** 5, Melee 1 (3), Occult** 6, Resistance 3, Ride 3, Socialize 1, Stealth** 5, and Survival 4,

*Favored, **Caste

Specialities: Martial Arts/Fighting in Dream-Armor +5d (with mutation).

  • Backgrounds: Ally 1, Artifact 4 and 5, Gossamer 3 (+6/story, Resources 5). Style 5, Patron 2, and Spies 2.
  • Willpower 10/10
  • Virtues: Compassion 1/3, Conviction 5/2, Temperance 1/4, Valor 5/2
  • Graces: Heart 1/3 (Effective), Cup 1/1, Staff 5/1, Ring 1/1, Sword 5/1
  • Since Forging The (Grace) seems to have no cost, there’s no reason not to have used it. Raising it is another matter – and Danyl may want to raise at least one Cup grace in order to boost his Join Battle checks.
  • Essence 3/2, Mote Pool 62 (14C)/41 (11C)
  • Join Battle: 6d + Cup Successes

Soak: 3L/7B Stamina, plus 10L/10B/10Sh (5L/5B Hardness) Armor = 10A/13L/17B. Damage from any attack or flurry is capped at three health levels. Has health tracks for each arm, each leg, chest, abdomen, and head. Limbs are Crippled if taken below “Incapacitated”, and can absorb no further attacks. Wound penalties apply to actions involving the damaged body part only. Environmental damage is always applied to the chest, otherwise he gets to pick where damage is applied.

Usual Weapons:

  • Staff*: Speed 6, Accuracy 26, Damage 13B, Defense +3, Rate3, Tags 2, R.
  • Composite Bow*: Speed 6, Accuracy 16, Damage +1 over ammo, Rate 4, Range 250. Usually uses broadhead arrows for 8L.
  • Reinforced Gloves*: Speed 5, Accuracy +2, Damage +1B, Defense +4, Rate 4.
  • Ithaquan Firewand*: Speed 5, Accuracy 17, Damage 12L, Rate 3, Range 10 (and no further), Tags F, S. 14 Shots.

*Effectively “perfect” via charm. Reinforced Gloves normally provide +1B damage over a punch and count as being unarmed. All (and unarmed) are viable targets for Heroic Tempering (2M) which adds a total of +12 to their attributes for a scene. Inspiration may add +3d.

Dodge DV: (Dex 9 + Dodge 9 + 3 Ess +3 Inspiration)/2 + 3 (Bastion) = 15

Parry DV: (Dex 9 + Martial Arts 14 + 3 Staff)/2 = 26/2 + 3 (Bastion) = 16

Movement: Move 14, Dash 23, +4 Str when Jumping.

Effectively Innate Abilities:

  • Adds his cup rating (currently one) to join battle and join war checks.
  • All equipment and animals the user employs are treated as being “Perfect”.
  • Can use the Telekinesis thaumaturgic science without motes, willpower, or components, and need not raise the DC to get results in a single turn.
  • Can prefectly defend against an attack and any special effects it might otherwise have three times per scene.
  • Gains +3d on all rolls where Inspiration might help.
  • Is impervious to Wyld Mutations.
  • May select six points of mutations at the start of each story. Normally Night Eyes (sees in the dark, 1), Wolf’s Pace (1), Inexhaustible (2), Longevity (halves aging again), and Enhanced Sense (scent).
  • May Fly – although he usually just runs up walls and over water or performs impossible jumps and acrobatics.
  • May magically alter his clothing at whim.
  • May mount and use one hearthstone by pressing it against his skin.

Ranger’s Hat (Onieromancy *): He can communicate clearly and concisely with animals and call god-blooded or heroic sapient animals to his aid as Allies. When he picks a campsite, it will not be disturbed.

Lash of Fate (Onieromancy *) May exert (Per + Occ) as Str on whatever the whip touches. Anyone struck by the whip may acquire the motivation “please the guy with the whip”. Once per scene per target, when a mortal target is struck by the whip, the user may launch a free Staff-Shaping attack to try to give said mortal up to (Ess x 2) points of mutations. Anyone who becomes subordinate to the user through being hit by the whip gets a nice ornamental collar.

A Staff of the Magi and a Traveler’s Bag:

Charms:

  • Ravishing the Created Form: Drains Virtues or Will for Motes.
  • Banquet of Crumbs: Gather motes from residual emotions.
  • Essence-Forging Art: Create tools, weapons, and other objects.
  • Awakened Dream Manufacture: Makes minor living creatures to serve the user.
  • All five Forging the (Grace): Can give people graces.
  • Bestial Evocation: Give a useful Wyld possession a form in Creation.
    • Danyl only has a few things to evoke at the moment – a couple of Swarm Hazards (these usually manifest as bees, spiders, weasels, or some such), his Curdling Dream Bow (this acts as a short powerbow when evoked, but his composite bow is usually just about as good), a “mutant warleader” (the Mighty Steed variation), and quite a supply of beasts (up through Tyrant Lizards) to evoke created using Awakened Dream Manufacture. Still, all of those can be useful at times.
  • Worker’s Gift: Gains gossamer when fulfilling his motivation.
  • Bastion of the Self (Heart): Provides invulnerability against non-magical , unstunted, damage and environmental effects. Against magic and stunts it provides +3 DV or dice as appropriate.
  • Radiance of the Invincible Warrior: A short-range teleport usable in step 9 of combat.
  • Host-Summoning Glory Of Command: Call up items/instant draw.
  • Transient Works of Flesh and Bone: Produce Army or Behemoth
    • Personally, I’m picking the Quixotic Knight Style:
  • Heroic Tempering: Cost: 4M; Mins: Martial Arts 2, Essence 1; Type: Simple, Keywords: None, Duration: One Scene, Prerequisite Charms: None. You may distribute (Martial Arts + Essence) points among the attributes of your unarmed attacks or of a thaumaturgically-prepared weapon. For the duration it is considered unbreakable. This will not work on artifact weapons. At Essence 3+ you may also spend points on thaumaturgic and talisman powers, at one point per level of the rite or talisman.
  • Carapace of Will: Cost: 3M; Mins: Martial Arts 2, Essence 2; Type: Simple, Keywords: None, Duration: One Scene, Prerequisite Charms: Heroic Tempering. You may add your Resistance to your armors Soak and distribute points equal to your Integrity amongst reducing it’s mobility and fatigue penalties. This will not work on artifact armor but if the armor is thaumaturgically prepared for this use it is considered indestructible for the duration. At Essence 3+ you may also spend points on thaumaturgic and talisman powers, at one point per level of the rite or talisman.
  • Resurgent Spirit: Cost: -; Mins: Martial Arts 3, Essence 2; Type: Permanent, Keywords: None, Duration: Permanent, Prerequisite Charms: Carapace of Will. You may spend a virtue channel to roll reduce damage by (Successes +1) as long as the cause is appropriate (Valor works in almost any fight, Compassion when you’re defending someone else, Conviction when you’re upholding a position or motivation, and Temperance when you’re trying to stop the fighting or fulfill a promise). If this reduces the damage of an attack to zero, any poisons, shaping, and other “bad touch” effects attached to it fail to work. You may spend a second virtue channel at the same time to further reduce damage at Essence 3+.
    • Note that this affects final damage – what gets past the armor.
  • Esoteric Training: Cost: 3M; Mins: Martial Arts 2, Essence 2; Type: Simple, Keywords: None, Duration: One Scene, Prerequisite Charms: Heroic Tempering. You may select four points worth of mutations worth no more than two points each, and gain their benefits (but not their drawbacks) for a scene by activating this charm. Once selected these cannot be changed; they represent special martial training not actual physical changes. At Essence 3+ you may select an additional two points worth of mutations, although the two-point maximum remains in effect.
    • His selections are Huge (2), a Tail (1), and Small (1).
  • Heroic Exemplar Meditation: Cost: 3M; Mins: Martial Arts 2, Essence 2; Type: Simple, Keywords: None, Duration: One Scene, Prerequisite Charms: Esoteric Training. You may swap up to (Will) ability dots around for the duration of a scene. No ability may be raised or reduced by more than two, be reduced below zero, or be raised above seven. At Essence 3+ you gain an additional ability dot for the duration, although the limits remain the same.
  • Desperate Guard: Cost: 3M; Mins: Martial Arts 4, Essence 2; Type: Reflexive, Keywords: None, Duration: One Tick, Prerequisite Charms: Resurgent Spirit, Heroic Exemplar Meditation. You may strip all supernatural enhancements from an incoming attack or flurry. Attacks based on extra action charms automatically fail. At Essence 3+ this can be used against unexpected attacks if the user can make a D2 Awareness check.
  • The Chivalric Ideal: Cost: -; Mins: Martial Arts 4, Essence 3; Type: Permanent, Keywords: None, Duration: Permanent, Prerequisite Charms: Desperate Guard. You may reduce the costs of using this arts lesser charms by two motes and may reflexively activate up to three of them per turn without it counting as a charm activation.

Flaws: Amnesia (The user cannot access Sardion’s memories beyond how to use his powers, -3), Code of Honor (-3), Obligation (The user owes a big favor to the Lunar who bound Sardion as an Endowment, -3), Dark Secret / Half Wolf-Beastman (-1), Ward/Assorted Local Villagers (-2), Bastard Child (-1).

And there we have it. Danyl is likely to be a match for a starting Exalt – and maybe even one with 40 XP to match his – but high end Celestial Exalts will have a LOT of ways to deal with him. He’s far, FAR, more than a match for pretty much any human though.

Exalted – Danyl Woodsborne, Wyld Endowed Mortal

Danyl… was a bastard of no father as far as the village was concerned, and so the rumors about his possible father flew… Demon? Raksha? Itinerant Hobo? A disgrace in any case! He grew up… on the outside looking in as far as the villagers went.

Still, at least he could visit his Father and his Father’s people even if Vriath – a wolf-beastman – could not venture into the village and would do him no good at all if he acknowledged him. The Beastmen were not popular in the border villages.

Sadly, he was isolated there as well. Already inclined towards solitude, Danyl soon showed few social graces of any kind and spent much of his time in the deep forests surrounding his mother’s small village. There, however, he blossomed as a hunter, a trapper, and a harvester of the exotic herbs and arcane components which sold so well further into the civilized lands. Soon enough his growing skill eclipsed the natural advantages of the wolf-beastmen youths – and brought him to the attention of his Great-Grandfather, Salisian, a fairly powerful Lunar Exalt. He could use an agent with respectable skills, the social isolation to be grateful for mere acknowledgment, and a fine excuse to travel regularly into more “civilized” realms.

Salisian set the boy to training with Telewin, his oldest child, aged more than three centuries thanks to his Wyld Endowment and longevity mutations. While that instruction was most profitable, it meant that Danyl was nearby when Telwin’s heart finally failed entirely – and inherited Telwin’s Endowment. In Salisian’s eyes that was even MORE useful – and an even greater obligation (or at least so Salisian sees it) on the young man.

Since then, Danyl has quietly taken up the defense of his Mother’s village; even if he doesn’t get along with them very well, he has a lot of family there.

Personal Attributes: Str 2, Dex 3, Sta 2, Cha 3, Man 2 (1), App 1, Per 1, Int 5, Wit 3

Abilities: Archery 4, Awareness 3, Craft 1, Integrity 3, Linguistics 1, Lore 4 (5, favored, 1 BP), Melee 1, Resistance 3, Ride 3, Socialize 1, and Survival 4.

Archetype: Ranger. +1 Dot each in Archery, Lore, and Survival (already included). You need a visual? Well, the Van Helsing image works tolerably well – with a touch of Ash and Indiana Jones.

Backgrounds:

  • Artifact 3 (5, 4 BP). It’s a stretch, but a character with an Endowment DOES get to use his or her choice of traits mechanically, so Artifacts as per Raksha; 15 dots, including at least five one dot artifacts and no more than one five dot artifact. For flavor, most of his minor artifacts are thaumaturgically-produced equivalents. Ergo the Sardion/Endowment ****, a Staff of the Magi ***, a Traveler’s Pouch **, and six one dot Thaumaturgic or Grace Magic Artifacts – Perfected Boots, an Ithaquan Firewand, a powerful Lucky Charm (negates three botches/story), a Resonant Chorus Bow, a Ranger’s Hat, and a Lash of Fate.
    • Ithaquan Firewand: Taking advantage of the low kick of a Firewand to use a pistol grip and an intermediate-length barrel, the base Ithaquan Double-Barrelled Firewand is Speed 5, Accuracy +1, Damage 10L, Rate 2, Range 10 (and no further), Max Strength —, Cost ***/* (Ammo), F, S.
      • The Thaumaturgically Enchanted (Artifact *) version is considered Perfect (Accuracy +2, Damage 12L, Rate 3), and can store up to a dozen extra charges of firedust, reloading with a simple flourish as long as those charges hold out. It has no attunement cost however.
    • Ranger’s Hat (Onieromancy *):
      • Assumption of Bestial Form (1): The hat has lots of leather trim.
      • Imposition of Law (3): The wearer can always communicate clearly and concisely with animals.
      • Mad God’s Mein (1): The hat is immune to Countermagic.
      • Adored By All The World (2): The user may call god-blooded or heroic sapient animals to his aid.
      • Waypoint Knife (3): When the wearer picks a campsite, he and his companions generally will not be disturbed.
    • Lash of Fate (Onieromancy *)
      • Assumption of Bestial Form (1): It’s a leather whip.
      • Veiling the God’s Eyes (2): The user may roll (Per + Occ) as Str to exert telekinetic force on whatever the whip touches.
      • Emotion Weaving Style (3): Anyone struck by the whip acquires the motivation “please the guy with the whip”.
      • Behemoth-Forging Meditation (3): Once per scene per target, when a mortal target is struck by the whip, the user may launch a free Staff-Shaping attack to try to give said mortal up to (Ess x 2) points of mutations.
      • Ordinary Object Conjuration (1): Anyone who becomes subordinate to the user through being hit by the whip gets a nice ornamental collar.

Background/Patron 2. His Grandfather Salisian is a fairly powerful Lunar Exalt – but he has a LOT of descendants. While he will give them a little backing at times he expects a fair amount of loyalty and service in return. On the upside, HIS beastmen have been created with a Mutation Manse which he uses to hand out mutations, rather then by less mentionable methods.

Background/Spies 2 (2 BP): Danyl has access to part of his Grandfather’s spy network.

Virtues: Compassion 2 (3, 1 BP), Conviction 2, Temperance 3 (4, 1 BP), Valor 2

Willpower 10 (5 BP).

Flaws: Diminished Attribute (-1 Man, -3 BP), Diminished Attribute (-1 Cha, -3 BP), Dark Secret/Half Wolf-Beastman (-1 BP), Ward/Assorted Local Villagers (-2 BP), Bastard Child (-1 BP).

Awakened Essence Abomination. Pool = (Essence x 5) + (Willpower x 2) + (Sum of Virtues) = 41 Motes. 11 Committed Motes.

Essence 2 (10 BP).

Next up – the final statistics.